"It is over a year since I was appointed State Minister of Skills Development and Vocational Training, yet, I have not been assigned any responsibilities nor have I received an area to handle. Therefore, I challenge the Minister of Skills Development and Vocational Training Mahinda Samarasinghe to openly tell me my responsibilities and duties at the ministry," said the State Minister of Skills Development and Vocational Training, Palitha Range Bandara speaking to Ceylon Today.
Columns News - RED CARPET
With the incidence of students consuming drugs and alcohol in schools seeing a gradual increase, the Ministry of Education has decided to take immediate action, said Renuka Pieris, Director of Education in charge of school nutrition and health services at the ministry. Speaking to Ceylon Today she said, that, after the committee to investigate the issue hands over the report to the ministry, that necessary action would be taken.
?: As a civil society organization are you satisfied how the current government is investigating corruption?
A: Actually we cannot be satisfied at all because at the moment, we cannot see any action taken against corrupt individuals but as a civil society movement after the government was elected we showed them the wrongdoers. We also raised our voice against them but the officials failed to take action.
We still have not decided whether to contest the upcoming Local Government Election, but if the dates are confirmed we will take an immediate decision, Politburo member of the Frontline Socialist Party, Pubudu Jagoda said in an
interview with Ceylon Today.
People want a change
Delaying the Local Government Election will not affect the Joint Opposition because the people have already decided to make a change and are with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, National Freedom Front (NFF) media spokesman Mohammed Muzammil told Ceylon Today.
Excerpts of the interview:
Our party wants the Local Government (LG) Elections to be held soon without delaying it until June 2017, United National Party (UNP) MP Nalin Bandara Jayamaha told Ceylon Today.
Excerpts of the interview:
"We have received information that government will go for a referendum by January or February next year to pass a new Constitution beneficial to leaders such as R. Sampanthan of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA). The Joint Opposition challenges the government to go for a referendum and they will defeat the new Constitution with the support of the people." Leader of the National Freedom Front (NFF) MP Wimal Weerawansa said in an interview with Ceylon Today.
The Value Added Tax (VAT) Amendment Bill will be implemented for nine months; to collect revenue and to pay off the loans taken by the previous regime, State Minister of Finance Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena told Ceylon Today.
Following are excerpts of interview:
?:Are you content in your role as State Minister of Finance?
A: Yes I am content, because as the State Minister of Finance my responsibilities are clear and as a politician who entered Parliament in 1994, this is a big achievement. Also, I have to say that by 2004, I was appointed the Minister of Foreign Employment. Currently as a non- Cabinet minister, I have done my work very well; and I will continue my work for the betterment of the country.
Democratic Left Front (DLF) Leader MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara alleged that the Sri Lankan High Commissioner in Malaysia Ibrahim Ansar came under attack recently, because the Ambassador, defying orders from Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, gave special attention and escorted former President Mahinda Rajapaksa during his visit to Malaysia.
Minister Mangala Samaraweera has informed ambassadors and high commissioners not to support or give attention to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa during his overseas events, Vasudeva further elaborated in an interview with Ceylon Today.
Tasked with reviving the cashew industry to the profitable state it was once, Chairman of the Cashew Corporation Damsiri Bandara Karunaratne shared his thoughts with Ceylon Today, and said in an interview that the Cashew Corporation could definitely be transformed into a profit making entity once the cashew plantations in the war torn areas are brought under the corporation's purview.
Excerpts of the interview:
Chairman of the National Youth Front (NYF), MP Kavinda Heshan Jayawardena, who is also the son of late Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena, believes his biggest challenge is to provide youth with job opportunities.
?The VAT Amendment Bill was stopped, now what is the stance of the government?
A: The VAT Amendment was stopped because of the Supreme Court decision. A minister of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) who is also a part of the unity government revised the VAT Amendment and accordingly we voted in support of the Amendment.
The government wanted to implement a people beneficial VAT system for our country, because of the damage to the economy by the previous regime had a negative effect on the current government.
Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Gampaha District MP, Prasanna Ranaweera, who is faced with an accident fiasco during the Jana Satana Pada Yathra, said he acted completely in accordance with the law of the country, and that the rider who collided with his vehicle did so while trying to overtake from the wrong side. In an interview with Ceylon Today, the MP also said the government would understand the impact of the Pada Yathra and was also hopeful that will think twice before taking decisions that would affect the general public. Excerpts of the interview:
The tea industry has to supply new products and be innovative in order to overcome the major losses, Deputy Minister of Plantation Industries Lakshman Wasantha Perera told Ceylon Today.
Excerpts of the interview:
The United National Party (UNP) does not want the support of the Joint Opposition to make the UNP powerful. "We will keep the 8 January mandate as it is," Rural Economic Affairs Minister P. Harrison told Ceylon Today.
Nearly 74 individuals in the National Government have ongoing investigations but individuals from the pro Rajapaksa faction are being arrested on false allegations, charged Thushara Dissanayake Propaganda Secretary of the Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU).
Excerpts of the interview:
The government should closely work with the private sector which is beneficial to the people and the country, the Minister of Skills Development and Vocational Training, Mahinda Samarasinghe said in an interview with Ceylon Today.
Shaveen Bandaranayake, who came to political prominence backing the change of regimes in 2015 and attempted to make a difference through his election campaign at last General Election, says he has no regrets whatsoever. He still believes that people could work for people if the genuine need is there and does not necessarily have to hold political power.
The Yahapalana government of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe came under severe criticism for its delay in taking action against the alleged corrupt individuals in the previous regime. The recent move to appoint Anusha Pelpita, former chairman of Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC) who is facing a legal battle against fraudulent deals, as an additional Secretary to the Ministry of Home Affairs, has now come under scathing attack by the civil society movements which played a major role in electing the government into power.
Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, Wayamba Development and Cultural Affairs Minister, Palitha Thewarapperuma never fails to make headlines, be it in Parliament or in his electoral district Kalutara. He probably is the favourite when it comes to controversies as he often ends up in brawls with his opponents or is engaged in protests; suspended from Parliament for a week over unparliamentary behaviour, he once again made headlines for picketing in front of a national school and forcing the Principal of the school to admit a student to the school. Ceylon Today contacted the Minister to ask as to what really took place.
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