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MAS to close down two factories in Mihintale

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Two factories in Mihintale belonging to MAS Holdings Group, which has amassed wealth as one of the biggest garment exporters in Sri Lanka for nearly 36 years, would be closed down, it is learnt.

With this decision, nearly 1,000 employees will lose their jobs. However, the authorities have informed the employees that the factories will be closed for 4 months.

Garment manufacturers are of the opinion that the lack of orders for garment products has led to the temporary closure of factories.

Meanwhile, some experts in the field said that the instability of the US Dollar due to the economic crisis in the United States and the financial crisis in Sri Lanka has directly affected the garment industry in Sri Lanka.

However, some people said that there is no lack of orders for these garments. They said the cost of manufacturing garments in Sri Lanka has increased due to the increase in the price of services including electricity. Therefore, the manufacturers divert the orders from the local factories to their own factories outside of Sri Lanka and then close down the local factories.

Who is this MAS?

MAS Holdings is the largest underwear manufacturer in South Asia.

The company was founded in 1987 by the three brothers of Mahesh, Ajay and Sharad Amalean and named the company with the first letter of their names.

MAS Holdings began as a manufacturer of intimate apparel and later diversified into sports wear, performance wear and swimwear.

MAS Holdings has 53 manufacturing facilities in 17 countries and employs over 93,000 people globally.

The company has design and development centers in New York, London, Hong Kong and Colombo. Its clients include Victoria’s Secret, Nike, Polo, Lululemon and PVH.

The company manufactures apparel accessories and fabrics and provides services beyond apparel manufacturing.

MAS was recognised as the second most prestigious corporate body in Sri Lanka in a 2017 survey conducted by Sri Lanka’s LMD Magazine and The Nielsen Company.

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SLPP MP temporarily ordained as monk

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SLPP Kandy District MP – Gunatileke Rajapaksa has been temporarily ordained as a Buddhist monk at the historical Isipathanarama Temple in India.

He is now known as Ven. Harispathuwe Dhammarathana Thera.
His son – Sandakelum Rajapaksa, who is an engineer by profession, has also been ordained as Ven. Ampare Dhammaloka Thera.

The MP had reportedly decided to enter into the religious order after the recent death of his wife. He too, was recently hospitalised after falling ill.

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Court delays ruling on Online Safety Act challenge

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The Sri Lankan Supreme Court today indefinitely postponed its decision on whether to hear a fundamental rights petition challenging the Online SafetyAct No. 9 of 2024.

President’s Counsel and Jaffna District Member of Parliament M A Sumanthiran filed a fundamental rights application in the Supreme Court on 14th Feb., challenging the Speaker’s certification of the Online Safety Bill as having been enacted into law.

During the hearing, Attorney General Sanjay Rajaratnam presented five preliminary objections, arguing that the court lacks jurisdiction to hear the case since the Speaker has already signed the bill into law. 

He further emphasized that the legislature holds the sole authority to pass bills, and the court cannot intervene in that process.

Countering these arguments, Attorney-at-Law Suren Fernando, representing Sumanthiran, asserted that the petition aimed solely at the Speaker’s signing of the Act, which he claimed contravened previous Supreme Court pronouncements on related petitions. 

He emphasized the petitioner’s intention to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law.

The three-judge bench, comprising Justices Priyantha Jayawardene, Shiran Gunaratne, and Achala Vengappuli, decided to postpone their decision on hearing the petition indefinitely. 

In his Petition, MP Sumanthiran claims that the government was seeking to enact the Bill without fully adhering the Supreme Court Determination, and that he had pointed out that the draft committee stage amendments would not sufficiently rectify the shortcomings, and provided his concerns in writing to the Speaker.

However, the Parliament had voted on the Bill prior to ensuring full compliance with the Determination, according to Sumanthiran.

The Petitioner claims that the Bill could have been passed by simple majority only if all the changes required by the Supreme Court were incorporated. If these were not incorporated, the Bill could only have been enacted if 2/3 of the whole number of MPs voted in favour of the Bill.

MP Sumanthiran states that the Bill was approved only by a simple majority of members present, and that therefore the Bill could not have become law.

Therefore he states that the Speaker, by certifying that the Bill was enacted into law, has violated the public trust and the fundamental rights guaranteed to Sumanthiran and the citizenry.

Sumanthiran also states that according to the Speaker, he had acted in accordance with advise given by the Attorney General, and if so, the Attorney General is also responsible for the violation of fundamental rights occasioned by the purported certification of the Bill.

The Speaker of Parliament and the Attorney General are named as Respondents to the Application.

(News 1st)

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English considered for legal proceedings in selected courts

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English language is to be considered for conducting legal proceedings and maintaining records in certain courts, according to a Cabinet decision.

The Cabinet has noted that particularly in the commerce sphere related to commercial activities are mainly used in the English language and require a considerable cost and time in translating those contents into Sinhala language.

Due to that, an extended period to settle commercial disputes takes place which leads to disadvantage when obtaining entrepreneurs, the cabinet has noted.

This situation also affected the position of Sri Lanka to be in a lower place the Ease of Doing Business ratings which envisage the ability of conducting enterprises in a country.

As a remedy to this, it has been recognized as appropriate to issue an order by the subject Minister of Justice with the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers and in par with the provisions of the statute 24 (4) of the Constitution permitting to use English language in relation to all the activities in recognized courts or legal records and proceedings precisely mentioned thereupon.

Accordingly, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal submitted by the Minister of Justice, Prison Affairs and Constitutional Reforms to take necessary actions in this regard.

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