EMPTY BUDGET (98 Nov 18)

Mr. M.H.M. Ashraff , the leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), described the fifth budget of the PA government as an empty budget ,which holds no promise. He made these criticisms at a specially convened meeting of the SLMC parliamentarians.

Mr. Ashraff has gone on to say that before the government presented its second budget , all MPs were summoned two months before the due date and their views and observations were obtained. He has also said that most of the back benchers were unhappy with the budget.

Mr. Ashraff's criticism is not a result of the budget proposals. Their position is not very much different from that of the TULF. The TULF this time voted against the budget mainly because they are of the view that the government is not going ahead with the so called political package. They are also against the statement made by Ms. Chandrika Cumaratunga in South Africa. (THE SOUTH AFRICAN CONNECTION )

Both the SLMC and the TULF are now trying to find excuses to leave the government eventually. They are only interested in devolution of more and more power to the eastern and the northern provinces, and they have sensed that the package is not on. They are now gradually heading towards the UNP.