Some 16 envoys in Colombo of the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) will protest to President Maithripala Sirisena next week over an official statement issued by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya that general laws will be introduced soon to replace laws governing Muslims and Tamils.
They are now awaiting the return of the Turkish Ambassador to Sri Lanka, who is their dean, to meet President Sirisena as well as issue an official statement rebutting the claims.
The fact that there will soon be a general law introduced has been declared on behalf of the Speaker by his Media Secretary Chaminda Gamage. The press release has claimed that the OIC envoys endorsed the action but they said they did not and added “this is an internal matter for Sri Lanka.”
The press release came after former Foreign Secretary, Prasad Kariyawasam who poses as International Affairs to Speaker summoned the OIC envoys for a meeting with Jayasuriya, the Speaker, in Parliament last week. Kariyawasam is seconded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to Parliament.
In what has become a serious issue on whether Sri Lanka has three centres of power – the President, the Prime Minister and now the Speaker – Jayasuriya summoned for the same OIC envoys meeting the acting Inspector General of Police Chandana Wickremeratne and Director General of Military Intelligence Brigadier Chula Nanayakkara. The question is who gave permission for them to attend the conference.
Questions are now being asked whether the Speaker has the power to summon those coming under the Ministry of Defence. During a previous UNP government, that time President J.R. Jayawardena pulled up Speaker M.A. Bakir Markar for simply making a request to the MoD to decorate their premises for an event connected with Paliament. Jayawardene said he had no right to do so.
Jayasuriya, the Speaker’s move has also enraged the Muslim community. They say he is abusing his official position to promote his candidacy at the presidential elections.
Foreign Ministry officials are also concerned about the role of Prasad Kariyawasam who is very well known to be working closely with the United States Embassy in Colombo. His close associate is said to be Political Officer Anthony Renzuli, a staunch pro Donald Trump officer. (By Rajith Malwana)