Parliament to hold a memorial for former Speaker Lokubandara

Former Speaker W J M Lokubandara

ECONOMYNEXT – Parliament will hold a memorial ceremony for former Speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara passed away yesterday afternoon while under treatment for Covid 19 at the National Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH) in Colombo.

A ceremonial funeral will not be held as he died of Covid, a Parliament Spokesman told EconomyNext.

He is the second senior politician to succumb to the virus, the first being Dr Neville de Silva.

Lokubandara was diagnosed with Covid 19 while being treated at a private hospital in Colombo and was transferred to the IDH earlier this month.

A Sinhala language purist he was best known as “WiJeMu” (විජෙමු), the way his initials were pronounced, although he spoke and wrote excellent English.

Lokubandara was elected Speaker of the Parliament of Sri Lanka in 2004 in a keenly contested secret ballot by one vote sponsored by the Opposition at the time.

Previously he held Cabinet-level portfolios twice and was Chief Opposition Whip.

While Media Minister he ordered receptionists at all organisations under his Ministry to answer the phones with the word Ayubowan and refrain from saying “Hello.”

Lokubandara authored several books and was a songwriter.

He gained two degrees in Arts, one from the University of Peradeniya and an External Degree from the University of London. He was also an Attorney-at-Law. (Colombo, February 15, 2021)

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Reported by Arjuna Ranawana

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