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    NCM dates to be announced today - Speaker

    May 23, 2019

    Speaker Karu Jayasuriya observed in Parliament yesterday that the dates to debate the No Confidence Motion (NCM) against Minister Rishad Bathiudeen would be announced today. The Speaker announced that the decision on the dates to debate the No Confidence Motion would be reached at the Party Leaders’ Meeting at the Parliamentary complex in the morning today. He added that the No Confidence Motion has already been included in the Order Book.

    Speaker Jayasuriya made this announcement in response to a Point of Order raised by Opposition Parliamentarian Dinesh Gunawardena demanding a date to debate the No Confidence motion against Minister Bathuideen. However, as the members needed to speak on this matter, the Speaker allowed 42 members both from the Government and Opposition sides to express their views.

    However, several times the debates turned to be heated as some of the members wanted to take up the No Confidence Motion soon while others wanted to investigate the truthfulness of the allegations levelled against Minister Bathiudeen before a Parliament Select Committee before the No Confidence Motion is debated.

    Raising the Point of Order, Opposition member Dinesh Gunawardena said that the No Confidence Motion against Bathiudeen has been signed by more than 60 members and was handed over to the Speaker.

    He added that the there are allegations against Minister Bathiudeen of his involvement in fostering extremism. They are serious allegations since extremism killed hundreds of people in the Easter Sunday attacks one month ago.

    “However, the stance of the Leader of the House is to investigate the allegations against Minister Bathiudeen before a Select Committee,” MP Gunawardena said. “It is not the practise and the Speaker should give a date to debate it soon.”

    Leader of the House and Minister Kiriella said that the 67 members who signed the No Confidence Motion had not seen the date on it. “Shame on them”, Minister Kiriella said.

    “I overruled it,” The Speaker Jayasuriya said.

    Leader of the House Minister Kiriella said that those were just allegations. He added that when he inquired from the IGP, he said that there was no evidence to prove those allegations. “Some sections of the media want to sling mud which will will not allow,” Minister Kiriella said.

    “First, it should be inquired before a Select Committee. We have not refused to permit the No Confidence Motion against Prime Minister or Ravi Karunanayake. But we cant allow the slinging of mud.”

    Opposition MP Bandula Gunawardena said that there were precedences to take up No Confidence Motions immediately such as against Mahinda Rajapaksa’s 51 day government.

    Opposition MP Wimal Weerawansa said that the Select Committee was a means for the UNP to defeat the No Confidence Motion. If the No Confidence Motion was not debated soon then nobody from opposition would take part in the Select Committee.

    Opposition MP Namal Rajapaksa said that a Parliament Select Committee should be appointed to find out as to whose negligence led to the Easter Sunday suicide attacks and not on the allegations against Rishad Bathiudeen. He suggested that hence the No Confidence Motion against Minister Rishad Bathiudeen should be debated.

    Opposition MP Susil Premajayantha said that the Parliament Select Committee takes long to complete its investigations. Hence, the No Confidence Motion should be debated soon and first.

    UNP MP Prof. Ashu Marasinghe said the Parliamentary Select Committee should be held first to find out the perpetrators of this heinous crime. So the Select Committee should be set up and investigations should commence soon. He added that these allegations against Minister Bathiudeen are completely false. “I inquired from the Army Commander to know if Minister Bathiudeen interfered in his investigations,” MP Marasinghe said. “He answered in the negative and said that Minister Bathiudeen only made a request. According to the country’s political culture politicians do so.”

    JVP MP Vijitha Herath said the Parliament Select Committee on the April 21 incident and the No Confidence Motion is against Minister Bathiudeen. These are two separate things.So the No Confidence Motion could be debated.

    MP Ananda Aluthgamage said that there were two solutions to this issue. He added that if the Minister was innocent, he could face the No Confidence Motion or if he is guilty, he could resign from the Ministerial Portfolio.

    MP Jayampathi Wickramaratne said that they could support the No Confidence Motion if the allegations against Minister Bathiudeen was proved before a Parliament Select Committee. He added, hence the Parliament Select Committee should commence its investigations first.

    TNA MP S.Viyalendran said that a large number of children died in the Batticaloa attack.

    “The people ask us if we are involved in them,” MP Viyalendran said.

    “The suicide attacks were rehearsed on April 18 on a motorcycle. Why was it not investigated. If investigated, a heinous crime could have been prevented.

