Minister of Justice
Ali Sabry, PC said the Janatha Vimukthi Perumana (JVP) and some others
want the country to progress. This is just like some people did their politics
over the past 20 to 25 years harping on the Northern and Eastern issue by using
it as a ‘beggar’s wound’. The Minister in an interview with the Sunday Observer
said some of these people know when the country progresses and achieves its
true potential and accelerate its economic growth that is the end of their
so-called divisive, backward, outdated policies and politics.
So, naturally they
need to find a way to sabotage the whole progress of the nation and to create a
ghost out of nothing. Minister Sabry said there is absolutely no reason for us
to unduly worry about the Colombo Port City Economic Commission Bill.
He said if the
Supreme Court by any chance gives us instruction that these particular areas of
the Bill would be problematic or unconstitutional, we will take that into
consideration and we will go ahead with it. The Minister said however, he
doesn’t personally see that there is anything which is unconstitutional in the
Port City Bill.
Q: Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB)
Parliamentarian Champika Ranawaka has said that the Colombo Port City is not a
turning point and it would pave the way to divide the country. Would you like
to respond to this claim?
A: It is absolutely callous and
dissatisfied. This shows the bankruptcy of the Opposition itself. How can the
Port City pave the way for any separation? When Champika Ranawaka was the
Megapolis and Western Development Minister, he himself in one of the Cabinet
papers had suggested that the 51 percent be owned by the Chinese and 49 percent
for us. That is what his Ministry had suggested to the Attorney General. But we
are suggesting that the entire thing is owned by the Government. So, how could
it divide the country?
The land belongs to
the Government of Sri Lanka and it will be operated by the Commission. The
Commission is appointed by the Sri Lankan President. Then it will be audited by
a qualified auditor with the sanctions of the Auditor General of the country.
Any laws which will be applicable here will be the common Sri Lankan
law. Just like when we had in 1978 when we introduced the BOI special laws with
regard to operation aspects of the business, that will be governed by the
Commission and there are tax reliefs. That is even there now under the BOI law.
Without the tax relief, no one will come and invest here. Therefore, the
allegation levelled by the Opposition is absolutely false.
Q: Twenty-one petitions have been filed at
the Supreme Court challenging the Port City Economic Commission Bill. Your
A: There is nothing wrong in that. The
people have the right in terms of the Constitution to go to the Supreme Court
as the apex court of the country to look into the constitutionality of it. So,
if the Supreme Court goes through that and suggests it has to be done with two
thirds or this particular process has to be done with a referendum, we will take
that into our consideration in strategising the future course of action.
Government will always act in accordance with the Constitution of Sri Lanka and
will not go against the Supreme Court rulings.
Q: How do you view the recent comment by
the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives Alaina. B. Teplitz that the
Colombo Port City paves the way for money laundering?
A: It is very regrettable. We will not allow
that to happen. The normal Sri Lankan money laundering law will apply and there
is no problem with that. Because the criminal law is the Sri Lankan law. We
have the money laundering act and it has been repeatedly updated. Money
laundering is not a problem here. Money laundering is a problem in the
so-called Western world. If you look at the investments from Cayman Islands in
the US alone, it is US$ 1.8 trillion. In addition, there is US$ 1.3 trillion
investments from Luxembourg in the US.
That is where the
monies are parked and reinvested. I think there is absolutely no substance in
that statement and we will not allow that to happen. The Financial Intelligence
Unit of the Finance Ministry is constantly monitoring these kinds of
transactions. So, there is no truth in that statement.
Q: The JVP and some others say the
Colombo Port City Economic Commission Bill would make the Port City a Chinese
colony. Your views?
A: I think they don’t want the country to
progress. This is just like some people did their politics over the past 20 to
25 years on the northern and eastern issue by using it as a ‘beggar’s wound’.
Some of these people know when the country progresses and achieves its true
potential and accelerate its economic growth that is the end of their so-called
divisive, backward, outdated policies and politics. So, naturally they need to
find a way to sabotage the whole progress of the nation and to create a ghost
out of nothing.
Q: Can you assure the Port City Bill doesn’t
contain anything which is detrimental to the Constitution or the existing law
in the country?
A: Actually, we have done more or less
similar to what we have in this country, Greater Colombo Economic Commission Law
No: 04 of 1978 through which we established these Free Trade Zones. This is a
progress of that and this is in line with many other special Financial Zones
all over the world.
