The country will get stuck in a federal system if the new Constitution is implemented, Bellanwila Rajamaha Vihara Chief Incumbent the Ven. Prof. Bellanwila Wimalarathana Thera told a news briefing today.
He said the Government could surreptitiously enact the new Constitution which would harm the entire country.
“The attempts to reveal the true nature of the situation that would prevail if the new Constitution was passed, are not indications of attempting to go against the Government,” the prelate said. “It is an attempt to educate the public. Some elements say the Maha Sangha are creating a fear psychosis among the people to fulfil the aspirations of a third party, which is not true.”
The prelate said if the new Constitution was implemented the Provincial Councils would have the authority to take their own decisions, including changing the Poya holidays based on the majority population.
“A Provincial Council may even change the national policy according to its needs,” he said and added that a close examination of the new constitutional proposals clearly revealed that some proposals were helpful for future peaceful co-existence of all citizens, but the rest were directly supportive of separatist objectives.
“The proposals include the diluting of the powers of Parliament, taking away the powers vested in the Executive President to monitor the Provincial Councils through the Governors appointed by the President, to establish a constitutional court that will usurp the existing powers of the Supreme Court to make rulings on the constitutionality of legislation pertaining to key areas such as land matters, to recognise the Northern and Eastern Provinces as one unit through the Constitution itself, eliminate the powers vested with the Central Government to intervene in any provincial issues that have national implications by removing the concurrent list and remove the prevailing provisions for the Government or the Parliament to frame national policies on any subject,” the Thera said.
He said the alternate proposals contained in the main document hide the real intention with regard to certain key proposals by the use of words that gave different and conflicting meanings in the three versions of Sinhala, Tamil, and English.
“The proposals do not use the term federal directly, it is subtly introduced by the use of words that have different meanings in the three languages. Similarly, the foremost status accorded to Buddhism has been diluted by the introduction of alternative amendments to Article 9 of the Constitution, which have surprised and grieved us immensely. The Maha Sangha are of the view that a new Constitution is not the need of the hour. We stress that even any amendment to the Constitution at this point should be restricted only to those pertaining to bring in amendments to the electoral system. We earnestly request President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the Government to stop all attempts at introducing a new Constitution,” the prelate said. "We urge members of the Maha Sangha and all religious leaders of other faiths to come forward without further delay to educate the public and their elected representatives regarding this national crisis situation that is developing, so that all patriotic forces will unite and join hands to reject the proposals for a new constitution that is uncalled for at this juncture.” (Chaturanga Pradeep)