    Kabir appreciates Mahinda’s gesture of taking MPs to school

    Highways and Road Development and Petroleum Resources Development Minister Kabir Hashim yesterday appreciated Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa for taking MPs to school on Tuesday who did not attend school during the schooling age.

    He made this observation in Parliament yesterday following the Point of Order raised by Opposition Member Dinesh Gunawardena demanding to take up the No Confidence Motion against Minister Rishad Bathiudeen without its allegations being investigated before a Select Committee. Minister Hashim said that he appreciated the move of Opposition Leader Rajapaksa to encourage the parents to send their children to school, by visiting several schools. He also said that he appreciates the Opposition Leader’s gesture of taking some MPs who did not attend school, during their schooling age on his visit to several schools.

    Gazette notification to extend Emergency laws presented to House

    The Gazette notification related to the extension of emergency laws for another month was presented to Parliament yesterday.

    The Emergency Laws that was imposed by President Maithripala Sirisena just after the Easter Sunday bombings on April 22 2019 lapsed as of yesterday. As per the new Gazette notification, the Emergency law will be in force till June 22, 2019.

    Bathiudeen denies all allegations

    Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen denied all the allegations against him, which are included in the No Confidence Motion against him by the Opposition.

    Minister Bathiudeen in reply to UPFA MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage also denied that he attempted to influence the Army Commander over an individual who was arrested in relation to Islamic extremist terrorism.

    MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage referred to several allegations against Minister Bathiudeen which are included in the NCM.

    “We don’t want to sling mud against anybody. We are bringing in a NCM because these are serious implications. Minister Bathiudeen’s Coordinating Secretary, his brother and one of his advisors have been arrested for having connections to Islamic extremist terrorists. Can you deny that? Then, the Army Commander said that Minister Bathiudeen attempted to influence him to release one of the arrested suspects. There were more points that we could have included in this NCM. But we did not include all of them,” MP Aluthgamage said.

    Minister Bathiudeen who then rose to reply MP Aluthgamage, in the midst of continued interruptions by the Opposition. He vehemently denied the allegation that his brother was arrested in relation to the terrorist group that caused the Easter Sunday terror attacks.

    “My brother was not taken into custody and I have a letter issued by the IGP proving that.

    This allegation was created by the media-mafia. That was the media-mafia,” Bathiudeen claimed.

    Minister Bathiudeen also denied that there was a Maulawi as one of his advisors who is in the arrested list.

    “I never had a Maulawi as my advisor. I only had two, one is Roy Jayasinghe and the other is Dr. Azis,” he pointed out.

    Speaking of the allegation on him trying to influence the Army Commander, Bathiudeen said that he never attempted to do any such thing.

    “The son of a senior advisor to Muslim Affairs Ministry was taken away by an unidentified group. They requested me to find him where he was. First, I tried the Dehiwala police. They told me that there is no such person under their custody. Then, I tried State Minister Ruwan Wijewardene. He told me to ask from the Army Commander. So I spoke to him. But I never tried to influence him or demanded the release of anyone,” Bathiudeen pointed out.

    At the beginning of his speech, Bathiudeen addressed MP Aluthgamage as “my friend” to which the MP expressed his dislike. “Ok, not my friend then. I will call you MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage. But you have to remember that I was working alongside you for nine years in Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government,” Minister Bathiudeen said.

    Opposition Leader requests Speaker for NCM debate date

    Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday requested Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to decide on a date to hold the debate on the No Confidence Motion which is to be moved against Minister Rishad Bathiudeen for allegedly supporting the Islamic extremist terrorist group that is responsible for the Easter Sunday terror attacks.

    The former President pointed out that it is in the hands of the Speaker to decide on a date for the debate. “It is totally your responsibility to give a date for this debate. Just give two days, and that is the end of it. Nothing serious. It is important to have this debate in order to dispel the suspicion in the people’s mind,” he further said.

    Former President Rajapaksa pointed out that it seemed Minister Bathiudeen was also in favour of having the NCM debate.

    “Correct me if I am wrong, I think I heard that Minister Bathiudeen also wants this debate. Apparently, he said that he can provide explanations to the allegations. Therefore, Minister Bathiudeen, the Opposition and some of the government MPs all want this debate. So I don’t know why you can’t give a date. So the decision is yours,” Opposition Leader Rajapaksa told the Speaker.

    Rajapaksa also said that perhaps the government is trying to put Minister Bathiudeen in more trouble by refusing to give a date for the debate.

