Category Archives: Press & News

Rishad, ex-Muslim MPs petition Sri Lanka Supreme Court

Leader of Sri Lanka’s All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC-and former MP) Rishad Bathiudeen joined by several former MPs has filed a Fundamental Rights Petition in the Supreme Court on 14 May, citing country’s top health officials as respondents. ACMC Leader Bathiudeen is challenging the rules followed to dispose the bodies of suspected Muslim victims of COVID19, which he alleges is done contrary to the method practiced by followers of Islamic Faith.

ACMC warns Sri Lanka minority parties in grave danger’

The All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) warned that any constitutional amendments to remove minority parties from the Parliament are anti-democratic adding that ‘there’s a danger to end of reconciliation achieved by hard work over a period of time’. “We are disturbed of new government’s intentions to side-line minority parties by amending the constitution” said the Leader of ACMC, Vanni District MP Rishad Bathiudeen. ACMC Leader Bathiudeen was addressing the Parliament on 8 January.

“There is a need to amend the constitution and ACMC also supports a stronger constitution for Sri Lanka that respects everyone’s social and political rights. However, (HE) President’s intention, to amend the constitution appears to be aimed at reducing the power of minority political parties among others. Minority parties of a country represent the voice of all minorities including ethnic, political and other representations” said Bathiudeen MP and added: “These parties grow in to being since major political parties do not have “political space” for their weak voices. Our party 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. There is no doubt that if the minorities are thrown out, ethnic harmony and reconciliation achieved from hard work over a period of time, would meet a sad end. If these parties including our ACMC are thrown out, I would like to ask that where are we to go? Even though ACMC is a minority party, even we have elected MPs in Provincial and smaller councils representing all communities including Sinhala Buddhists.  Among our Provincial MPs were Sinhalese Buddhist, a Tamil Hindu MP and a Tamil Catholic MPs. What is the expectation of the President when he tries to close our voices in this way? Is it not clear of the possible dangerous outcomes for Sri Lanka’s ethnic harmony and reconciliation from such dangerous and undemocratic acts?”

Bathiudeen MP also welcomed HE President’s efforts to reduce the cost of living. “We welcome President Gotabaya Rajapakse’s  actions  to reduce the cost of living and reducing many taxes to re-start the business sector which was slowing down, especially the SME and micro businesses. We also welcome President’s statement in his January 3 throne speech that said “the benefits of development should reach every group of people.”

Sri Lanka Muslim leader says lack of Muslim Ministers in new Govt ‘just fine’

Lack of any Muslim Ministers in Sri Lanka’s new Cabinet is just fine, said a leading Sri Lankan Muslim political party chief on 6 December. Rishad Bathiudeen, the prominent Muslim political leader –MP, leader of ACMC and also a leading Cabinet Minister of the former government-said that the new government takes all people as “Sri Lankans”. “They won with a majority. They can appoint the Cabinet as they want-that’s their right. If they see us too as Sri Lankans and if they treat us equally, that is enough for us” said ACMC Leader Bathiudeen who was addressing his press briefing for Colombo based foreign correspondents on 6 December.