There are thousands
of them. Unless, you give them some exemption and tax relief, no one is going
to come and invest here. They have so many reasons to invest in different
areas. So, that is the way we can actually attract investments. Sri Lanka
cannot move forward without foreign investment. The competition for investment
is high at present. Therefore, we decided to establish this Port City project
to get down more investors and fast track investments. Our main intention is to
bring in more Foreign Direct Investments to the country.
How do we address
the issue of constitutionality? We drafted the Port City Bill and gave it to
the Attorney General and he has given his opinion that this is constitutional.
Thereafter, the people can go to the Supreme Court and it will revive it. We
have taken the usual procedure which will be taken to enact a Bill. So, there
is nothing less or nothing more. Therefore, there is absolutely no reason for
us to unduly worry about it. If you remember, with regard to the 20th
Amendment, the Supreme Court on four areas said if you want to enact them, you
need to go to a referendum.
We took the advice
of the Supreme Court and dropped those four areas. Similarly, if the Supreme
Court by any chance gives us instruction that these particular areas of the
Bill would be problematic or unconstitutional, we will take that into
consideration and we will go ahead with it. But, personally speaking on the
basis of the Attorney General’s advice, I don’t see there is anything which is
unconstitutional in the Port City Bill.
Q: Is there any
truth in the Opposition claim that the Colombo Port City has been removed from
the purview of the Colombo Municipal Council?
A: Yes. That is correct. The whole idea is to
create a one stop shop which means like an event manager. Earlier, when
somebody had a wedding in the past, they had to go to different places and
somebody had to source the bridal, coat, band, venue and flower arrangements.
Today what most of them do is they go for a one stop shop or an event manager
and they provide you everything. That is how it is.
If you want to get
international investors to come and invest in your country, you can’t expect
them to go behind the local authorities, surveyors, electricity board,
environmental authority, central Government and other places for a hundred
days. So, all those things will be cumbersome. What we have done is that all
these laws will apply but that will be applied through the Commission not
individually. So, the idea is when someone comes as a busy world-class
investor, he will be given an efficient service which is on par with the others
or better than the others in the region. So, they have a reason to come. It is
just like an event manager or wedding planners’ job. For example, earlier we
had to go to vegetable vendors to buy vegetables, fish vendors to buy fish and
fair to buy coconuts. Do the people have time to do that now? They just walk
into a Supermarket under one roof or one stop shop and buy everything and
leave. This is also a similar kind of thing. I don’t understand as to why they
are so jealous and callous about the country’s progress.
Q: Government lawmakers have raised concern
on the recent controversial remarks by SLPP Parliamentarian Wijeyadasa
Rajapakshe on the Port City Bill. Will the SLPP resort to any disciplinary
action against him?
A: I also feel that he could have first
raised that issue within the party and discussed it before he publicly made
those comments to the media.
Q: Religious leaders on Wednesday had a
peaceful march demanding to expedite the ongoing investigations to bring the
masterminds of the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks without any further delay. Could
A: Actually, all the investigations are going
on. Now the extracts have been given to the Attorney General and he is reviving
them one by one to start filing the cases.
cannot get involved in filing the cases. It has to be done by the Attorney
General. So, he has got all the extracts and investigation notes and he is in
the process of preparing it. I don’t see any delay or lapse on the part of the
Government and the investigations are continuing.
Q: The health authorities have warned of
the emerging third wave of Covid-19 as the public disregard the health
guidelines especially during the Sinhala and Tamil New Year. Your views?
A: Of course, we know the numbers of Covid-19
cases has increased. So, this is a very crucial period. We don’t want to go for
a third wave because the entire world has suffered immensely through the third
wave. We have seen that in the USA, Europe and very pathetic situations in
India and Brazil. It is the duty of all concerned to strictly adhere to the
health guidelines and continue to exercise caution without getting into
unnecessary trouble. It will take a little bit of time for us to get over this.
There is a danger. But I think the way we have acted particularly during the
first wave with extreme caution, we can get over that.
