SAITM campus to stay private – Rajitha

The government has not taken any decision to nationalise the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM), Minister of Health Dr. Rajitha Senaratne yesterday said.

He was speaking at the Cabinet press briefing which was held at the Department of Government Information yesterday.

The minimum standards to medical education will soon be gazetted since it has been a core factor in the SAITM issue, Minister Senaratne added.

Asked whether certain ministers are in disagreement with the decision making process regarding the SAITM, Minister Senaratne assured that no Cabinet Minister voiced dissatisfaction regarding the solutions proposed on the matter. “The only problem President Maithripala Sirisena and we as ministers had at the Cabinet meeting was, as to why we continue responding to the GMOA.”

No party should demand solutions from the government regarding the SAITM like Shylock asked for the ‘pound of flesh’, Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara, speaking on the same issue, said.

“No party will be hundred percent satisfied with the solutions given to SAITM. We expect cooperation from all parties to solve this matter,” Minister Jayasekara further said.

He said the GMOA’s stand point shall not affect the decisions that the government makes on SAITM. He also said, the current issue regarding SAITM is a result of previous regime’s doing. “We have to bear the burden of their sins now,” Jayasekara said.

The Neville Fernando Hospital (NHF) will provide free medical facilities for the public, Minster Dayasiri Jayasekara also said. “There shall be paying wards as well at the hospital for the one’s who prefer such facilities.” he added.

Minister Jayasekara said the administration of the Neville Fernando Hospital (NHF) shall be similar to the administrative structure adopted by the Sri Jayawardenapura General Hospital.The NHF management will be carried out by a Board of Directors appointed by the Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Minister.

Asked on the anti-SAITM protestors who broke into the Health ministry building, Minister Senaratne said one has to figure out the difference between student activists, thugs and terrorists. These anti-SAITM protestors barged into the Health Ministry building like terrorists, he said. “We had to control the situation. It was not like these students came into visit the Ministry’s Buddha shrine. In 1988, the same people burnt the Health Ministry building down. We cannot allow that.” Minister Senaratne said.

Minister Senaratne also said there is no mechanism to recover the loss suffered by the Health ministry building from the aggressive behaviour of the anti-SAITM protestors. Legal action will be taken against the students involved in damaging the property of the Health Ministry under the Public Property Act, which does not allow bail for possible offenders, Senaratne said.

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