First and foremost move of the government in making constitutional changes would be to rectify the issues arisen from the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Chairman Professor G.L. Peiris today said.
Speaking at a news briefing held at SLPP head office, Minister Professor Peiris said the 19A is a cursed piece of legislation detrimental to the economic development, the security and the democratic culture in the country.
“The 19A has been a great obstacle for economic revival. Especially in the post-COVID-19 period, we need to bring in investments by instilling confidence. However, the 19A has so far played as a barrier in boosting confidence in investors. During the Yahapalana Government, the PM appointed a cabinet sub-committee to make decisions and then inform the cabinet. The president was not satisfied with this and abolished the economic subcommittee. He created another body appointing those loyalists but later on, he removed these officials as well. Any investor who witnesses these developments will not hesitate to withdraw their investments,” Minister Peiris said.
In terms of security, he said the 19A prevented the President from holding the ministerial portfolio of defence and said the people experienced the grave repercussion of this following the Easter Sunday attacks.
“Without any argument, the executive president should be the Defence Minister. We will completely remove this anomaly. In an emergency, the government should have the power to make urgent laws swiftly. Prior to 19A, the government had the power to make urgent laws within seven days, but 19A abolished this and made it 14. Therefore we will remove 19A,” he said.
He said the NGOs praised the 19A as a holy book saying it made great strides towards the establishment of democracy.
“Some of the powers of the President were removed and entrusted with a new Constitutional Council which was established with the intention of making apolitical appointments. This became a complete lie. The CC appointed someone they want as the IGP instead of the most senior person who should have been appointed to the post. The appointed IGP is entangled in Easter Sunday attack investigations. Regardless of the disgrace he brings to the police, the President has no power to remove him. Is this the democracy?”
He said the Independent Commissions were established as apolitical institutions but said members of these institutions are more politicised than elected MPs in Parliament.
“Constitutional Council member Javid Yusuf said the SLPP should not be given a two thirds majority. Elections Commission member Ratnajeevan Hoole said not to vote for the SLPP. The Commissions’ members are more politicised than government and opposition members in Parliament,” Minister Peiris said.
Responding to questions on proposed constitutional changes, he said the electoral system will be changed.
He said the provisions should also be made so that the people even in villages could file Fundamental Rights petitions in a lower court accessible to them than the Supreme Court.
“At present, the SC is the court of first resort as well as the court of last resort for FR cases. This is not so either in India or the US. People should have access to file FR petitions in a lower court. In the US, the SC does not have the sole right to hear FR petitions,” he said.
When asked whether a post of deputy Prime Minister will be created to appoint former president MP Maithripala Sirisena to the post, Minister Peiris said no official decision has been taken.
“There is no such discussion within the government as of now to this effect,” he said.
When asked whether changes would be made to bring in dual citizenship holders such as Basil Rajapaksa into Parliament, he said, “Constitutional reforms are about the country and not decided based on an individual. We will cross that bridge when we come to it." (Lahiru Pothmulla)
Surprised how a professor can deliberately mislead people like this. The matter about the committees is a personality issue and came only during the transitional presidency. Nothing to do with 19A. We managed very we with Defence Ministers who are not Presidents earlier. My3 was the defence minister at the Easter bombing and was that good? Finally, are we going to bring in the notorious route of passing legislation swiftly calling it urgent? Whither are you leading us, learned professor?
Sambo Tuesday, 25 August 2020 07:55 AM
The public are fighting to find the day's meal and you people are dying in power hunger. No wonder we as a nation are going backward not to mention all the developments you talk about.
Dora Tuesday, 25 August 2020 03:03 PM
First move not food and livelihoods or economy ... what a clever professor you are!
rew Tuesday, 25 August 2020 03:08 PM
Con Man comes to town
Oxymoron Tuesday, 25 August 2020 05:50 PM
Goes to prove his bankruptcy in every way possible - ethical, moral, you name it.
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