Dhaka, June 16 (UNB) – BNP MPs on Sunday raised the question again about the legitimacy of the current Parliament, saying their joining would not ascertain its validity.
Two BNP MPs -- Md Harunur Rashid and Rumeen Farhana -– raised the question taking part in the discussion on the supplementary budget for 2018-19 fiscal year in Parliament.
They said the six BNP MPs joined Parliament as their party is not getting space for democratic practice like holding rallies outside.
“Many are asking as to why we’ve joined the House although the last general election was unacceptable,” Harunur Rashid said, adding that the Election Commission has completely failed to hold an acceptable election and it has destroyed parliamentary elections as well as local government elections.
“The joining of six BNP MPs won’t give legitimacy to this Parliament,” he said.
There is the absence of democratic space for raising their demands in line with the constitution and even their party is not allowed to hold any rally, the BNP MP said. “BNP MPs joined Parliament to restore good governance in the country.”
He urged Leader of the House and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who was present in the House, to initiate a national dialogue with the participation of the leaders of all political parties to have good governance in the country.
Rumeen Farhana said they have joined Parliament as BNP was not allowed to hold any protest programme. “We came here to talk about the people of the country,” she said, alleging that all the 300 constituencies were ‘looted’ in the last election.
She demanded disclosure of the names of bad loan holders in the country.
Rumeen also alleged that Bangladeshi money is being siphoned off to different countries. “This money is being invested in the Second Home project in Malaysia and used to build Begumpara in Canada.”
During her speech, treasury bench members raised hue and cry on several times and deputy speaker Fazle Rabbi Miah who was presiding over the sitting at the time expunged unparliamentarily words from the speech of the lone BNP women MP.
Dhaka, Jan 16 (UNB) – BNP senior leader Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury on Sunday said the media in Bangladesh cannot play the due role now as various state agencies are controlling them.
“It’s now impossible for the media to play its due role. The media freedom has been snatched the way our voting and basic rights had been snatched,” he said.
Speaking at a discussion, the BNP leader further said, “On this day (in 1975), they (AL) gaged the media by introducing one-party Baksal rule. After the 45 years, the same ghost of the one-party rule is now again regulating the media.”
Labour Party, one of the components of the BNP-led 20-party alliance, arranged the programme at Dhaka Reporters’ Unity (DRU), marking June 16 as the black day for newspapers.
Khosru, a BNP standing committee member, said Awami League stifled media in 1975 by formulating a law. “But, now they’re doing it by creating some media with their patronage, and using the state agencies. The media outlets face obstacles whenever they cross the particular line set by the government.”
He regretted that the government is now using the media to cling to power by snatching the independence of journalists.
The BNP leader said many journalists are now quitting profession and trying to go abroad as they cannot work freely.
About the new budget, he said it has been formulated only to protect the interest of the ruling quarter. “It’s usual that those who usurped power would design the budget for their own gains as they don’t have accountability to people,” Khosru observed.
He also said the new budget will only make the loan burden of people heavier.
Dhaka, Jun 16 (UNB) - BNP senior leader Moudud Ahmed on Sunday alleged that around 7 billion US dollars were siphoned off from Bangladesh by ‘government-backed people’ over the last one decade.
Speaking at a human chain programme, he also alleged that the scope for whitening black money was kept in the proposed budget for 2019-20 fiscal to allow ruling party men to legalise their ill-gotten money.
“Around 7 billion US dollars were siphoned off from Bangladesh over the last one decade…those who’re doing business backed by the government laundered the money instead of investing it in the country,” the BNP leader said.
Jatiyatabadi Muktijoddha Dal arranged the programme in front of the Jatiya Press Club demanding the release of BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia and a fresh national election.
Moudud, a BNP standing committee member, said the ruling party-supported people constructed houses, shopping malls and set up big businesses in many countries, including Malaysia, the USA, Australia and Canada by siphoning off huge money from the country.
“They did it as their alternative measures as they know it very well that it’ll be very difficult for them to stay in Bangladesh when the fall of the current regime is ensured,” he added.
About the proposed national budget, he said it was formulated only to facilitate the ruling party men and their beneficiaries. “This budget is not for the common people. The rich will get richer while the poor poorer through the budget.”
He said the government has kept the option open for whitening the black money for over the 10 years so that the ruling party-backed people who earned huge illegal money through corruption can legalise those.
