Call for constitutional reforms reiterated at SLFP head office

images (3)Minister Reginald Cooray yesterday called for far-reaching constitutional reforms while expressing the belief that President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s manifesto for Jan. 8, 2015 presidential election would address their concerns.

Kalutara District MP emphasised that the government couldn’t ignore the need for remedial measures without further delay.

The minister was addressing the media at SLFP headquarters at T. B. Jayah Mawatha.

Cooray, one of those who had been earlier tipped to join Maithripala Sirisena’s camp, said that members experienced problems. Good governance was an issue, he said, while naming several members who had been upset over the situation in the ruling coalition. Referring to Trincomalee District MP M. K. D. S. Gunawardena, MP Cooray said that he had been angry with the leadership for turning a blind eye to his complaints of ill-treatment by Minister Susantha Punchinilame. Turning towards National Freedom Front (NFF) leader and Minister Weerawansa, Cooray said that he, too, had problems. However, the direction of the government couldn’t be altered simply on the basis of issues raised by individual members or political parties, he added. (SF)

Senior Minister decides not to join JOF on account of age – Senaratne

by Zacki Jabbar

A Senior Minister who was to join the Joint Opposition Front (JOF) this week had decided to remain in the government on account of his age, a minister who defected to the Opposition recently, said yesterday.

Former Fisheries Minister Rajitha Senaratne MP, told a news conference in Colombo, that the minister concerned had told him on Wednesday that he was disgusted with the dictatorial and undemocratic manner in which the Rajapaksas ruled, but on account of his age, he had decided to remain where he was.

“Even though the Senior Minister will not be physically present to campaign for our  Presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena, he will not throw his weight behind President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s third term re-election bid”, Senaratne revealed.

The former Fisheries Minister recalled that the President had invited Opposition parliamentarians to join the government, saying that he needed a two thirds majority to develop the country, but instead a select group had prospered while the vast majority of people were suffering due to an unbearable cost of living coupled with a chilling fear as to their fate if they dared to expose the wrongs being committed by the powers that be.

With the end of the war and a two-thirds majority in hand the sky was the limit, but unfortunately the Rajapaksa’s had embarked on a journey that had destroyed the very fabric of the country and with it all democratic institutions, while crime and corruption at the highest levels had reached unprecedented proportions, he observed.

 

Those deserting the ruling UPFA and joining the Maithripala camp on a matter of principle, Senaratne pointed out, far outweighed those who were being induced to join the President’s sinking ship.

 

He predicted that it would be a matter of weeks before the masses ended the culture of unprecedented violence, crime and the blatant and shameless disregard for the rule of law under the Rajapaksa regime.

 

January 8 would usher in a new era where people could live without fear of being robbed, raped and killed in broad daylight, Senaratne said.