GL’s SLPP faction ready to support constructive measures
Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) founding Chairman MP Prof. G.L. Peiris said that their faction is ready to support the constructive measures adopted for the people by the Government without accepting any ministerial portfolios.
Speaking at a press brief held yesterday (05) Professor Peiris noted that the government should take swift measures to solve the economic crisis within a given time period.
Prof. Peiris stated, “Sri Lanka is facing an unprecedented economic and political crisis. We informed the President and the Prime Minister that we will unreservedly support any decision that the Government takes for the benefit of our people. There are many urgent things to be done. Food inflation is running at more than 80%. There are acute problems with regards to the availability of fuel. That is having an adverse impact on every sector in the country. We are concerned about the need to provide education on an uninterrupted basis to the children.
There are also pressing problems of the unavailability of pharmaceutical products and the repercussions of that on Sri Lankan hospitals, dispensaries and clinics. All these are matters that need to be dealt with. Any constructive measures adopted for the people by the Government in these very challenging circumstances will certainly receive the support of all of us.”
“Another area that we made it clear that our support will be given is with regards to the formulation of policies. The country needs stability of policy formulation and implementation in a variety of critical sectors including health, education, agriculture and so on. If these policies keep changing every year the result is certainly detrimental to our country. Therefore, in these circumstances there is a need for all the major political parties and groups to arrive at a consensus with regards to the elements of the policies that ought to be adopted in our country at this time. We will certainly be party to that without any reluctance or hesitation. Our rigorous and direct involvement is available with Parliamentary Committees especially ones like COPE and the COPA,” Prof. Peiris observed. Prof. Peiris also urged the Government not to expand the Cabinet no matter what type of a Government is established.
“We have drawn a very clear line where we wish not to be associated with at all. We will not accept cabinet portfolios, state ministries or any other position in the executive which would enhance the financial status of the people of our country. We made it crystal clear that we are rigidly opposed to the enlargement of the cabinet in any manner whatsoever. We had a Cabinet operating with 18 Ministers and we are opposed to even the addition of one to this Cabinet. The Constitution provides the ability to appoint as many as 40 or more State Ministers.
In the Constitution, it says if a National Government is established, there would not be any limit to the number of the Cabinet. Sri Lanka’s sources are at a bare minimum, in dollar terms and rupee terms. We should cater to the needs of our people. We have to support the people and we cannot put more burden on them. We cannot ask the people to support us. It is a complete distortion of priorities in our country today. Whatever the Government, what people would see before their eyes is a jambo Cabinet, the need for them to maintain more and more ministers of various categories and descriptions that would definitely invoke the wrath and the indignation of the people for very justifiable reasons. We shall not be a part of that. We rejected this emphatically and stressed to both the President and the Prime Minister that we would not reject it with reservation.”
“Finally, all this has to be done within a time limitation. These are very vital tasks that the Government is embarking upon. The reforming of the Constitution that will have an impact on generations yet to come, a fundamental change in our political culture, negotiation with the International Monetary Fund, all of these must be done by a Parliament which accurately reflects the will of the people. There cannot be a contrast between Parliament and public sentiment of the people. Parliament should mirror public opinion. Therefore, we did stress our view that these arrangements should be limited to a time frame,” Prof. Peiris also added.