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President’s actions leading this country towards autocracy – Harin Fernando

Harin Fernando Member of Parliament from Opposition Samagi Jana Balavegaya

ECONOMYNEXT – The Opposition is criticizing President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s policy statement made to Parliament yesterday saying it has no plans to rescue the country from the economic damage caused by the Covid situation.

Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) MP Harin Fernando told Parliament yesterday August 21 the speech “is more of an essay than a policy document.”

Fernando also warned that the course of action taken by the President is leading the country towards an autocracy.

“This is a unique Parliament in our history because the Government and the Opposition are from parties that are newly created” he pointed out.

“Our party when we went into the election campaign was new, we did not even have branch offices. That we won 54 seats is a major achievement” he said of the

“I like to quote something I saw on the Facebook page of the former President (Maithripala Sirisena) which said that after accomplishing a task with great effort it is now time to quietly watch the proceedings.’

“But we can’t do that, we cannot be quiet and watch what this government is doing,” Fernando said.

The President described how he divided the tasks among the Ministries and many other things, which Fernando praised.

“It is good that there is a Ministry for Pottery and for Batik, but what is the plan to develop those industries?”

“However there is nothing in the document in which he described a plan to pull us out of the Covid situation and how he will pay the debts that this country has”

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“How will he re-open the airport for Tourists? There is nothing in this document,” Fernando said.

There are power cuts going on, that was not mentioned and what is his solution?

We want to cooperate with the President but when matters are not clear, what can we do?

“He said that he will bring one law for all peoples, but I don’t want that to be the Rajapaksa law. If the law is how (Former CID Director) Shani Abeysekara is being imprisoned under, then I don’t want that law.”

Fernando also pointed out that there was no mention of Research and Development and modern technology in the policy statement. Only a vague statement that modern technology would be used.

“I fear that this is going to be a different game. The first speech from the government side went to a member of the (Rajapaksa) family a new MP. I wish young Nipuna (Ranawaka) success but there are seniors present,” he said.

Contained in this document are matters which are frightening. “When I read the headlines in the newspapers which said one country one law, my knees started to shake.”

He has pushed the people whom he thought were against him to the backbench and brought the people he thinks supported him to the front.

“This is the beginning of a journey to turn this country into a dictatorship.” (Colombo, August 22, 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana