Heated debate takes place in Parliament on NYT allegations

A heated debate took place in Parliament today on the New York Times (NYT) article which alleged that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa had received funds from a Chinese company operating in Sri Lanka for his election campaign in 2015.

The debate took place after a motion was submitted to Parliament on the allegations by United National Party (UNP) Parliamentarian Thushara Indunil Amarasena.

Amarasena said that Rajapaksa must respond to the allegations in Parliament yet he was not in Parliament today.

The joint opposition accused Amarasena of not knowing what the contents of the article was despite submitting the motion for a debate.

Joint opposition Parliamentarian Keheliya Rambukwella said that it is customary that the motion is read in full for it to be taken for a debate.

Parliamentarian Dinesh Gunawardena said that if a motion is taken for a debate then the motion and relevant section must be first read out in full.

However the UNP said that the article had been re-published in the local media and so the contents were widely known.

Amarasena said that the joint opposition must respond to the allegations or take NYT to court instead of threatening the local journalists who assisted the newspaper with logistics for the article.

He said that local journalists Dharisha Bastians and Arthur Wamanan had been threatened for assisting NYT. (Colombo Gazette)

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