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Poverty level will increase sharply in coming months – Ranawaka

By Saman Indrajith

The poverty level in the country would increase sharply in the coming months and then no one will be able to stop a people’s uprising, MP Patali Champika Ranawaka said in Parliament on Thursday.

“We need to establish a local mechanism to address human rights concerns. We have been saying this for some time. The lack of such a mechanism allows other countries to intervene in Sri Lanka,” Ranawaka said.

Ranawaka added that the levels of unemployment and poverty were alarming. The construction sector had collapsed, and a large number of engineers had no option but to leave Sri Lanka.

SLPP MP Prof. G.L Peiris said that Sri Lanka needed to address widespread corruption before it receives meaningful aid from foreign nations.

“The World Bank has recently said that when it gives aid and loans to Sri Lanka in the future, it will do the auditing itself. We really need to put an end to large-scale corruption. Recently, the government appointed a large number of state ministers. The government should not have done this when we are going through a severe crisis,” he said.

Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) MP Sarath Fonseka said that the government was trying to push through a constitutional amendment. This is not the need of the hour, he said.

“First, we should do something about the corruption that prevails in the country. Politicians are stealing and sucking the country dry. This has led to an explosion in poverty,” he said. There is no point in abolishing the executive presidency unless corrupt politicians are chased away from Parliament, Fonseka said.

“Let’s say we abolish the executive presidency this week. Who will be in charge then? A bunch of corrupt fat cats will take charge. There was a massive upheaval in the country months ago. Most government MPs don’t care. We convene Parliament at a great cost to listen to Ministers whine about their personal suffering. People must chase these people away,” he said.Fonseka said that a government MP had said that protesting university students must be rehabilitated.

“This is a man who is behind fuel and coal deals. We must rehabilitate these crooks in Parliament. First, get rid of the crooks. If the President does this, we will support him,” Fonseka said.

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