‘Resignation letters delayed by technical hitch’:


To meet Mahanayake Theras to explain stance:

The mass resignation of Muslim Parliamentarians from all Cabinet Ministerial, State and Deputy Ministerial portfolios was with effect from last Monday (03), Sri Lanka Muslim Congress leader and former Minister Rauff Hakeem told Parliament yesterday responding to news reports that cast doubts about their actual resignations. Clarifying the confusion, the SLMC leader claimed that the actual resignation letters had not been handed over at the time due to “technical matters”. He announced that the letters would be handed over yesterday (Thursday) itself.

He insisted that although some newspapers carried reports questioning their resignation, none of the resigned MPs had participated in any functions or meetings as Ministers, Cabinet Ministers and Deputies.

The SLMC leader also said that the Muslim Parliamentarians appreciated the gesture of the Mahanayake Theras of all three Nikayas in calling on them to resume their Ministerial roles.

He said as a group they would be meeting the Mahanayake Theras to express their stance on this matter. He added that he wished to assure the Mahanayake Theras that the resignations would not affect the unity between the communities.

Hakeem made these observations in Parliament yesterday when making a statement in response to news reports that appeared in some daily newspapers yesterday.

Rauf Hakeem explained that their joint resignation letter was originally handed over to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Monday but the following day the Prime Minister had asked them to hand over the letters individually to the President. As the Ramazan festival was imminent, almost all the Muslim MPs had gone to their home towns thus making it logistically difficult to submit the letters to the President immediately. He added they had decided to hand over the letters to the President yesterday (Thursday).

MP Rauf Hakeem stated that with the fast staged by Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera and the statements made by Ven. Galagodaatte Gnanasara Thera, Muslims across the country were feeling insecure and that was why they all decided to resign.

Hakeem also said that the Muslim MPs have requested the CID to complete the investigations against Minister Rishard Bathiudeen and the two Governors and inform them of the allegations against them before the 12th of this month.

At this stage MP Dinesh Gunawardena stated that the Secretary to the President had said that the resignation letters have not been received by them. They continue to be the Ministers and the No Confidence Motion is still in the order book. He added that the 19th amendment has the guideline to tender the resignation.

Responding to MP Gunawardena, MP Rauf Hakeem said that there was no amendment made to the procedure for resignation of Ministers by the 19th Amendment. It remained the same. It was a technical matter that had delayed the submission of the resignations to the President.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya ruled that when the resignation letters were handed over, the No Confidence Motion against Minister Rishad Bathiudeen would be removed from the Order Book.



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