Week in Parliament
Pension scheme, FTZ incident, main topics
The death of Free Trade Zone worker Roshen Chanaka and the proposed
private sector pension scheme turned into the hottest topics at the
Emergency debate leading both Government and Opposition ranks to
exchange various arguments.
The Government Members during their speeches accused the Opposition
of using these issues to gain political milage. The Opposition members
too pointed out various facts to counter the allegations levelled by
Youth Affairs and Skills Development Minister Dullas Alahapperuma who
joined the emergency debate stressed all should honour the family of
Chanaka for their decision not to allow anybody to gain political
advantage over his remains.
The Minister explained why the entire nation looks at this death from
a different perspective today. If this death occurred three years ago,
the country would not have mourned in this manner as a culture of
killings had been entrenched during the past three decades in their
The Minister made the point that after 30 years, people value the
life of a person. The Minister in his hard hitting speech said it is
President Mahinda Rajapaksa and this Government who added this value to
the lives of the people. He stressed the need for taking remedial
measures to prevent such tragedies in the future.
The Minister was critical of the lack of unity between the Government
and the Opposition on issues of national importance. He maintained the
view that there cannot be divisions pertaining to the issues of national
security. He urged the Opposition not to go against the State agenda of
national security and requested them to cooperate.
Responding to the Opposition demands to remove the Emergency,
Minister Alahapperuma said though the extension of emergency is an
unpleasant move, its clauses should be removed step by step until
separatism is completely wiped out from the country.
He also explained attempts made by certain forces to undermine the
significant victory achieved by the nation against terrorism and
described the Darusman report as a part of this conspiracy. The Minister
was keen on the importance of conducting a political dialogue on this
issue in and outside Parliament.
He explained how a key theory created in the West was completely
nullified due to the defeat of LTTE terrorism in Sri Lanka on May 19,
2009. He noted how the role of the United Nations changed after the
collapse of Soviet Russia and created a new agenda which specified that
an internal conflict within a country cannot be ended through military
means. They were compelled to use the word of terrorism after the
September 11 terrorist attack.
However, President Mahinda Rajapaksa could nullify his theory adopted
by the West. In order to further safeguard this Western theory, war
crimes charges were levelled against Sri Lanka.
Terrorism was defeated only within the Sri Lankan state. The Minister
lamented the lack of an accepted definition on terrorism. As a nation
which has eradicated terrorism, Sri Lanka, through the UN, has the right
to tell the world to create a common definition on terrorism.
Certain controversial remarks made by UNP MP Mangala Samaraweera
during the Emergency debate led Foreign Employment Promotion Minister
Dilan Perera to respond in a very emotional manner. Samaraweera in his
speech said the entire country was slowly being militarized and Matara
was one of the districts severely affected by the Government’s policy.
UPFA MP A.H.M.Azwer who interrupted Samaraweera’s speech also accused
him of attempting to insult the war heroes. Minister Perera pointed out
that it has become a dark era for Samaraweera as bombs do not explode in
the country today. He queried is this the same thing referred by
Darusman as well? The Minister told the House a question arises whether
this is Mangala Samaraweera or Darusman speaking.
Referring to the MP’s claim that the country is being militarised,
Minister Perera said the people at the past Presidential Election
prevented the country from being militarised by giving over 1.8 million
majority votes to President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The Minister said it was
Mangala Samaraweera who dreamed those days about militarisation.
The Minister alleged that Samaraweera was echoing the views of
Darusman. This era may be dark for the pro-LTTE Tamil diaspora and the
people like Samaraweera. Certain elements attempt to create various
incidents within the country to justify the points mentioned in the
However, we have been able to successfully formulate the Sri Lankan
model of defeating terrorism.
Housing and Engineering Services Minister Wimal Weerawansa who joined
the debate denied the claims made by the Opposition that Katunayake
incident occurred due to continuation of emergency. He made the point
that under the emergency more than five people cannot gather in public.
He queried if the Government used the emergency to suppress the
workers, how could thousands of workers gather and conduct that
demonstration? He questioned whether the Government has protected any
Police officers who had taken the law into their hands.
Pro-LTTE elements have implemented a worldwide campaign to brand this
Government as a brutal one. The Minister warned the intention of these
elements is to cause harm to the life of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Certain elements have made an attempt to create various incidents here
to back this international conspiracy.
A section of the Police was also caught in this conspiracy. Despite
various claims made by the Opposition on the resignation of the IGP, the
Minister noted the IGP would have got at least another one year
extension. However the IGP resigned by taking collective responsibility
to this incident.
He also inquired about the gang that pelted stones at the Police.
External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris stressed the point that
at a time when forces hostile to Sri Lanka are attempting to launch an
onslaught against the country’s vital interests, political affiliations
and sectarian loyalties need to be put aside to ward off this danger.
Prof. Peiris said though the thrust and parry of party politics is an
essential feature of representative democracy, all must unite in
solidarity to ward off the danger regarding matters that concern the
dignity and security of our country.
He informed the House there is a widespread understanding and support
for Sri Lanka as the Government has invested considerable time and
effort in bringing to the notice of the world the actions taken since
the conflict ended.