ECONOMYNEXT – There will be no meetings of Sri Lanka’s Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) until further notice, Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena said.
The Speaker told parliament on Friday November 17 that the COPE meeting that was due to be held at 1pm Friday was cancelled.
“The COPE meeting that was to be held at 1pm today, and there will be no further COPE meetings till further notice,” he said.
The Speaker said there will be no more meetings until issues over its chairman have been resolved, and that a final decision will be taken by the committee’s members.
Opposition leader Sajith Premadasa had said that the 1pm scheduling of Friday’s meeting would clash with the prayer times’ of two COPE members: S M Marikkar and Rauf Hakeem. Premadasa implied that this was deliberate, claiming that the chair of the committee had called the meeting fully aware that the two MPs in question could not attend.
Chief opposition whip Lakshman Kiriella called on Speaker Abeywardena to resolve the issue without politicising it.
Opposition MPs have called foul on COPE chairman Ranjith Bandara for allegedly gesturing at a representative of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to keep quiet during a COPE hearing.
Bandara, a member of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), has claimed that he was simply attempting crowd-control at an unusually packed COPE meeting. (Colombo/Nov18/2023)