Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has questioned Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa’s stand on the controversial Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) agreement.
In a statement today, the Prime Minister said that while Premadasa is now speaking against the deal, he was part of the cabinet which approved it when the United National Party (UNP) was in power.
“We hear the newly appointed Opposition Leader and other Parliamentarians of the UNP making frequent references to the controversial MCC pact. The Opposition Leader states on the public platform that the MCC pact should be torn up and that he will not allow the present government to implement it. Last week, the UNP Opposition Leader was even seen telling the Most Venerable Mahanayaka Theras that the MCC pact should be torn up. Other MPs of the UNP have been making similar statements. I have been listening to all this with amazement. Just weeks ago, the present Opposition Leader was a leading member of the UNP Cabinet in his capacity as the Deputy Leader of the UNP,” the Prime Minister said.
Rajapaksa recalled that when he was Opposition Leader he had urged the UNP Government not to sign the agreement without informing Parliament and the general public about its contents.
“I also pointed out to them that it was unethical and unacceptable to hastily sign an agreement with another country with just days to go to the Presidential election. My stand was that the decision whether to sign the MCC pact or not should be left to whoever obtains the people’s mandate at the Presidential election. The present Opposition Leader who was then the Deputy Leader of the UNP and a key member of the UNP Cabinet remained completely silent about the MCC pact that was being promoted by his own government. He did not make any mention of it even during the Presidential election campaign,” Rajapaksa said.
Rajapaksa said that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has appointed a committee to study the contents of the MCC pact that the UNP Cabinet approved last October and once the findings of this Committee are available, the new Government will inform Parliament and the general public about the course of action they intend taking with regard to this matter.