PSC to recommend action against rising Wahabism and Arabisation, etc

By Saman Indrajith

Members of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) probing the Easter Sunday carnage, yesterday, decided to make their recommendations focusing on five main areas including the trend of rising Wahabism and Arabisation.

The PSC members met at the Committee Room 3 of the Parliamentary complex, yesterday, around 2.15 pm and their meeting lasted till around 5pm with Committee Chairman Deputy Speaker Ananda Kumarasiri presiding, PSC sources said.

All PSC members except Ministers Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, Rauff Hakeem and Prof Ashu Marasinghe were present at the meeting.

The PSC members decided to make their recommendations, emphasizing the need to introduce reforms in the security and intelligence sector, to highlight the need to control and monitor the rise of Islamic extremism and the rise of Buddhist extremism, to call for addressing laws delays including reforming the Attorney General’s Department and to point out that there were trends of Wahabism and Arabisation and the need for action, according to sources.

The PSC members agreed to call for the undertaking of a comprehensive review of national security priorities by identifying gaps and weaknesses and areas that required reform and further strengthening. It should be coupled with an immediate review of the present structures in place for security and intelligence to map out tasks, responsibilities and possible overlaps.

PSC sources said that the final report would highlight the importance of intelligence and security structures and the need for making them robust and independent. To achieve that goal, specific structural reforms were necessary.

They said that testimonies given before the PSC indicated the dis-functional nature of the NSC and the need for key reforms urgently. The reforms should strengthen security and intelligence operations to ensure a comprehensive system in place to address and neutralise future security threats.

There was a need for a revitalised NSC with a secretariat comprising experienced staff to handle its work. The mandate of the NSC would also require attention. A reformed NSC should have the expertise on intelligence and security issues and be able to advice the government on key developments and actions that should be taken. They should also be able to coordinate with relevant ministries in terms of security measures and infrastructure.

Sources said that the PSC report would suggest the creation of a new position in the executive branch under the designation of National Security Adviser. The NSA should be a person with the relevant expertise in intelligence and security issues and be able to oversee the work of the NSC Secretariat and keep the President and the government abreast of security issues. The NSA should have the mandate to organise NSC meetings and initiate follow-up action and would be responsible to the Minister of Defence. It would be ideal if the NSA reported to the President, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defence in case the minister was a person other than the President, sources said.

The PSC is scheduled to meet again on Oct 4.

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