Nine SJB members pledge to support Govt | Sunday Observer

Nine SJB members pledge to support Govt

8 November, 2020

The nine Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) parliamentarians who voted for the 20th Amendment to the Constitution have decided to further extend their support to the Governme nt while remaining in the Opposition. SJB parliamentarians Diana Gamage, Aravindh Kumar, Ishak Rahuman, Faizal Cassim, H.M.M.Harees, M.S.Thowfeek, Nazeer Ahamed, Ali Sabri Raheem and M.M.Musharaff voted for the 20th Amendment at the Third Reading of the vote in Parliament on October 22.

The 20th Amendment to the Constitution was passed in Parliament on October 22 with 156 MPs voting for and 65 against. The SJB on October 29 wrote to Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena requesting him to accommodate the nine Opposition MPs who voted for the 20th Amendment to the Constitution and its Clause on dual citizenship on the Government side.

Chief Opposition Whip, MP Lakshman Kiriella in a letter to the Speaker said the SJB parliamentary group had decided to oust the nine members who voted in favour of the 20th Amendment. Kiriella said that the nine SJB parliamentarians should be assigned seats on the Government side. SJB Assistant Secretary and National List MP Diana Gamage said the Government has over 150 MPs in Parliament and it’s not possible to accommodate all of them in the Government benches. At present, seats have been reserved for several Government MPs on the Opposition side due to this practical problem. Therefore, the nine SJB MPs who voted for the 20th Amendment would remain in the Opposition while extending their support to the Government, she said.

MP Diana Gamage speaking in Parliament on October 23 defended her decision to vote for the 20th Amendment to the Constitution on October 22, as she had decided to support President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, adding that Sri Lanka needs an Executive President to develop the country. She said there is no point in electing a President, spending millions of rupees if the elected President cannot perform his tasks and added that she has confidence in the President and will support him to develop the country. However, an SJB senior told the media that the party hierarchy would take disciplinary action against the nine MPs next week.