Former President and Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLP) leader Mahinda Rajapaksa has opposed moves by the Government to sign the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) agreement before the Presidential election.
Rajapaksa, in a statement, said that before the agreement is signed the contents must be made public.
“The Cabinet has decided to enter into a pact with the Millennium Challenge Corporation of the USA. The Prime Minister in answering a question put to him by the media, stated that the government intends signing this agreement before the presidential elections. It is now just over two weeks to the presidential elections,” Rajapaksa said.
He stressed in the strongest possible terms that no agreement should be hurriedly signed with a foreign Government just days before a decisive presidential election.
“Any such agreement should be signed if at all, only after the presidential election,” he added.
Rajapaksa also said that the contents of the proposed agreement are not known even to parliamentarians let alone the general public.
“Before this agreement is signed, its text should be made public, and presented to Parliament and debated. The information available indicates that this agreement has to do with road development and land reform. However the government has not taken any steps to explain what exactly this entails and what its impact will be on the country. If this agreement will be as beneficial to Sri Lanka as is made out, why is everything shrouded in secrecy? We wish to emphatically state that the Government should not sign this agreement behind the backs of the general public and the Parliament,” Rajapaksa said.
The Cabinet had this week approved the Millennium Challenge Corporation grant of US$ 480 million.