By Lahiru Pothmulla
The progressive features of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution will be preserved when abolishing it, Pivithuru Hela Urumaya Leader, Minister Udaya Gammanpila said yesterday.
He told a news briefing that the government expected to drop the clauses which were detrimental to the country.
“We asked for a mandate to abolish the 19A as a short term measure and to introduce a new Constitution as a long term measure. We will act according to the mandate we were given,” he said when asked whether the government will abolish the 19A.
Commenting on the time-frame of bringing in the 20A, Minister Gammanpila said the Justice Minister has not been given a deadline to finalise the draft but said it will happen soon.
He also said the drafting of a new Constitution is a time consuming process. “We will bring in a new Constitution definitely but it will take time,” he said.
Meanwhile, the minister said SJB MP Tissa Attanayake has made false remarks over the Defence Ministry portfolio saying the President cannot hold the portfolio.
“The MP says the President can not take the Defence Ministry under his purview according to the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. I question the MP where exactly it says in the Constitution that the President cannot be the Defence Minister. According to the article 4 (b) of the Constitution, the President should execute the Executive power of the people including the defence. A Supreme Court decision has also been made in 2003 saying the President should retain Defence Ministry,” he said.
Referring to the speech made by MP C.V. Vigneswaran in Parliament that Tamil language is the oldest alive language in the world and the first settlers of Sri Lanka are Tamils, the minister said it was not so.
“linguists believe Chinese, Arabic, Greek and Basque languages pre-date Tamil. There is no historical evidence to say Sri Lanka’s first settlers are Tamils. I’m ready to prove MP Vigneswaran’s this remark a false. I challenge him for a debate over the fact whether the first settlers of Sri Lanka are Tamils,” he said.
- There is no historical evidence to say Sri Lanka’s first settlers are Tamils