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Debate on SAITM issue postponed

Parliament adjourned yesterday at 4 pm and sittings fixed for today as Joint Opposition Parliamentary Group Leader Dinesh Gunawardena was not in the House to move the adjournment motion on the Issue of SAITM and the clash took place on Wednesday.

The government had agreed to allow the Joint Opposition to move an adjournment motion on the matter since MP Dinesh Gunawardena requested the government since the matter has become a matter of national importance as the GMOA has launched a strike. He said the Joint Opposition members discussed the matter on Wednesday evening and needed to debate the matter in Parliament.

"The students who went to the Health Ministry on the public day were assaulted and many of them were hospitalised," MP Gunawardena said. "The GMOA has launched a strike and those except for the Dengue patients are not being treated in hospitals," he said.

He said the matter affect around 8,000 medical students in the country and it was a national issue. "So we need a debate on the matter," MP Gunawardena said.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said he had been informed earlier of the motion.

Leader of the House and Highways and Higher Education Minister Lakshman Kiriella said the government was ready give an adjournment motion at 5.30 pm yesterday itself.

When MP Gunawardena said the House could be adjourned at 4.30 pm to give more time for the matter which is of great importance to the country, Parliament agreed to adjourn the sittings at 4.30 pm to give more time for the adjournment motion.

The debate on the Notification under the Excise Ordinance came to an end at 4 pm and presiding member Ananda Kumarasiri called to move the adjournment motion. As the member to move the adjournment motion was not present in the House, sittings postponed for today.

Anura Kumara points out conflict of interest:

Aligayawanna called on to step down from one of his portfolios

There is a conflict of interest in Finance and Mass Media Deputy Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna holding the Chairmanship of Committee on Public Accounts, Chief Opposition Whip and JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said.

Speaking at the debate in Parliament yesterday he requested Alagiyawanna to step down from either of his portfolios. He said there were clear discrepancies in the Finance Ministry records and he called on the COPA to look into the Ministry records, particularly the 2016 annual report.

MP Dissanayake demanded Alagiyawanna to decide between the two portfolios as it was a conflict of interest to hold both. The MP said the National Lotteries Board Act clearly indicates that it should be under the Finance Ministry, and therefore handing it over to the Foreign Ministry without amending the Act is a clear violation of the law.

He requested the attention of the President and the Prime Minister to the matter.

COPA report No. 2 to be presented today

The Committee on Public Accounts (COPA) will present its second report to Parliament today.

It comprises findings on 31 public institutions including three special investigations carried out between May and October, 2016.

On behalf of the Committee, its Chairman Lasantha Alagiyawanna will table the report at the commencement of sittings today. The COPA presented its first report to the 8th Parliament in September last year. (Daily News)

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