ACMC Leader Bathiudeen also voiced his grave concerns on increasing political mud-slinging against him on such charged issues as the Wilpattu and Easter Sunday bombings. “They used terrorist leader Sahran’s incident to create anti-Muslim fear among the voters of the majority community and won the Presidential election. They cannot politically market Sahran again in the forthcoming general elections. Therefore they need a new target. That is us, Muslim leaders-mainly I and leader of SLMC Rauff Hakeem. However, this is very wrong. Both I and Hakeem are democratically elected Muslim political leaders and not in any way similar to Sahran” Bathiudeen said. “I have been pointed out as a person who destroyed Wilpattu. I did  not destroy any parts of Wilpattu Forest Reserve by abusing my powers. In 2009, the Muslim refugees displaced in 1990 received the opportunity to re-settle in their original lands. Then, Easter Sunday attacks-once we resigned as Muslim Ministers just after Easter Sunday attacks, Police, and CID investigations were conducted, to find out whether I too had links. In fact, I also openly called to investigate me if the officials suspected I had links with terrorist Sahran. The CID gave one week time to file complaints against me, which all media reported. The IGP appointed three teams on this led by ASPs. Official investigations finally proved that there had not been any links between me and the Easter Sunday terrorists, and this was informed to Speaker as well. There are false accusations on me about refugees living in Puttalam travelling to Mannar to vote at the Presidential Elections. Even though they are living in Puttalam, their voter registration is in Mannar, and they urged  Prime Minister to register them properly to vote. I asked permission from Finance Ministry whether I can arrange transport to them from Puttalam to Mannar on government CTB buses, which was approved. Nothern Displaced Refugees Forum also at the same time asked for permission, made a request to our Ministry, to make the same arrangement. This organization collected the bus fares, and properly re-paid the amount to our Ministry. There are no pending payments, to our Ministry or to the government, since all costs were paid back. If this transport did not take place, 12000 voters would have been unable to vote. You may ask why should the government pay for this type of expense. It is the government, that should always help its citizens to exercise their voting rights. In this case, we with the Nothern Displaced Refugees Forum have taken all the costs of this activity with no burden to the Sri Lankan public or the government. I am very sad of these accusations since I am targeted as a minority political leader. This is the reason I insist they publicly harass me and my community towards a very unpleasant situation, very possibly ahead of forthcoming elections. They are clearly attempting to create a communal riot in our country in this manner. It is also important to see that they behave in this way when a new President is in place in our country, that means they do not have any respect for the new President or his high office. Therefore I urgently call for the attention of HE the President Gotabaya Rajapakse on this dangerous trend.”

ACMC Leader Bathiudeen was Sri Lanka’s former Minister of Industry, Commerce, Resettlement of Protracted Displaced Persons, Cooperative Development, Skills Development & Vocational Training till November 21.

ACMC Special Statement

SPECIAL STATEMENT  

I, with the All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) and its supporters, congratulate HE the seventh Executive President of Democratic Republic of Sri Lanka Gotabaya Rajapaksa on his winning mandate.

My special thanks also go to all those who supported the NDF candidate Mr Sajith Premadasa, as well as all voters who turned out to cast their votes on 16 November.

Our firm belief is that the new President shall discharge his functions upholding the unity, goodwill, reconciliation, trust and security of all ethnicities of Sri Lanka equally.

We sincerely wish for abundant strength and aptitude for the new President to unitedly and collectively face emerging challenges to Sri Lanka and also to move forward with his vision.

[SIGNED] Rishad Bathiudeen (M.P.)

Leader, All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC)

No increase allowed in wheat flour price

The price of wheat flour has not been changed or revised-and any retailer selling flour at an increased price will be raided. “Increasing wheat flour prices at a critical time like this, where the country is preparing for a critical election is clearly conspiratorial and part of a plot to discredit the government. Any supplier responsible for such a price hike without our permission does it illegally and will therefore face legal consequences irrespective of their status or standing in the market” warned the Minister of Industry, Commerce, Resettlement of Protracted Displaced Persons, Cooperative Development, Skills Development & Vocational Training Rishad Bathiudeen on 15 November. 

Minister Bathiudeen was responding to some news reports on 15 November on a unilateral wheat flour price increase by a supplier without CAA’s approval. Minister Bathiudeen has instructed the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) on November 15 to raid errant retailers who violate flour prices and push consumers into a difficult situation. Violators guilty of this offence can be fined or imprisoned under Section 60 of Act No 9 of 2003. If the violator is not a company/firm but a person then the fine is between 5000 -50000 or one year imprisonment in the first offence, and any subsequent offence (by the person) Rs 10000-100,000 fine or a maximum of two year imprisonment or both punishments.

If the violator is a company/firm and NOT a person then in the first instance of violation/offence, a fine of Rs 50,000-1000,000 or a maximum of two year imprisonment, and any subsequent offence a fine of Rs 100,000-2,000,000.

Consumer complaint hotlines of CAA are 0117755481-3 and 1977.

