NCM against Minister Keheliya defeated
113 MPs vote against motion, 73 vote in favour
38 MPs absent during vote
Former President Sirisena, MP Dayasiri absent
The No-Confidence Motion brought against Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella by the Opposition was defeated with a majority of 40 votes following a three day debate.
A total of 113 MPs voted against the motion while 73 MPs voted in favour. In addition, 38 MPs were absent during the vote. Members of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna voted against the proposal. MPs from the Samagi Jana Balavegaya, TNA and FPC voted in favour of the motion. Members Ali Sabry Raheem and A.H.M. Fowzie also voted against the motion. Former President Maithripala Sirisena and MP Dayasiri Jayasekara were not present in the Chamber at the time of polling.
This motion of no confidence against Minister Keheliya Rambukwella was presented by members of several Opposition political parties including Samagi Jana Balawega.
The motion was handed over to the Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena on July 2, 2023 by SJB General Secretary Ranjith Madduma Bandara and MP Kavinda Jayawardena, with the signatures of 45 MPs.
It has been signed by MPs representing several different opposition parties and alliances. They include the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), the National People’s Power (NPP), the Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF) and the Freedom People’s Congress (FPC) of MP Dullas Alahapperuma. SJB MPs Patali Champika Ranawaka and Kumara Welgama, who now function as independents in the Opposition, have also signed the motion.
The motion states that solutions have not been put forward so far for the crisis that has arisen in the health sector at present. The motion was moved over the alleged irresponsible importation of ‘substandard’ medicines and surgical equipment which led to a weakened health sector and even deaths.
The SJB alleged that the government continued to bring in the relevant ‘substandard’ drugs outside of the procurement and registration process considering it to be a state of emergency, and that the move resulted in several deaths at major hospitals across the country.
The motion claims that the Minister “has acted ruining the safe health service available for people,” thereby breaching the pledge he has given in terms of Article 53 of the Constitution.
The motion adds that the Minister has neglected his fundamental duties required by Article 28 of the Constitution and “people have to pay the price of his irresponsible conduct with their lives.”
Attempts to achieve narrow political goals defeated – Keheliya
Health Minister Dr. Keheliya Rambukwella told Parliament yesterday that the Opposition’s attempt to destroy the health service in Sri Lanka by making baseless allegations is clearly proven as its attempts to achieve narrow political goals.
The Minister said that he will answer all the accusations that have been presented by bringing a No Confidence Motion against him and all those answers will be tabled. The Opposition’s attempt to destroy the health service in this country has clearly proven through these baseless allegations.
The Minister said this in his reply speech on the three-day debate on the No Confidence Motion brought against him.
There was a debate on this No-Confidence Motion for three days. The Opposition alleged that there are deaths reported from hospitals day by day. The Opposition also alleges that medicines are the cause of those deaths. Committees have been appointed to investigate these allegations. A panel consisting of Dr. Dedunu Dias, Prof.Chandima Jeevandara, Prof.Priyadarshini Galappatti, Dr. Senitha Liyanage, Prof.Netushi Samaranayake, Prof.Sudath Warnakulasuriya and Dr. Philip Lee have given panel reports. The Opposition mentioned about five types of medicines. They claim that a death has been caused due to the cephalexin four vaccine. The opposition alleged that this is an unregistered smuggled medicine. However, It has been registered since 2013. The registration is valid till 2028.
So, everyone must understand the purpose of the Opposition for presenting such false facts. This medicine was not purchased under an emergency purchase. It was made under normal purchases. The Opposition tried to implement low-level politics through medicines.
Next is the anesthetic Propofol medicine. No deaths have occurred due to this medicine. 25,000 vials of this medicine were brought and 14,562 of them have been used. This medicine has been brought on the recommendations of the World Health Organization. I am tabling the information here. I also table the report of the National Drug Regulatory Authority. So anyone can get real information about medicines.
The Opposition also accused the eye medicine Prednisolone.Its registration is available until 2027.57,000 vials of this medicine have been brought. Clave medicine was registered in Sri Lanka in 2014. However, the import of this drug has been discontinued due to reports of complications. As the Opposition says, anyone can find out if there is a problem with these drugs. Co-amoxiclav medicine is manufactured in Sri Lanka. The company has started its production in Sri Lanka in 2017. Former Minister Rajitha has given support for that. Three deaths have been reported so far and foreign experts will be brought here for testing the medicine. It has been decided that the money spent for this investigation should be paid from the company.
Importing inferior drugs is another accusation of the Opposition. According to the provisions of the Act, an expert committee decides the importation of these medicines. Medicines are imported according to the procurement process of the State Medical Corporation. Although the opposition shouted that the import was done outside the procurement process, no document has been submitted to me so far to prove it. If you have more documents, give it to me right now. it is still not too late to provide that information. If the conditions of the drugs fail, they are removed. Failure of medicines is not something that happened today. It happens every year. 93 types of medicines in 2017, 85 in 2018, 96 in 2019, 77 in 2020, 85 in 2021, 86 in 2022 and 43 in 2023 have failed. The emergency purchase should be done within three months. When Health Minister Rajitha left the Ministry, there was a shortage of 517 medicines in the country. The Opposition said that there was no shortage of medicines at that time. I table these documents to prove the shortage. We have not made any changes regarding emergency purchases.