எஸ்.எம்.எம்.பஷீர் “ எப்பொழுதும் உனது எதிரிகளை மன்னித்துவிடு , அதை விட அவர்களை அதிகம் தொந்தரவு செய்வது வேறொன்றுமில்லை ” ( ஒஸ்கார் வைல்ட் ) “Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.” ( Oscar Wilde ) " மறப்போம் மன்னிப்போம்" , எனினும் தமிழ் சொற்றொடர் பயன்பாட்டை அரசியலில் அறிமுகம் செய்த செய்தியை விடவும் , அதன் ஆங்கிலப் பிரயோகத்தை (Forget and Forgive) விடவும் மனித வரலாறு நெடுகிலும் மறக்கும் மன்னிக்கும் செயலே வரலாறாகி நிற்கிறது. அந்த நிகழ்வுகளில் ஒன்றாக தன்னோடு “ உஹத் ” எனப்படும் யுத்தத்தில் போரிட்டு மடிந்த தனது சிறிய தந்தை கொல்லப்பட்ட பொழுது அவரின் நெஞ்சைப் பிளந்து ஈரலைக் கையிலெடுத்து சப்பித் துப்பிய பெண்மணியான ஹிந்தா உட்பட தமது எதிரிகளான யுத்தக் கைதிகளை பின்னர் மக்காவை வெற்றி கொண்ட பொழுது , அவர்கள் தமக்கும் தம்மைச் சார்ந்தோருக்கும் இழைத்த அநீதிகளை மறந்து மன்னித்தவர் முஹம்மது நபி (ஸல்). உலகின் மிகப் பெரும் பழமை வாய்ந்த ரோமானிய சக்கரவர்த்தி மகா அலெக்சாண்டர் தொடக்கம் அண்மைக்கால தென் ஆப்ரிக்கா நெல்சன் மண்டேலா வரை வரலாற்று முக்கியத
எஸ்.எம்.எம்.பஷீர் “ ஒரு தவறு பல்கிப் பெருகுவதால் உண்மையாகி விடமுடியாது: யாரும் கண்டுகொள்ள முடியவில்லை எனபதற்காக ஒரு உண்மை தப்பாகிவிடமுடியாது. ” - மஹாத்மா காந்தி - “An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it.” - Mahathma Ghandi இளமையில் கல்வி சிலையில் எழுத்து என்று சொல்வர் எனக்கு பாடசாலையில் சமஸ்கிருதம் கற்பித்த தியாகராஜ குருக்கள் கற்பித்த பல சம்ஸ்கிருத சொற்களும் , வாக்கியங்களும் மனதில் இடம் பிடிக்க தவறிவிட்டன ஒரு பாடம் என்ற வகையில் மட்டுமே சொல்லவும் எழுதவும் நேரிட்டவைகள் அவை. , ஆனால் ஓரிரு சொற்கள் அல்லது வசனங்கள் மட்டும் மனதில் செதுக்கப்பட்டதுபோல் பதிந்துவிட்டன அவற்றில் பிரதானமானது எனது கட்டுரைத் தலைப்பான "சத்யமேவ ஜெயதே" எனும் "சத்தியமே வெல்லும்" என்ற அறம்சார் கோட்பாடாகும்.
" நீ என் எலும்புகளை நொறுக்கலாம் என் ஆத்மா வெல்லற்கரியது. நீ என் பார்வையைப் பறிக்கலாம் என் உள்ளுணர்வு உன்னால் கவர முடியாதது " பாலஸ்தீன பெண் கவிஞர் நஷீடா இஸ்ஸத் (மொழியாக்கம் : எஸ்.எம்.எம்.பஷீர் ஜூன் மாதம் 2 ஆம் திகதி கொழும்பு மருதானையிலுள்ள முஸ்லிம் மாதர் நிலைய கேட்போர் கூடத்தில் இடம்பெற்ற "வேர் அறுதலின் வலி" எனும் கவிதைத் தொகுப்பு நூல் வெளியீட்டு விழாவில் கலந்து கொள்ளும் அரிய சந்தர்ப்பம் எனக்கு கிடைத்தது , அங்கு கருத்துரையாற்றவும் ஏற்பாட்டுக் குழுவினர் சந்தர்ப்பம் வழங்கினர். அந்நிகழ்வில் வெளியிடப்பட்ட "வேர் ஆறுதலின் வலி " எனும் கவிதைத் திரட்டு நூல் பற்றிய எனது சிறு குறிப்பே இது.