තිරිඟු පිටි මිළ වැඩි කර නෑ

තිරිගු පිටි අතවශ්‍ය භාණ්ඩයක් වන අතර පාරිභෝගික කටයුතු පිළිබද අධිකාරියේ ලිඛිත අනුමැතියකින් තොරව මිල  වැඩිකිරීම   නීතිවිරෝධී වේ.

අධිකාරියේ අනුමැතියකින් තොරව වැඩිමිලට තිරිගුපිටි අලෙවිකරණ වෙළදුන් වටලා කිසිදු තරාතිරමක් නොබලා වහාම පාරිභෝගික කටයුතු පිළිබද පනත ප්‍රකාරව නීතිමය පියවර ගන්න ලෙස විෂය භාර අමාත්‍ය රිෂාඩ් බදුයුදීන් විසින් පාරිභෝගික කටයුතු පිළිබද අධිකාරිය වෙත නියෝග කර ඇත.

මේ අනුව පාරිභෝගික කටයුතු පිළිබද අධිකාරිය නියමකර ඇති මිල කිලෝව රු 87.00 ට වඩා වැඩිමිලට තිරිගුපිටි අලෙවිකරනු ලබන සියලුම වෙළදුන් වැටලීම් කර ඔවුන්ට එරෙහිව වහාම  නීතිමය කටයුතු සිදුකිරීමට සියළු නිලධාරින්ට උපදෙස් ලබාදී ඇත.

15/11/2019

ACMC warns organised vote buying planned against Sajith Premadasa

The All Ceylon MakkalCongress (ACMC) blew an election fraud whistle on 8 November saying that fraudulent vote buying with cash is being planned. ACMC also cautioned voters to not to ‘sell their votes for a few extra rupees.’

“We have been informed that in the coming days organised vote buying will take place in Mannar area to defeat Sajith Premadasa and us. Do not be deceived by a few extra rupees” said the Leader of ACMC, Vanni District MP Rishad Bathiudeen. ACMC Leader and Minister of Industry, Commerce, Resettlement of Protracted Displaced Persons, Cooperative Development, Skills Development & Vocational Training Bathiudeen, joined by NDF Presidential Candidate Sajit Premadasa and Leader of SLMC Rauff Hakeem, was addressing the 117th  NDF rally in support of NDF candidate Sajith premadaasa held at Mannar Sports Grounds on 8 November. A large crowd gathered to witness the 8 November NDF rally in Mannar. The ACMC has pledged its support to Presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa of the UNP led New Democratic Front (NDF) alliance in the forthcoming Presidential election.

“The forthcoming Presidential Election is not a regular Presidential Election but one that will be very decisive for Sri Lanka’s future. The ‘freedom’ or ‘slavery’ of Sri Lankan minority communities will be decided based on the outcome of this election” said ACMC Leader Bathiudeen and added: “Therefore your vote needs to be cast very carefully. It is very important that we should be united. The Tamil speaking parties and minority parties are united is their support for NDF candidate Sajith Premadas in order to safeguard them against an oppressive tyranny that will enslave them. Our effort is to stand together to preserve our human dignity and stand against oppression of minorities of our own country. The forces that attacked minorities, minority leadership, minority businesses and trade and wanted anarchy here since the end of war have now banded together with the opposition Presidential candidate to enslave us. They are getting together with a view of enslaving the minorities. These racist elements should be defeated. Therefore your duty in this is to vote for Sajith Premadasa on 16 November. Offer your prayers first on 16 November morning then be at the polling booth by 7am to cast your vote for Sajith Premadasa. Do not neglect or ignore your voting power. This challenge is not about two opposition Presidential candidates but about anarchy in our country and enslaving of minorities versus Sri Lanka’s democracy and justice. We should emerge from this challenge safeguarding our livelihoods, economy, our rights-this is our own country and we should not let anyone enslave us in our own country. The way to defeat such racist forces is to stand united as minorities. We should show that the minority voice needs to be respected when choosing the President of our country. We have been informed that in the coming days organised vote buying will take place in Mannar area to defeat Sajith Premadasa and us. Some wealthy persons in this area are preparing to hand out cash to buy your votes in favour of opposition candidate. Do not be deceived by a few extra rupees and do not sell your votes but cast your vote to bring the largest number of votes from Mannar for Sajit Premadasa’s win.”

