Education minister says GMOA demands unacceptable
In a hard-hitting speech on the floor of the House on Tuesday, Education
Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam took a tough stand on the GMOA’s agitation
demanding the admission of doctors’ children to popular schools and warned the
GMOA that he would not bow down to their unreasonable demands by violating
circulars on the admission of children to schools.
The Minister in his speech of 20 printed pages, which went on for over half and
hours, strictly maintained the stance that the GMOA’s demand is unacceptable and
cannot be acceded to.
The Minister tabled document after document to expose the unfair demands of the
The Minister described how the GMOA members staged protests opposite the
Education Ministry and even attempted to tarnish his personal image. He said
such an act depicts that GMOA’s attempt to snatch the rights of the students by
focusing only on the the rights of their own children.
He warned the GMOA that he was not frightened of their personal character
assassination or media shows. The Minister stressed the need to end the unruly
culture practiced by the GMOA to gain narrow personal objectives by making the
helpless people the victims of their actions.
Citing an example, the Minister queried as to how justifiable it is for a doctor
who received a transfer from Horana to Homagama to demand his child be admitted
to Royal College, Colombo. He said doctors requests have been mainly for 12 of
the most popular schools in Colombo and other main cities and added that he is
not in a position to meet these unreasonable demands.
Minister Kariyawasam said that that the people should realise the
cast-conscious, feudal mindset of the GMOA which is engaged in a futile attempt
to blatantly violate the accepted norms of their profession.
A tense situation erupted in the well of the House time and again due to
protests by the Joint Opposition (JO) members when two motions were debated, to
increase the salary and allowances and of the Director General of the Commission
to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) and the chairmen
and members of nine independent commissions.
When the first motion was moved by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, JO
members interrupted his speech and this led the Government legislators to deal
verbal blows on JO members.
The Premier told the vociferous JO members that some are scared of the
independent commissions as they cannot swindle public funds when these
commissions function independently. At present, the law is equally enforced from
top to the bottom.
The PM told the House that independent commissions were set up under the 17th
Amendment in 2001 following public demand. He recalled as to how the former
Government introduced the 18th Amendment in 2010 to abolish these commissions.
Finally that led to creating a massive public opinion against the then
All political groups in the Opposition, religious leaders and civil society
campaigns collectively demanded the restoration of the independent commissions.
To give effect to this, they elected common candidate Maithripala Sirisena to
He said empowering the CIABOC and restoring the Independent Commissions are
vital measures taken by the Government to meet the expectations of the people.
The Prime Minister told the House that despite certain sections making a big hue
and cry to stop the democratic forward march of the Government, they would not
change direction as they are committed to fulfill the pledges given by the
President in his election manifesto.
As usual Minister Sarath Fonseka who jointed the debate attempted to launch a
scathing attack making direct accusations against the MPs in the JO, naming them
over the corruption and criminal acts. This led to an uproar in the House as the
JO members continued to interrupt him.
They charged that Minister Fonseka was speaking on matters before Court and
breaching Standing Orders. The angry Minister who could not tolerate the remarks
by the JO members said, “When lions roar, monkeys panick.”
Amidst the interruption by JO members, Minister Fonseka continued his speech and
also sang a part of a song to further endorse the facts highlighted by him. When
the Minister was singing, JO members called him Welvidane.
Fonseka also made some scathing remarks on Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe. The
Minister’s remarks also led to a heated argument between him and UPFA Colombo
District MP Wimal Weerawansa.
MP Weerawansa also dealt a verbal blow against the Minister and asked him not to
insult Buddhasasana Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe.
The heated argument between the two legislators finally ended in unparliamentary
language with names of animals as well.
Language and conduct
The unruly behaviour forced the Speaker to warn the MPs to be cautious in their
language and conduct themselves upholding the dignity and decorum of the House
when it met on the next day.
The JO front liners were critical of the conduct of the Director General of the
CIABOC. UPFA Colombo District MP Udaya Gammanpila told the House that they have
doubts about the conduct of the Director General of the CIABOC.
Gammanpila said that what happened in the past was that some killings and
disappearances were reported, but today Police, CIABOC and the Presidential
Commission of Inquiry to Investigate into Large Scale Corruption and Fraud
(PRECIFAC) have become a tool to suppress the political opponents. Specially,
CIABOC which has become the instrument of State suppression against political
UPFA Ratnapura District MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara posed a challenge to the
Government to point out any Government MP who has been charged and imprisoned
for bribery or corruption.
Political witch hunt
He described the CIABOC as a body for a political witch hunt and queried as to
why all these cases are filed only against the MPs in the JO.
MP Nanayakkara said the CIABOC should present a progress report to Parliament to
justify that it is not on a political witch hunt.
The MP was also critical of the appointment of Ministers Patali Champika
Ranawaka, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe and W.D.J. Seneviratne to the Constitutional
Council (CC) and added that appointing Ministers to the CC would have a bad
effect on its independence.