Minority parties in grave danger, claims Bathiudeen

Friday, 10 January 2020 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

 ACMC Leader MP Rishad Bathiudeen 


  • Says danger of end to reconciliation achieved through hard work
  • But praises President’s efforts to reduce cost of living

The All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) declared that any constitutional amendments to remove minority parties from Parliament were anti-democratic, adding that “there’s a danger of an end to reconciliation achieved through hard work over a long period of time”. 

“We are disturbed by the new Government’s intentions to side-line minority parties by amending the Constitution,” said ACMC Leader and Vanni District MP Rishad Bathiudeen, while addressing Parliament on Wednesday.

“There is a need to amend the Constitution and the ACMC also supports a stronger Constitution for Sri Lanka, which respects everyone’s social and political rights. However, the President’s intention to amend the Constitution appears to be aimed at reducing the power of minority political parties. The minority parties of a country represent the voice of all minorities including ethnic, political and other representations,” said Bathiudeen. 

“These parties grow into being since major political parties do not have political space for their soft voices. Our party, the ACMC, is one such party among many parties and Sri Lankan minority communities have these small parties as their only voice in Parliament. These minority parties played a major role in bringing militant youth back to democracy. For example, the JVP and some Tamil parties worked to bring militant youth back to democracy and today they are successful public representatives and MPs. Also, some minority parties voice the issues of various communities. If these parties, including our ACMC, are thrown out, I would like to ask where do we go? Even though the ACMC is a minority party, even though we have elected MPs in provincial and smaller councils representing all communities including the Sinhalese Buddhists. Among our provincial MPs were Sinhalese Buddhist, Tamil Hindu and Tamil Catholic MPs. What is the expectation of the President when he tries to silence our voices in this way? Aren’t the possible outcomes for Sri Lanka’s ethnic harmony and reconciliation from such dangerous and undemocratic acts not clear?” he added.

However, Bathiudeen welcomed the President’s efforts to reduce the cost of living. 

“We welcome President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s actions to reduce the cost of living and reduce many taxes to restart the business sector which was slowing down, especially SMEs and microbusinesses. We also welcome the President’s statement in his 3 January inauguration speech when he said the benefits of development should reach every group of people,” Bathiudeen said.