The BNP leader alleged that their chairperson Khaleda Zia has been kept in jail for around one year and four months due to the government’s political ‘influence’. “We’ll seek her bail at the High Court division in Zia Orphanage and Zia Charitable Trust graft cases by this week. If the bail is denied, we’ll move the Appellate Division.”
He said they will put in their best efforts to free Khaleda through the legal process. “But she can truly be freed through a movement. Khaleda Zia’s released can be ensured through a street movement.”
Moudud said their party leaders and activists must get organised and to take to the streets with such a programme that will force the government to release her.
The BNP leader said the country’s 16 crore people want Khaleda to be freed from jail. “But we can’t ensure the bail for her despite our frantic efforts only because of the government’s political influence.”
Dhaka, June 16 (UNB) – A faction of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) leaders demonstrated in front of BNP headquarters on Sunday demanding removal of age limit to join the new committee.
Several hundred disgruntled leaders and activists of the recently-dissolved JCD central committee protested at Nayapaltan for about two hours from 11am.
They announced to stage another two-hour protest on Monday as well.
The same group had demonstrated in front of the BNP office on June 11 and kept the main gate of the headquarters locked for 11 hours. They postponed their protests after senior BNP leaders said their demands would be met.
Azmal Hossain Pilot, senior vice-president of the recently dissolved JDC committee, said they resumed their protest since BNP leaders did not fulfill their promises.
He said they will demonstrate peacefully and mount pressure on the BNP higher-ups. Azmal said they want the BNP to form a short-term JCD committee that will not have any age ceiling.
JCD’s central committee was dissolved on June 3. A BNP press release, signed by Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, said a new committee will be formed within the next 45 days based on the opinions of its councillors.
It said candidates planning to contest for various posts will have to be primary members, students of any educational institutions in Bangladesh and must have passed SSC and equivalent examinations after 2000.
JCD’s last committee was formed on October 14, 2014, with Rajib Ahsan as its president and Akramul Hasan as general secretary.
Dhaka, June 15 (UNB) - Gonoforum on Saturday turned down the national budget for 2019-20 saying it has been formulated to protect the interest of a handful of businesspeople and politicians ignoring people.
“This is not a budget for people. We reject this budget…,” said Gonoforum president Dr Kamal Hossain.
He came up with the remarks while giving his party’s formal reaction to the proposed budget at a press conference at the Jatiya Press Club.
Dr Kamal said they came up with the reaction to the budget to inform people about how much their interest is protected and ignored so that they can play their due role as the owners of the country.
“We want people to get organised and be vocal about it, and we’ll do whatever necessary for bringing a change in the government through a democratic process,” he said.
Gonoforum general secretary Reza Kibria said this budget fails to address the critical problems of the widening inequality, poverty and unemployment.
“It’s a budget favouring the interest of a handful of business and political interests at the cost of the rest of the nation,” he said.
He said this short-sighted and poorly-designed budget fails to address the real problems facing the nation.
“The budget favours those looting the country and siphoning off it,” he added.
Reza Kibria, son of slain former Awami League Finance Minister Shah AMS Kibria, said the budget of the current ‘unrepresentative’ and ‘unelected’ government does not reflect the will of the country’s citizens nor seek to meet the needs of the nation. “So, it’s vital that free and fair elections be held without delay to elect a government that will have a genuine mandate from voters.”
He said the government needs the confidence and support of the country’s people to take difficult steps needed to overcome the difficult economic challenges that lie ahead.
Analysing the budget, the Gonoforum general secretary said it fails to provide realistic estimates of revenue and borrowing, and does not take into account the large deviations of outturns from the budget estimates in recent years.
He also said the budget demonstrates a lack of understanding of the risks posed by the looming financial and economic crisis brought about through imprudent and macroeconomic policies of the past few years and the systematic neglect of governance and supervision issue in the banking sector.
“All the indications are that the economy will soon face the impact of microeconomic mismanagement of the recent past. This budget shows a lack of comprehension of the real and present dangers facing the economy,” Reza Kibria observed.
He said unproductive expenditures must be curtailed and some tough decisions that go against the interest of some powerful quarters need to be taken.
The Gonoforum leader said the official estimates of GDP growth are being questioned by many economists who have noted the puzzling weakness in import and revenue growth figures for the past few years. “The optimistic growth figures should be interpreted cautiously.”