Former Parliamentarian, Professor Rajiva Wijesinha has accused Speaker Karu Jayasuriya of misusing his power and recognizing leader of the Tamil National Alliance R. Sampanthan as the Leader of the Opposition.
In a post on his Facebook Page, Wijesinha said that he was ‘astonished’ at the shenanigans going on with regard to the actual opposition in the country. “Sadly the villain of the piece is my old friend Karu Jayasuriya, who sadly misused his powers as Speaker to call Mr. Sampanthan the Leader of the Opposition,” he said.
Wijesinha said that 39 years ago his father advised the then Speaker to make an SLFP member Leader of the Opposition, since the position should belong to the possible alternative government. “But the TULF leader, Mr Amirthalingam, was given the title, which helped immeasurably in the movement for separatism. But then there were numbers on his side whereas now there is not even that excuse for Karu’s partisan ruling,” he said.
His comments come in the wake of the government’s latest muddle, after the Secretary to the Ministry of Parliament Reforms and Mass Media Nimal Bopage issued a statement criticizing the media for giving publicity to the joint opposition, which according to him was not even a recognized grouping in Parliament.
“So we now have the preposterous letter by the media secretary which even his minister has repudiated. Surely both should know that a secretary cannot send such a letter representing just his personal views,” Wijesinha said.
He added that it was ironic that this incident happened, specially with the brightest and best of the young parliamentarians confirm their position in opposition. “It is sad that the President does not wonder why he is stuck with the Sajin and Muththuhettigama while Kanaka Herath and Shehan Semasinghe and Ramesh Pathirana and other potential leaders are firmly opposed to what is so obviously a UNP dominated government,” he added.
In September last year, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya announced Sampanthan as the Opposition Leader of the 8th parliament. Sampanthan is the second Tamil politician since A. Amirthalingam to be appointed to the post of Opposition Leader in Sri Lanka. The TNA, emerged as the third-largest party with 16 seats in the 225-member Parliament.