ECONOMYNEXT – The United National Party has condemned the reaction from President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to comments made in Parliament by the Samagi Jana Balavegaya’s (SJB) Harin Fernando as sixteen MPs called on the Speaker to protect the Members.
The UNP in a statement made by General Secretary Palitha Range Bandara said that Rajapaksa’s comments have “caused concern among the people of Sri Lanka including those who voted for the President.”
“Threatening a Member of Parliament amounts to the breach of the powers and privileges of Parliament,” and also the oath taken by the President to uphold the Constitution, the UNP said.
“Many will regard this as an ominous sign of an on-coming authoritarian regime,” it added.
Meanwhile, 16 Opposition Parliamentarians wrote to Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardene today deploring the fact that the President had commented on Fernando’s speech outside Parliament.
“You are aware that the President has every right to come to Parliament and reply to anything said here himself,” they wrote.
In making a statement before the Media the President was seen opposing the right to free speech and also using a threatening tone, the letter said.
“We believe this statement is a threat to freedom of speech as well as the security of Members of Parliament.”
Therefore we call on you to protect both the rights, privileges and physical security of the members of the government as well as the opposition, the letter concluded. (Colombo, January 13, 2021)
Reported by Arjuna Ranawana