Rajitha opposes arming MPs

by Maheesha Mudugamuwa

A decision should be taken to withdraw the firearms which had been given to all MPs save those from the North and East, Health and Indigenous Medicine Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said yesterday.

Minister Senaratne told the media that Sri Lanka was very peaceful at present and there was no need for arming MPs. But, threats to the lives of some MPs in the Northern and Eastern provinces have been reported. Those MPs should be given firearms following a threat assessment, Dr. Senaratne said.

The Cabinet should take a decision to take back all firearms given to MPs, the Minister stressed.

The firearms had been given to parliamentarians since 1989 due to situation in the country, he said.

“I have been given a firearm but I never use it. I heard that there was a firearm training for MPs at Kalutara STF base. But I am not aware of it. I think that such training is not necessary for parliamentarians. The best training place for MPs is Parliament. They need knowledge and training on parliamentary methods, computer skills and how to use parliamentary library.”

Meanwhile, Media and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Gayantha Karunathileke has promised to reveal at the next post-Cabinet media briefing the number of MPs who have applied for licenced firearms and the number of former MPs who have returned their firearms.