By Saman Indrajith
Colombo District SJB MP S.M. Marikkar says reforms proposed by the National Delimitation Committee to the electoral system will create further divisions in society on the basis of race, religion and caste.Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday, MP Marikkar said that the National Delimitation Committee headed by former Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya had finalised its report to bring forth changes on the delimitation of the country’s local government bodies.
“This Mahinda Deshapriya Committee’s term ended last 31. The committee is yet to submit its final report. The report is scheduled to be submitted during the course of next week. Recently the report was shown to political party representatives. When we went through this report we found that it contains changes which will pave the way for communal disharmony,” Marikkar said.
“We will make another historic error, if this report is gazetted as it is. I wanted to bring this issue to the attention of the Prime Minister, but in his absence I forward this to the Leader of the House. We must appoint a committee comprising MPs from all parties in Parliament and that committee should be given powers to review the Mahinda Deshapriya committee report’s recommendations.
“This would also set Sinhala candidate against the Muslim candidate and vice versa,” he said.
Marikkar said that the report also contained recommendations which would create errors and imbalance in representation in the local councils. “When they were told to bring down the number of 8,000 local councillors to 4,000, they slashed the number by half without giving due consideration for practical problems arising thereby. For example, in Kolonnawa there are 20 local councillors – 12 of them are elected while there are eight bonus seats. The total number is proposed to be down to 10. The way it is proposed to be done is by electing only six members and allocating four bonus seats,” the MP said.