Vote buying is illegal and a fraudulent practice in Sri Lanka. Section 66.(d) of Presidential Elections Act No. 15 of 1981 stipulates that any person “who sells or offers to sell any ballot paper to any person or purchases or offers” shall be guilty of “an offence and on conviction by the High Court, be liable to imprisonment of either description for a term not exceeding two years and shall, by conviction, become incapable, for a period of seven years from the date of his conviction, of being registered as an elector or of voting at an election…”

Sri Lanka’s first state run consumer Loyalty Card launched tomorrow

Sri Lanka’s first state run FMCG Loyalty Card will be launched on 8 November. The largest retail supermarket chain in the country, Lanka Sathosa Ltd (LSL) is embarking on this major initiative to expand its customer base while meeting the competition. “Our work is aimed at giving the best to the local consumer while facing competition” said Sri Lanka’s Minister of Industry, Commerce, Resettlement of Protracted Displaced Persons, Cooperative Development, Skills Development & Vocational Training Rishad Bathiudeen on 5 November in Colombo. Minister Bathiudeen, under whom Lanka Sathosa functions, was in discussion with his officials at the Ministry in Colombo 3 ahead of the launch event of the LSL “Abhimana” loyalty card on 8 November in Battaramulla.

“Lanka Sathosa Limited (LSL) expanded its island-wide branch network to 423 and has become the largest supermarket chain in Sri Lanka today. LSL Loyalty Card holders will be able to use the card in any branch, with many benefits including discounts from the 423 outlets” said Minister Bathiudeen and added: “The “Abhimana” card is Sri Lanka’s first ever government owned Consumer Loyalty Card in FMCG sector and I commend Lanka Sathosa staff, its sales and marketing teams for their work on it.”

A nominal subscription fee is to be levied when the Abhimana Card is first issued to the consumer while it is to be issued free of charge to pensioners, government employees, and the military personnel.

ACMC hails Sri Lanka Tamil embrace of Sajit

The All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) hailed the decision by Sri Lanka’s leading Tamil coalition to back New Democratic Front (NDF) candidate Sajit Premadasa in the forthcoming Presidential election.

“I praise Tamil National Alliance’ decision to support NDF candidate Sajit Premadasa in the Presidential election. Their unconditional support is good news and it makes us very happy” said the Leader of ACMC, Vanni District MP Rishad Bathiudeen. ACMC Leader and Minister of Industry, Commerce, Resettlement of Protracted Displaced Persons, Cooperative Development, Skills Development & Vocational Training Bathiudeen was addressing a pre-election rally in support of NDF Presidential candidate Sajit Premadasa in Salambakulam, Vavuniya on 3 November. Addressing the Salambakulam meeting ACMC Leader Bathiudeen reminded that Sri Lankan minorities were united during 2015 Presidential elections too. “Tamils and Muslims supported the Common Candidate Maithripala Sirisena in the 2015 Presidential election and got him elected as the President. The minorities are uniting this time to elect Sajit Premadasa and Sajit will be the winner this time” said ACMC Leader Bathiudeen and added: “The majority of the Sri Lankan minorities now support Sajit Premadasa.”  

Speaking on the opposition, Bathiudeen MP said: “The racists within the opposition Presidential Candidate’s camp will be silenced once Sajit wins this election. They harassed our Muslims after Easter Sunday attacks to fan the flames of communalism within the majority community so that their votes would increase within the majority, thereby returning them to power” ACMC Leader cautioned: “If the opposition Presidential Candidate wins and returns to power, the minorities of Sri Lanka should be ready to face lawless, racist tyranny.”

ACMC has pledged its support to Presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa of the UNP led alliance New Democratic Front (NDF).

