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Sri Lanka opposition warns against weakening parliament’s COPE, COPA oversight

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s opposition warned against appointing government ministers or members to key oversight committees of the parliament, the Committee on Public Enterprises and Committee on Public Accounts.

“I am asking whether the administration will not continue with the practice of appointing an opposition members to chair the COPE and COPA,” Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa said.

“This is a good practice followed even the British parliamentary tradition. The last administration followed this good practice. I am asking whether you are going to reverse this?”

Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena said the issue can be taken up at the select committee proceedings.

Under the last administration the so-called bondscam in particular was probed by the COPE headed by a opposition Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna member.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, giving a non-committal comment said at certain times, the committees had been headed by the opposition and at times by the opposition.

Earlier practices of appointing ministers to COPE had come under fire from activists who said it seriously diluted the effects of oversight committees. (Colombo/Aug27/2020)