- It was my responsibility and duty as a law maker and a representative of the people to highlight the damage and threats posed to the country
By Sandun A. Jayasekera
Former Justice Minister and SLPP Parliamentarian Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe yesterday claimed that he was spoken to in a threatening manner by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa over the phone following his criticism on the appointment of a five member committee to manage the Colombo Port City (CPC) with sweeping powers.
“When the head of state or the head of the government calls in a threatening manner like this I and my family feel as if we are at peril. I have informed the IGP on it and I will make a complaint in writing to the Police too,” he added.
“When he spoke in a lowly language over the phone, I responded to him in the same manner,” Mr. Rajapakshe noted.
Mr. Rajapakshe made a scathing attack on many actions and policies of the government with main focus on the Port City at a media briefing held at the Abhayaramaya Temple at Narahenpita on Thursday.
At a hurriedly called news briefing last morning held at his residence, Mr. Rajapakshe said this was the first time he has been threatened by any one. I made the comments at the news briefing at Abhayaramaya as it was my responsibility and duty as a law maker and a representative of the people to highlight the damage and threats posed to the country from the ‘Colombo Port City Economic Commission.’
‘I have been closely associated with top politicians of this country from 1976. I have criticised all of them but no one has threatened me. When former President Mahinda Rajapaksa met me after my onslaught on his party he used to call ‘Hello Malli’ in an extremely benevolent manner. That is how I maintained a good rapport with them,” he added.
Mr. Rajapakshe said the comments he made at Abhayaramaya were not intended to hurt any one or create problems to the government. But the appointment of a five member committee by President Rajapaksa to manage the affairs of the CPC was a threat to the independence of the country, contravenes the Constitution and compromises the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the nation.
This committee is responsible to no one but only to the executive President, the appointing authority. It creates a separate territory within Sri Lanka but does not come under any law of the land. “The five member committee, ‘The Colombo Port City Economic Commission’ will be tasked to oversee the development of 449 hectares of reclaimed land off the Port of Colombo and seven enactments dealing with tax, financial administration and banking, Urban Development Authority Act and Municipal Council Ordinance and the Board of Investment Act have no bearing at all on this highly independent Commission,” he added.
That is why we say that the CPC is going to be a colony of China. If and when a Sri Lankan enters the CPC he will have to pay tax like any one arriving from abroad. As such Sri Lanka government has no authority over this land. Is this not a threat to the independence of our country or violating the basic law of Sri Lanka?” he asked.
The reclaimed land has changed the territorial composition of the country and therefore the newly changed map of Sri Lanka must be depicted in the Constitution through an amendment to the Constitution. This has not happened up to now. President Rajapakshe must have some grace to enact those necessary legislation and also to bring the ‘Colombo Port City Economic Commission’ under the legal framework of Sri Lanka. When the yahapalana government signed the MoU to lease out Hambantota Port to China for 99 years, the opposition raised a big hue and cry but handing over of the CPC fully to China is more detrimental to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country.
Responding to a journalist, Mr. Rajapakshe said the President has deserted and sidelined the Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa as well.
Mr. Rajapaksa said he and 15 other petitioners expect to submit evidence before the Supreme Court on Monday (19) highlighting the huge threat posed by the CPC management committee appointed by President Rajapaksa to the country, nation and the economy.
- President Rajapakshe must have some grace to enact those necessary legislation and also to bring the CPC Economic Commission’ under the legal framework of SL