    “Now that the Minister also seemed to want this debate, I don’t understand why we can’t fix a date for this. Maybe you all are trying to drag Minister Bathiudeen into more trouble by not giving a date. I wonder if you all are enjoying his predicament,” Rajapaksa said.

    Rajapaksa said, “I think this is the first time in history that we had so long a debate on whether a NCM should or should not be moved.”

    I have nothing to do with scrap copper-tender - Bandara

    SLFP MP Shantha Bandara yesterday denied having any connection to the scrap copper-tender given to a factory owner who was one of the suicide bombers in the Easter Sunday terror attack.

    MP Bandara denied the allegation that he has in a letter encouraged the Industrial Development Board to provide the scrap copper at concessionary rates to this factory owner-suicide bomber.

    MP Bandara said the letter was “only forwarded” to the responsible officers who were handling the Tender procedure and it “did not carry out any influence or request or any such implication.”

    He made these observation in reply to Deputy Minister Ameer Ali who mentioned in his speech that some of the persons who favoured the terrorist to get the scrap copper Tender is in the Opposition now.

    MP Bandara who denied the allegation stressed that he gave no support what so ever for the culprit to get hold of the Tender.

    NCM against Bathiudeen is a NCM against Muslim community - Deputy Minister

    Deputy Minister Ameer Ali yesterday said that the No Confidence Motion (NCM) moved by the Opposition against Minister Rishad Bathiudeen is a NCM against the entire Muslim community in the country.

    Opposition MPs including Prasanna Ranaweera and Janaka Wakkumbura denied Deputy Minister Ali’s assertion and pointed out that the NCM against Minister Bathiudeen has nothing to do with the majority of innocent Muslims. They pointed out that the NCM was brought against those who supported Islamic extremism and not against the Muslim community.

    Deputy Minister Ameer Ali speaking in Parliament yesterday pointed out that the Opposition was not so eager to bring in a NCM against IGP Pujith Jayasundara or Secretary to Defence Ministry Hemasiri Fernando.

    “These people might even start saying Bathiudeen’s father is Ibrahim. Now you are telling me that I am acting like a baby who knows nothing. But, if Minister Bathiudeen crossed over to your side during the 52 day unconstitutional government in October last year, it would be you who would have been acting like a baby that knows nothing. Muslim leaders, religious leaders have cooperated with the military forces. Nobody spoke about them. Did you bring in a NCM against IGP Pujith Jayasundara or the Defence Secretary? Did you now? If Minister Bathiudeen is wrong, go ahead, take him to Courts and send him to prison. It should be done in a clear and ethical manner. It was the media that created all sorts of relationships between the suicide bombers and the Minister,” Ali continued.

    In reply, MP Wakkumbura said the NCM was not brought against the Muslim community but against Minister Rishad Bathiudeen who evidently supported the Islamic terrorists who are responsible for the Eastern Sunday terror attacks.

    MP Wakkumbura observed that there are Muslim MPs like Minister Kabir Hashim in the government, and they are not targeting such representatives of the Muslim community.

    Mujibar Rahuman debunks baseless opposition allegations

    UNP MP Mujibar Rahuman yesterday denied the allegation that Minister Rishad Bathiudeen and himself threatened to leave the government at the government MPs’ group meeting lest the No Confidence Motion against the latter be taken up in Parliament.

    Referring to a speech made by MP Padma Udayashantha, MP Rahuman said the latter and his party leader are making false allegations.

    “People don’t talk about me, the ones who talk about me is you and your irresponsible leader. You all have claimed both today and yesterday that Minister Bathiudeen has threatened to leave the government at our group meeting. You have said that I will also leave the government. Don’t make such false statements. Mr. Speaker, I urge you do make this MP undergo a brain checkup since he keeps uttering lies in the House,” MP Rahuman said. Speaking of the Selective Committee to probe into the Easter Sunday terror attacks, MP Rahuman said the said Committee is crucial to reveal who is actually responsible for the Easter Sunday terror attacks.

    “The Committee can inquire into Minister Bathiudeen’s conduct as well. It can also find out who the actual murderer is. You all are trying to hide the real killer here. You have struck a deal with the real killer not to have your cases taken up in Court,” MP Rahuman alleged.

    MP Padma Udayashantha in his speech mentioned MP Mujibar Rahuman’s name and the names of two governors in Eastern and Western Provinces and claimed that “people are talking about their alleged connection to the extremist terrorist activities.”

     

    Last modified on Thursday, 23 May 2019 09:40

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