1 July, 2022


Joint Opposition Urges Sirsena To Review Hambantota Port Deal

The Joint Opposition today urged President Maithripala Sirisena to delay the signing of any agreement in connection with the lease of the Hambantota Port citing severe misgivings with regard to the deal.



In a letter addressed to Sirisena today, the Joint Opposition MPs warned of grave national and financial consequences to the country owing to the deal, where the Hambantota Port will be leased to the China Merchant Ports Holding Company for 99 years + 99 years, totalling up to 198 years. “Such a vital asset should not be entered into lightly, and should be given due consideration. This does appear to have been the case. The world’s eyes are upon the very high profile agreement on the future of the Hambantota Port. Any impropriety could not only cause a bad reputation for Sri Lanka, but gravely cause national and financial consequences for Sri Lanka,” the letter said.

The letter dated January 2 was signed by MPs Dinesh Gunawardena, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Bandula Gunawardane, Udaya Gammanpila, Keheliya Rambukwella, Sisira Jayakoddy, Prasanna Ranaweera and Geetha Kumarasinghe.

“We, the undersigned Members of Parliament belonging to the Joint Opposition, have severe misgivings regarding the current proposal to restructure the Hambantota Port on a PPP basis with the China Merchant Ports Holding Company, for the following reasons in accordance with the information available:-

(1) The Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), in September 2014, entered into an agreement with the China Merchant Holdings (International) Company Ltd and China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd, to lease the Hambantota Port (Phase II) on a supply, operate and transfer (SOT) basis for 35 years. However, this agreement was nullified. Subsequently, China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd and China Merchant Ports Holding Company Ltd, tendered separate proposals, without the criteria for their selection having been defined.

“(2) China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd proposed an initial payment of approximately US$ 730 million for a 50-year lease period, during which a payment structure similar to a royalty was proposed, which made the value of this proposal in fact US$ 1.5 billion. This was reported the option preferred by the SLPA, which would have benefitted the country and the SLPA. However the option selected was the proposal of China Merchant Ports Holding Company, for a one-time payment of US$ 1.08 billion, for a 99 year lease, extendable for a further 99 years. The question arises as to why China Merchant Ports Holding Company was selected, and who selected it.

(3) The project has been valued at US$ 1.4 billion by the SLPA. The question arises as to what basis was used to arrive at this figure. As far as we know, no proper valuation has been done of the Hambantota Port facilities, infrastructure and land (including the 110 acre island), but only construction costs have been taken into consideration, so the agreement is based on an undervaluation of the assets.

(4) The Attorney General has given his opinion that articles 4, 5, 8 and 16 of the agreement are beyond the scope and/or the statutory powers vested with the SLPA.

(5) The China Merchant Ports Holding Company Ltd has agreed to invest US$ 1.12 billion in the joint venture project, paying US$ 5 million as a security deposit, 10% of the investment value, including the security deposit, within one month; 30% of the investment value within 3 months and 60% of the investment value within 6 months. According to the agreement, these funds are to be invested in the project itself. The Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) has agreed to be responsible for the debts of the SLPA, so the joint venture will not be responsible – in the event of the project going bankrupt, GoSL will still have to pay the debts.

(6) The SLPA suggested a share split in the original proposed joint venture company, , but this was subsequently changed by the Government to 80% to China Merchant Ports Holding Company Ltd and 20% to the SLPA. The question arises as to how, why and on what basis all these critical calculations and changes were made by the Government.

(7) No proper due diligence has been carried out on the project.

(8) The Cabinet Appointed Negotiating Committee (CANC) was not given sufficient time and not followed laid down procedures to study the proposals and make adequate recommendations.

(9) Granting of 15000 acres in adjacent of the Hambantota Port depriving farmers of their land has no justification.

(10) The SLPA Board cannot give its approval to the project and above mentioned according to the SLPA Act,” the letter said.

The Joint Opposition noted that in terms of the SLPA Act, Parliament eventually is responsible for oversight into this agreement. Therefore, if there have been malfeasance or procedural blunders, the public officials responsible could be called to account by Parliament and law of the land.

“In the light of the above, we request Your Excellency to delay the signing of any agreement in connection with the Hambantota Port and to inquire into the manner in which this matter has been handled,” the letter added.

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Latest comments

  • 5

    This Agreement must NOT BE SIGNED – period. The point of view given by the Government in signing an agreement is: The inability to service the “Debt Load” incurred on this project. Why the Government cannot find other “Options” rather than entrusting such a National Resource and Wealth to a foreign commercial entity on 80-20% basis for a period of nearly a “Century” and even to go beyond that for another “Century”- a total of “Two Centuries”? This entire negotiation process was wrong. We only knew of it when the Prime Minister suddenly announced it and together with it a lease of 15000 acres from Hambantota. Was that announcement properly evaluated, considered and approved proposition by the Peopled’ Representatives in the Legislature? Who does he make such ad hoc decisions and announcements relating to the disbursement of National Wealth and Resources. Doesn’t he know that he is dealing with such strategically valuable assets of the country completely ignoring the wished of the PEOPLE that must be consulted with due respect and diligence? First this subject should have been brought before the Legislature and consultation and mechanisms of implementations should have been worked out by the PEOPLES’ Representatives. Instead doing the first thing first, he along with “FEW” of his henchmen (behind the door operatives) worked out an “Agreement” and even set the dates for its signing. He is now forced to “Disclose” the entire “Agreement” and debated in the Legislature. That “Cry” for a disclosure shows how erratic the PM is and “Advised” to function in matters relating to National Issues. Can he defend or give a plausible reasoning for not generating that dialogue for circumventing that process expected of him in matters of such importance to the country? Now it is time for the President of the PEOPLE to hear the VOICE of the PEOPLE and ABROGATE this “Agreement” and work out a meaningful and beneficial solution to the main issue of “Debts Repayment” on this project. He (President) must know this is a National Issue and a National Cry that must not be left in the hands of a few “Back Door” operatives who think they have the prerogative right to DIRECT GOVERNANCE. The PEOPLE must not give up that CRY and DEMAND “PROTECTION” of National Wealth.

