Several parties in the opposition yesterday (24) agreed to function as a collective force against arbitrary and anti-democratic acts by the government.
Opposition leader Sajith Premadasa chaired a meeting by these parties at the parliamentary complex, where they discussed a common programme.
MPs of the JVP did not attend.
Speaking on the occasion, Premadasa said the country should earn the best through a dialogue with the international community.
He called for combined measures against most draft acts of law, including the anti-terrorism act that violate human and democratic rights.
He asked that a committee comprising Prof. G.L. Peiris, Rauff Hakeem, Mano Ganesan, Lakshman Kiriella, Imitiaz Bakeer Marker, Chandima Weerakkody, Nalaka Godahewa, Weerasumana Weerasinghe, Gajendra Ponnambalam, Dayasiri Jayasekara and Gevindu Kumaratunga be appointed to prepare an alternative for the ATA and the PTA.
Dullas Alahapperuma requested action along the lines of legal, national, social and international levels.
All in the opposition would unite against the resolution on the IMF fund facility and the ATA, said Dayasiri Jayasekara.
Prof. Peiris warned that even the EU would oppose Sri Lanka if the ATA became law.
MPs Kiriella, Ganesan, Ponnambalam, Hakeem, Weerakkody, Kumaratunga and Udaya Gammanpila too, made remarks critical of the proposed act.
Bakeer Marker has been unanimously appointed convener of this collective of opposition parties and also given the task of raising awareness in the media about the anti-democratic acts planned by the government.
Nothing prevents filing of X-Press Pearl compensation case in local court - CENS
Sri Lanka’s international obligations do not prevent the filing of the case to seek compensation from the X-Press Pearl maritime disaster in a local court, said the Centre for Environment and Nature Studies (CENS).
CENS coordinator Ravindra Kariyawasam accused the government of intentionally delaying the filing of the compensation case to seek an estimated 6.2 billion US dollars in damages.
Taking the matter to a court in Singapore is unnecessary, unprofitable and suspicious, he said.
The CENS coordinator urged speedy legal action in a local court with all parties extending the maximum support.
The assistance of the International Maritime Organization and the Convention on Biological Diversity can be obtained as well, he said.
Kariyawasam raised justice minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe’s serious claim that a powerful politician had received a 250 million US dollar bribe to prevent court action.
Either the minister or the government should reveal the identity of that bribe-taker, said Kariyawasam.
The government of Singapore and the owner of the ship that caught fire and sank with toxic chemicals in Sri Lankan waters on May 19, 2021 should take full responsibility and restore the grave harm caused to the environment, he said.