Opposition calls for postponement of vote on Port City Bill to discuss it properly


Chief Opposition Whip and Kandy District SJB MP, Lakshman Kiriella on Tuesday, expressed opposition to what he called a government to rush through Parliament the Colombo Port City Economic Commission Bill without a proper debate.

Addressing the media after meeting the Malwatte Maha Viharaya Anunayake Ven Niyamgoda Vijithasiri Thera and Maha Lekhkadhikari of the Asgiriya Maha Viharaya Ven Medgama Dhammananda Thera, MP Kiriella said, “We learn that the Supreme Court decision on the Colombo Port City Economic Commission Bill runs to over 300 pages. It has been conveyed to the Speaker, and the House is scheduled to be informed of it on May 18; the vote on the Bill will be taken on the same day. This is a very crucial piece of legislation when considering its impact on all Sri Lankans and the government’s plan to rush through Parliament a Bill of this nature, while the entire country is suffering from the pandemic, is deplorable. Actually, such haste is antithetical to democratic principles. We demand that the debate be postponed so that the people of this country can have a serious discussion on this issue”.

The Malwathu Anunayake Thera, too said that the government and the Opposition should further discuss the matter with the concurrence of the Maha Nayakes of the two main chapters.

“We should understand the truth that the law is one thing and the regional geopolitics is quite another. The laws do not take into account geopolitical realities, and the Supreme Court may give its ruling on the Bill after considering whether it is consistent or inconsistent with the Constitution. We must realise that the endorsement of the Bill by the Court does not ensure that there will not be unexpected repercussions from the implementation of the Colombo Port City Commission Bill. As MP Wijeyadasa Rajapakse pointed out, there can be the possibility of ships containing nuclear weapons coming into the Port City. What would be the reaction of India in such an eventuality,” said the Malwathu Anunayake Thera.

MP Kiriella said that the Opposition’s main demand was that to make the Colombo Port City Commission an institution responsible to Parliament so that parliamentary committees, including the COPE and COPA, could oversee it to happen there.

SJB Colombo District MP, Dr. Harsha de Silva was also present at the meetings.