Columbo (63.46 – 15/12).
Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s ongoing private visit to Singapore preceded by his decision to prorogue parliament seemingly came to be questioned by a government MP on Tuesday (14).
MP Anura Priyadarshan Yapa, who was chairman of the Committee on Public Finance which now stands dissolved as a consequence of the prorogation of parliament, told reporters that now was not the time to be away.
“I don’t know why the president went [to Singapore]. We must all set an example. This is no time for us to take leave. This is a time to sit down with the people and listen to their grievances. It’s time for work, not for going here and there,” said Yapa.
President Rajapaksa prorogued parliament effective midnight December 12 until 10am January 18. Proroguing parliament automatically dissolves standing committees such as the one on public finance and the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE), which means they would have to be reappointed when parliament reconvenes.
The decision was followed by a sudden visit by the president to Singapore, reportedly for a medical check up.
MP Yapa, who was a cabinet minister in the previous government but was overlooked by the present administration, was also critical of the recent spate of cooking gas explosions, to which no one has yet taken responsibility.
“To date, we don’t know what was happening with the gas cylinders. No one in the gas company will explain what happened. In any other country, the board of directors would’ve been thrown in jail. They’re acting like they know nothing,” he said.
“Such a state in the country paves the way to anarchy. There is no governance here; it’s something else here. I brought this up with the finance minister also. The way I see it, there is someone who is on the other side of the cabinet,” the MP said. (Colombo/Dec14/2021)