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House ought to pass new constitution, seek people’s approval at referendum: Sampanthan responds to Mahinda

Sampanthan R 700 02

Tamil National Alliance Leader R.Sampanthan has stated that the new constitution must be passed in Parliament and taken before the people at a referendum and the people would decide whether it should become the supreme law of the country or not, and one does not need a general election for that.

He made this observation addressing the Constitutional Assembly responding to Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa’s call to hold a general election to decide on the new constitution.

During his passionate appeal for a new constitution to all parties, Sampanthan said:

“Framing of a Constitution is a sacred duty. A resolution was passed in parliament converting parliament into a constitutional assembly to enable a constitution to be framed, a steering and they had deliberated and all parties had participated in the deliberations before the steering committee and the sub-committees.

The objections that have been raised today were never raised before any one of those committees and now we have come to a stage where after almost three years of deliberations certain reports have been submitted to the house to decide what further needs to be done.

I feel that it should be approached with a certain amount of sanctity and seriousness and not flippantly. Muslims, Burgher or any community, all Sri Lankans have a right of their motherland. All are equal citizens of this country. We should be united in our approach.

We have failed to protect unity in diversity and to create a common Sri Lankan identity. It is our intention to unite people through this Constitution.
Some call themselves patriots. I think that they are pseudo-patriots. They work for votes and to secure a majority. There had been a nexus between pseudo-patriotism and corruption. The country has become poor thanks to their conduct. They say they work for the people but they use racism as a tool to mobilise people. I am sorry to observe that some of the submissions made this morning by the opposition have been flippant, lacking in seriousness lacking in sanctity in keeping with the fact that we are endeavouring to promulgate a new constitution for the country which has been long called for.

Sri Lanka is a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual multi-religious and multi-cultural pluralistic society. Different races and religions live in this country and have lived for centuries and generations. We need to keep them united and all the people living in the country, irrespective of who they are, be it Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslims or Burghers, must have a sense of belonging to this country and that this country belongs to them and that they are one people. There must be unity in diversity. That is the objective in framing this constitution, to unite the people and bring them together, which we have not been able to do until now. We have not been able to constitute a Sri Lankan nation. For the reason that we have been divided, we have been dis-united.

This constitution is intended to unite the people, to bring them together and enable them to feel that they all belong to one country and that the country belongs to them. There were certain other advantages, apart from unifying and bringing the people together, which could be achieved under the new constitution through power sharing arrangements.

At the regional and provincial level, governance is not visible. Governance has to be more visible because then people can see what is happening. As a result of all power being kept in Colombo there is a great deal of waste and corruption, all of which can be eliminated if power is exercised at the regional and provincial level.
There are people in this country who think they are patriotic, but I don’t think they are patriots. They are pseudo patriots who arouse chauvinism amongst the majority people to continue to be in power. It is my view that there is a symbiotic relationship between pseudo patriotism and corruption. People who have been downright corrupt when they were in power and have swindled this country. This country has been impoverished by their actions and how can such persons be patriots? How can such persons be those who advocate something really good for the country? To them, patriotism is a shield for corruption,"





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