20A proponents will protest in the future – Wiggy
By Gagani Weerakoon and Methmalie Dissanayake
Jaffna District Thamizh Makkal Thesiya Kootani (TMTK) Parliamentarian C.V. Wigneswaran, predicted in Parliament on 21 October, that those very same persons who were working hard to bring the 20th Amendment, and all those who support it today, would surely take to the streets tomorrow to fight for the abolition of the same Amendment.
Participating in the second reading stage debate on the Amendment, MP Wigneswaran said: “This Amendment you bring today will have a boomerang effect on you, your children, and the future generations of your family. Please do not prick your eyes with your own fingers. My dear colleagues from both sides; please do not allow this 20th Amendment to be passed with a two-thirds majority.”
He said it was so unfortunate that every Party which had come to power legislated to further the self-interests of that Party, its members and supporters, forgetting their duty towards all people and the country as a whole. “Those who aspire to become like former Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew should shed their partisan predilections if they are to progress. Yew did not pursue a Chinese-Buddhist path. He loved every Singaporean of whatever hue he or she was. Branding the minorities as terrorists might bring votes from the majority, but it would not help to take the country forward. There would certainly be geopolitical and international reactions.
It is in furtherance of their attitude of self-interest that those in power are today bringing in this 20th Amendment to clothe a single individual with enormous powers. This would for sure sound the death knell to democracy and human rights. The world civilisation, in its onward march, searches for ways and means to improve democratic principles and work towards human rights, equality and reconciliation among contending factions, locally and internationally. At this juncture, it is funny that we in Sri Lanka want to denigrate democracy and desecrate the decent dimensions in a democratic way of life,” he said. “For over 20 years, we have been talking of bringing in a Constitution which would reconcile the ethnic differences among communities and lead the country forward. For over quarter of a century, we have been promising to abolish the Executive Presidency. Nothing has been done so far in that regard. But this Government is making the 21 April 2019, Easter Sunday Bombings, as a convenient excuse for them to bring this 20th Amendment. They are trying to say that it was the lowering of Presidential powers by the 19th Amendment which gave rise to the 21 April 2019 tragedy.
Hence, they say that the President must have unfettered powers. It certainly sounds humorous to say that a criminal or thief could only be caught or arrested if the President is clothed with extraordinary powers? The real cause for the 21 April 2019 incident was the carelessness and indifference of the security arm of the law, which has been politicised in recent times. If the Judiciary, the Police and public service had been allowed to function independently, we would not have witnessed the 21 April 2019 tragedy. Most countries do not have an Executive Presidential system.
Do those countries always have security lapses? Or have countries that have this system never had security lapses? Therefore, it is time we thought prudently and pragmatically and got rid of the Executive Presidential system and make the rule of law supreme,” he said.