Turkey – Sri Lanka trade continues to surge

Further strengthening the longstanding relations between Sri Lanka and Turkey, bilateral trade between both countries continues to grow. “Both countries have regularised our dialogue and cooperation through the Turkey-Sri Lanka Joint Economic Commission.  This provides a structured platform to develop and further advance the bilateral economic and technical partnership. Diversifying and broadening our economic agenda is a priority for both Governments.  

Turkey is becoming one of Sri Lanka’s important trading partners” announced Sri Lanka’s Minister of Industry, Commerce, Resettlement of Protracted Displaced Persons, Cooperative Development, Skills Development & Vocational Training (ICTPDPCDSDVT) Rishad Bathiudeen on 29 October. Addressing the ‘96th Anniversary of the Proclamation of the Republic of Turkey’ celebrations held in Colombo, Minister Bathiudeen hinted that Turkey is no more a small trade partner of Sri Lanka.”Turkey is becoming one of Sri Lanka’s important trading partners. The total bilateral trade turnover in 2018 was US$ 351.18 Million” he added. According to Sri Lanka Department of Commerce (SLDOC), total bilateral trade in 2017 was US $ 318 Mn, which means total trade between both countries has grown in 2018 (YoY) by 10.4% and in comparison to 2016, the 2018 trade has surged by a huge 57% (from US $ 224 Mn). “Both countries are also formalising the legal framework for cooperation in sports, education, agriculture, SME development, customs and defence. We have also recognized the need to diversify our basket of exports to Turkey” Minister Bathiudeen added.

According to SLDOC, in 2018 Sri Lanka’s exports to Turkey was at US $ 218.4 Mn. 75% of exports to Turkey in 2018 were Ceylon Tea (at US $ 163 Mn), followed by yarn (8%), apparel (3.5%), and rubber tyres (2%).

‘Good job by Sri Lanka Elections Commissioner’-ACMC to EU

The All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) welcomed the European Union Election Observation Mission to Sri Lanka’s Presidential Election (EU EOM) with open arms on 29 October. ACMC stressed EU EOM’s arrival strengthens the electoral efforts of all political parties, especially minority parties such as ACMC in the Presidential Elections of November 2019. “Your scrutiny strengthens Sri Lanka’s democratic election process. It also encourages minority parties such as our ACMC,” said Leader of ACMC, Vanni District MP Rishad Bathiudeen. ACMC Leader and Minister of Industry, Commerce, Resettlement of Protracted Displaced Persons, Cooperative Development, Skills Development & Vocational Training Bathiudeen, joined by ACMC officials, was addressing the Political Analyst of European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) Sri Lanka 2019 Ms Mary Boland and her team in Colombo on 29 October.

In comments to Ms Boland and her colleagues, MP Rishad Bathiudeen, said: “Minority parties such as ACMC are handicapped by many shortcomings and one of our main fears is possible malpractice or manipulation. Sri Lanka Election Commissioner and his teams have been doing a good job. Thanks to Election Commissioner’s strong stand, many malpractices and violence at ground levels have been avoided so far.  However, news reports of many violations are seen in the media. In this situation, your scrutiny strengthens Sri Lanka’s democratic election process. It also encourages minority parties such as our ACMC in a very constructive way and we thank the people of EU for this support to our democracy.”

Analyst Ms Boland said: “The EU has a well-established long-term methodology for observing elections. Since 2000, we deployed over 150 EOMs across the world. We do so with strict adherence to our code of conduct which demands impartiality, neutrality and non-interference.

“The mission’s mandate is to provide an expert, comprehensive assessment of the electoral process. It assesses Sri Lanka’s compliance with the international commitments it has made through various human rights instruments.” said Ms Boland, adding one of the objectives of EU observation was to enhance public confidence in the electoral and democratic processes.

She said: “We will issue a preliminary statement a few days after election day in Sri Lanka, assessing the electoral process up to that point. The mission’s overall conclusions will be presented by the EU EOM Chief Observer, Marisa Matias, a Member of the European Parliament from Portugal, in a final report only after the end of the electoral process, usually about two months later. The final report will also offer recommendations to improve future electoral processes.”

ACMC has pledged its support to Presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa of the UNP led alliance New Democratic Front (NDF).