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Sunday February 25th, 2024

Sri Lanka main opposition SJB denounces use of PTA to detain protestors

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka cannot use the controversial Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) against protestors and normal laws must apply to any lawbreakers linked to the protests, the main opposition the Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) said.

SJB MP Eran Wickramaratne said at a press conference in Colombo on Wednesday August 24 that the party “completely dencounces” the use of the PTA to detain what he called peaceful protesters.

“When we were in government – [then] President Maithripala Sirsiena’s and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s government – we put forward proposals to parliament to reform the PTA. We wanted to move forward, post-war, taking the country to a new place.

“But what has happened now, unfortunately, is that the PTA is being used to deal with peaceful protestors, to detain them,” said Wickramaratne.

The PTA is a controversial anti-terror law that has been used in Sri Lanka since 1979 and has drawn much criticism from human rights lobbies both local and international. It has been called draconian, and the law is once again under local and international scrutiny after it was used to detain three protestors linked to Sri Lanka’s youth-led Aragalaya (Struggle) protest.

Related:

Sri Lanka’s anti-terror law under scrutiny again as protestor detention continues

 

“The police have given reasons for using the act. This is not for the police to determine. It is for the politicians to determine… that the PTA cannot be used, that the normal law of the country must be applied,” said Wickramaratne.

The government of President Ranil Wickremesinghe maintains that the recent spate of arrests have been legal and only those accused of violence or other criminal or anti-state activity are under investigation.

“We don’t condone violence, even for a moment. We completely dencounce those who burnt down the houses of some MPs,” the SJB parliamentarian said, referring to incidents of retaliatory mob violence on May 09 after government-supporters at the time attacked peaceful protestors.

“But the normal law of the country must apply, and justice must prevail. The use of the PA should be completely denounced. The country can’t normalise if we use the PTA,” he said. (Colombo/Aug24/2022)

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  1. Harsha Hulangamuwa says:

    Please let the government to do their job
    What are you trying to do
    First the government should eradicate terrorists from the country if normalcy is to prevail,

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Harsha Hulangamuwa says:

    Please let the government to do their job
    What are you trying to do
    First the government should eradicate terrorists from the country if normalcy is to prevail,

Sri Lanka could get US$500mn from ADB in 2024

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka could receive 500 million US dollars in support from the Asian Development Bank in 2024 based on the progress of policy reforms, Country Director of the Manila-based lender, Takafumi Kadono said.

The ADB expect to go to its Board around March or April with a 100 million US dollar power sector loan subject to the cabinet of ministers of approving a revised electricity reform bill.

A 100 million dollar loan to support SMEs could also be approved in the early part of the year. Sri Lanka is setting up a credit guarantee agency to support credit for small firms.

A 200 million dollar credit for financial sector was also slated for the year. The ADB gave the first tranche of the financial sector policy loan late last year.

A $100mn for the water sector could also be approved later in the year.

Sri Lanka could get around 200 to 300 million US dollars a year at the lowest rate, or concessional ordinary capital resources (COL) rate of 2 percent.

The balance of would come at the ordinary capital resource rate linked to SOFR.

The ADB has also started work on a ‘Country Partnership Strategy’ for Sri Lanka covering the 2024-2028 period, Kadodo said. (Colombo/Feb25/2024)

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Sri Lanka’s multi-aligned foreign policy based on friendship: Min

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s multi-aligned foreign policy is based on friendship to all and enmity to none, its Minister of Foreign Affairs has said.

“Non-alignment means not becoming a bystander. Non-alignment means you are not forced or coerced into a camp to take sovereign decisions… you make your own choices. Whether it is commercial, security, regional or otherwise,” M U M Ali Sabry said on X (twitter).

“I have repeatedly stressed that sovereignty is the right to have your own opinion on what’s right and wrong, and to stand by your principles. Our multi-aligned foreign policy is based on friendship to all and enmity to none,” Sabry was quoting from his speech at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies (LKI) Foreign Policy Forum, on the theme ‘Reassessing Non-Alignment in a Polarised World’.

Sri Lanka is one of the founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement.

The strategically located island has been increasingly walking a fine line between opposing global factions as it seeks to come out of a financial crisis. (Colombo/Feb24/2024)

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Sri Lanka’s Commercial Bank Dec net down on tax provisions

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Commercial Bank of Ceylon reported profits of 6.9 billion rupees from the December 2023 quarter down 21 percent, despite an improvement in net interest income and lower provisions, amid a change in tax provisions.

Pre-tax profits were 8.89 billion rupees up from 2.4 billion rupees. There was a 6.4 billion tax reversal last year compared to a 1.7 billion rupee tax charge this year.

Commercial Bank reported earnings of 5.26 rupees for the quarter. For the year to December 2023 earnings were 16.07 rupees per share on total profits of 21.1 billion rupees, down 11.3 percent.

Net fee and commission income was down 1.2 percent to 6.1 billion rupees.

Net interest income went up 16.8 percent to 25.5 billion rupees, with interest income rising marginally by 1.3 percent to 73.0 billion rupees and interest expense falling 5.45 percent to 47.5 billion rupees.

Loans and advances to customers grew 4.06 percent to 1.17 billion rupees in the year to December. Debt and other financial instruments fell 10.5 percent to 649 billion rupees.

Financial assets measured and fair value through other comprehensive income was at 287 billion rupees, up from 117 billion rupees.

Impairment charges were 13.1 billion rupees, down from 19.6 billion rupees last year.

Gross assets were up 6.45 percent to 2.36 billion rupees. Net assets were up 5.51 percent to 214 billion rupees. (Colombo/Feb24/2024)

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