    • 0

      What I’ve read,

      Cost per annum Rs 60 billion.

      Income Rs 2 billion.

      How do we find Rs 58 billion every year to upkeep this national treasure and pass it on to our children?

      Simple, isn’t it?

      Can anyone suggest the much vaunted “other options/alternatives?” Please be specific; no platitudes. Thanks.

  • 6

    what I understand is that Mara and his regime have locked the country in to a dead end agreement with China.

    There may be a way out.

    The authors of jaffnahistory.com perhaps create a fake website and demonstrate to the Chinese that Hambantota harbour; Hambantota airport all the major highways etc etc existed before Chinese set foot in this country. They can show some fake reference in Mahavamsa.

    The authors of jaffnahistory.com can then ask Chinese where is your source.?

    I mean what evidence is there that the Chinese indeed built Hambantota white elephant?

    De Silva get on the job.

    • 12

      They both want to sell Sri Lanka to the Chinese this is the drama to fool the people.

      Mahinda Rajapaksa, the man who started the selling is now taking the role of the savior of the people ” the I will not let this government sell your land to china” the new “Game of Shape” (cover up) strategy after his China visit…

      And the government is playing along too.

      Nothing has changed same game disguised a little better…

  • 6

    If appears that Mahinda is playing games. The document is signed by some leaders of 3 wheeler parties and few nominal MPs from JO.

    The letter is specific to Hambantota. None of the so called leaders ‘who own Hambantota’ such as Mahinda Namal Chamal etc have signed it since they consider these areas as their inheritance governed by their ansestors.

    • 11

      Mahinda has no problem selling out Hambantota or any part of Sri Lanka he just has to make it look like he is against it in public…

      He is scared his voters will turn on him…

  • 8

    Look at the signatories to this letter. All thuppahi jokers plus one kala kanniya (Dinesh). Where were these mutts when MR decided to build this white elephant plus an airport in a bird sanctuary in the middle of nowhere. They had kate pittu. Now they are suddenly very concerned. How wonderful. Give the China men his port after all it was financed and built(even the labor) by Chinese while we pay them the loan with interest.
    We need to play the strategic game. That is the only way we will survive and recover from the carnage wrought by the previous buffoon.

    • 1

      Yes we have to make use of the White elephant and pay the debts with it’s income.

    • 1

      I fully agree with “Wera” that most of the signatories to this piece of paper are “Thuppahi” jokers.What a motley collection people. That fellow Ranaweera cannot even write properly. As for Geetha, must have been after a couple of shots. Gammanpila, Dinesh and Bandula oppose anything and everything. For keheliye it is just about sour grapes.That joker Jayakody I do not even know.

    • 7

      Viable Alternative proposals with interested parties for the Hambantota harbor and Mattala airport have been sent to the Prime Ministers office that have been acknowledged as received…

      But has The Prime Minister been informed of these proposals despite the acknowledgment is unknown…

      While having constructive alternatives why is this drama still continuing is suspicious!!?

      Many soulutions to dig the country out of the mess it is in too are just sitting in the relavent ministries inactive…

      The government asked for public feedback and corporation to find solutions!!?

  • 4

    Although the bozos that urge the review of this impending ‘deal’ are well known as a bunch of creeps, they are right to object.

    The odd part of it is that they had no such objections when they were part of MR’s plan to include the Chinese in his devious ‘deals’!

    What a mess we are in to be sure!

  • 3

    Dinish should have objected to this white elephant when he was a member of the then governing party.

  • 1

    I guess, before Denish write the letter to New King, Chinese Ambassador would called to complain about Ranil’s delay in signing. So my friends! if you are writing anything without knowing what the Chinese Ambassador has complained of, then: “the dogs bark, but the caravan goes on”

    It seems nobody remembers the age old Panchatantra story of “Nuraicholai Power Station and the Defense Department Media Central’s computer”.

    Wadak naa nee. No lessons learned.

    Didn’t Yahapalanaya also repeated it once earlier in Port City for election victory with a big whining of “Our environment” and ended up granting more sea to reclaim than what Old Royals allowed for China?

    Lefts want to save the country? Wimal one million + Dinesh One Million = two million coconuts the Pathini devyo is asking for, I hear.

    These comedies possessing Old King until a party was created. Then they put it on the pitty, poor, pavum… GL’s head and starting to posses New King.

    Why Siri Gamage, Laksiri Fernando, Kumar David, Anura Kumara, Kumar Gunnam, DEW, Wimal Weerawansa .. Tissa Witharana and other lefts cannot co sign this? A good opportunity to form a Unity Left and start to oppose the Yahapalanaya.

    There is a Tamil song goes like this:”Nee Pattu Pudavai Katti Kondaal Pattu Poochikal Motcham Perum”. The boyfriend is trying to tell his girl’s adorability like this – If you wrap a silk cloth on your body the silkworms sacrificed for that are blessed to be in Moksha. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pY8WyzuCXr0

    I guarantee these Lankawe lefts wasted pencils and papers to learn their lesson are now in the Moksha.

    I think Karalasingam, Bala Thambu like one or two are the leftists. That is why they have left in time from these lefts.

    It is the last birth’s Karma of the Mother Lankawe that Dinesh and Wimal got born there!


  • 1

    The request loois reasonable.

    The debt problem is not the only problem facing the country.

    if this deal is a form of FDI, How beneficial it is to the country.

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