Prime Minister proposes to increase contribution from MPs

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Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said the Government is working to re-introduce the executive committee system in Parliament immediately. This system will ensure constructive contributions from all the members of Parliament.

Delivering his first speech as Prime Minister he said steps will be taken to formulate the draft necessary to set up the executive committee system. According to Gunawardena through the executive committee, all Parliamentarians will be given an opportunity to represent their committees and contribute by assisting to address issues of national importance, development and the passing of necessary legal provisions.

In his maiden speech as Premier, his main emphasis was on the imperative need to uplift the downtrodden masses. He stressed the imperative need to reduce the yawning gulf between the haves and have-nots and said that the current social unrest is due to the economic crisis and immence difficulties faced by the poorest of the poor.

Gunawardena, a known leader who throughout his life displayed austerity and simplicity, recalled, “Arahath Mahinda told King Devanampiyatissa 24 centuries ago, the rulers are mere custodian of the land and not the owners,” and added that his Government is totally committed to that principle. “The Government is ready to listen to the democratic public protests, however, we cannot not accept the acts of terrorism. Terrorism is the greatest threat to democracy and that I believe that the Parliament which upholds democracy will not support such acts of terrorism,” he said.

However, he expressed his willingness to listen to the grievances of the genuine, non-violent protesters. Commenting on the public protests the new PM said the Government is ready to listen to the demands of democratic public protesters but cannot accept acts of terrorism. Denouncing acts that can be considered as terrorism he called them the “greatest threat to democracy.”“The Parliament which upholds democracy would not support such acts of terrorism,” he said adding that while there could be different political ideologies the Parliament should work in unison to address the issues faced by the people.

The Prime Minister said there could be different political ideologies but the Parliament could work in unison to address the issues faced by the people. Referring to the current shortage of fuel he said as Sri Lanka is not a petroleum producing country, it has to purchase fuel on payment of foreign currency and it is essential to get dollars by increasing exports, investments, remittances and tourism.

On the system of executive committees, the Prime Minister said that the Free Education Act was introduced to Sri Lanka through an executive committee. Noting that an executive committee in Parliament was created as far back as 1931, Gunawardena said the laws created by it continue to be in effect today and one can therefore consider it a successful system.

Dinesh Gunawardena received his primary- and secondary education from Royal College, Colombo, and later studied at the Netherlands School of Business, graduating with a diploma in business administration and management. He later joined the University of Oregon, graduating with a BBA in international business.

He joined politics at the young age and entered Parliament in 1983. He succeeded his father Phillip Gunawardena, the top socialist leader of the country, as the leader of the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP), a constituent party of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP).

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