- Says he had not been summoned before it and would never go before it
- 19A is an NGO conspiracy and a curse on the country
- Totally against SOFA with US
President Maithripala Sirisena in a scathing attack on the Parliament Select Committee (PSC) appointed to probe the Easter Sunday bomb attacks yesterday said that the PSC was a drama scripted and rehearsed at Temple Trees and he would never go before it even if he was summoned.
Addressing heads of media institutions at the President’s House he said that he had not yet been asked to come before the PSC and even if they did he would never go before it as the PSC cannot do it. He went on to say there was no need for a Parliament Select Committee to probe the incident as he had appointed a committee headed by Supreme Court Judge P. Malalgoda and they have handed over the report with their findings. He said that the world and anyone would accept the report of a committee headed by a Supreme Court Judge than a Parliament Select Committee one. He said the report had been sent to the Attorney General for further action.
The President added there are seven petitions being taken up before the Supreme Court on the Easter Sunday attacks and he is also a respondent in two of them. He noted that the Supreme Court had decided to hear the seven petitions before a seven judge bench from July 7 onwards. The President said the AG had informed that the proceedings of the Parliamentary Select Committee would be a hindrance as there are petitions being heard in the Supreme Court regarding the April 21 attacks.
Accordingly, the President said he informed the Speaker that summoning military officers and exposing them before the media was not correct, and the Select Committee carries on disregarding what he said. He said that this Select Committee has a political motive and what will be accepted by the world is the judgement that would be given by the Supreme Court.
President Sirisena said the current instability in the government was due to the 19th Amendment to the Constitution and reiterated that both 18th Amendment and the 19th Amendment must be abolished, if possible before the elections or at least after the elections to ensure a smooth rule under one leader.
He said that the 19th Amendment was a ‘Curse’ on the country and it was drafted by a ‘Makabas’ (nincompoop). He added that it was prepared by a NGO bandwagon comprising of Jayampathy Wickremeratne, M.A. Sumanthiran and Paikiyasothy Saravanamuttu. He said that if he knew the 19th Amendment would be destructive as this, he would never have supported it. “The 19th Amendment is an NGO conspiracy,” he said.
He said that the 19th Amendment had created one leader at the Presidential Secretariat and another at Temple Trees. He noted that whoever comes to power at the next Presidential election to be held in four months time, the 19th Amendment should be abolished to create a stable government. He said accepts that the 19th Amendment was a mistake and all others who contributed to it should also accept that. However, he admitted that he committed himself to get the two thirds to pass the 19th Amendment.
He pointed out that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe also said that there should not be two drivers in a vehicle of the government. He said what happened was when the driver with a licence from 6.2 million voters was driving the vehicle, while another person with a licence from Parliament got onto the front seat and started to change gears. He said this led to the vehicle going off road and crashing.
He said he supported the 19A in 2015, because of the imperative need to restore democratic freedom, establishment of independent commissions, individual freedoms and media freedom. He charged that the 19A was drafted by certain persons with the support from NGOs have created instability in the country. With reference to the proposed Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with the United States, the President said he was totally against it and also to what is termed as the visiting forces agreement.
Referring to the security situation and operations during the post-Easter Sunday attacks, he said that emergency rule has been extended for another month to facilitate continuation of investigations against arrested suspects and to continue deployment of security forces for security operations to ensure safety of the citizens. He pointed out that many embassies also sought military security. Furthermore, until the formulation of new regulations for law enforcement, it is necessary to continue with emergency laws.
“We had to declare an Emergency situation to suppress terrorists and ensure a peaceful environment in the country. What have been enacted by gazette are clauses pertaining to suppressing terrorism only,’ he said.
Replying to a question, he said that the campaigns to boycott Muslim shops would not succeed and recalled that similar campaign to shun Indian products in the past had failed. “It is very important that peace and harmony among Sinhala, Muslim and Tamil communities should prevail. It is important for us to foster trust among us,” the President added.
He said he supported the 19A in 2015, because of the imperative need to restore democratic freedom