Vasudeva Nanayakkara urges move towards socialism

  • Urges Opposition to tread ‘socialist’ path
  • Cites Chinese Communist Party example

BY Pamodi Waravita

Defending President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s decision last week to declare emergency regulations under Section 2 (5) of the Public Security Ordinance concerning essential items, Water Supply Minister and Democratic Left Front Leader Vasudeva Nanayakkara yesterday (6) said in Parliament that the country should move towards a socialist economy.

“Although China has a population of over a billion people, it does not have a food-related emergency. This is because the Chinese Government intervenes in its economy to ensure that their citizens face no shortage of essential goods and services. They have a market as well but the market is under the Government. They regulate their market. I recommend that you read the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) documents, released on its recent anniversary, and get ready to travel the road to socialism,” Nanayakkara told Opposition parliamentarians.

Nanayakkara quoted former Minister and Parliamentarian Philip Gunawardena who had, when he was in the Opposition, told the then ruling party to invoke emergency regulations when the country faces a grave crisis as it is also part of the democratic process.

“I ask you today, is this not a grave crisis? Have we not seen businessmen profiting in the millions by hiding stocks of food while the price of food is increasing. The Opposition is claiming that these regulations will take power away from the Parliament. However, these regulations have to be approved monthly in Parliament. How is this outside of the parliamentary process and power then?” questioned Nanayakkara.

The Proclamation of Emergency Regulations for the Provision of Essential Food Items was passed in Parliament yesterday, with 132 votes in favour of it and 51 votes against it.

During the debate, Nanayakkara added that the implementation of Emergency Regulations is merely a response to the concerns of the public, and queried as to why various parties are asking for these regulations to be approved by the Judiciary.

“Why take expensive lawyers and go to court and waste time? People cannot bear the burden of the rising cost of food while we go to courts.”

The relevant gazette notification was issued by President’s Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera on 30 August and subsequently Maj. Gen. M.S.P. Nivunhella was appointed as the new Commissioner General of Essential Services. He will oversee and co-ordinate the distribution of consumer goods essential for daily needs including paddy, rice, and sugar. The President’s Media Division, in a media release, stated that this was done so that the authorised officers could act and recover the loans given by the state banks for the purchase of stocks from the borrowers.

The Samagi Jana Balawegeya (SJB), Illankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) MP and Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Spokesman and President’s Counsel (PC) M.A. Sumanthiran, and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) stated last week that the declaration of the Emergency Regulations relating to the provision of essential foods by President Rajapaksa was an unwarranted act and could lead to a state of repression in the country.