By Shamindra Ferdinando
Skills Development and Vocational Training Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe has accused former President Mahinda Rajapaksa of not being consistent with his condemnation of violence directed at innocent persons. Addressing the media at the Government Information Department on Tuesday (Sept. 6), Minister Samarasinghe castigated the former President for seeking political mileage in the wake of an unprovoked attack on Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in Malaysia Ibrahim Sahib Ansar last Sunday (Sept.4).
Samarasinghe said the former President had remained silent when the then Foreign Ministry Monitoring MP Sajin Vass Gunawardena assaulted Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to the UK Dr Chris Nonis in New York in Sept. 2014 though he now called the Kuala Lumpur incident an attack on Sri Lanka.
Anti-Rajapaksa activists pounced on Ansar in the Kuala Lumpur airport after he accompanied some of the Sri Lankan delegates returning home after attending ICAPP conference in Kuala Lumpur. Former President Rajapaksa too had been in Kuala Lumpur at the time of the incident.
Minister Samarasinghe asked whether the former President had remained tight lipped because he wasn’t concerned about the attack on Dr Nonis.
The Vocational Training Minister appreciated the action taken by the government of Malaysia in the wake of the unfortunate incident at the Kuala Lumpur airport.
Commenting on the on-going dispute with the SLFP Joint Opposition, Samarasinghe stressed that under the leadership of President Maithripala Sirisena plans were underway to revamp the party. The SLFP would soon reveal plans in that regard, he said, adding that the Joint Opposition effort to undermine the SLFP’s 65th anniversary had come a cropper.
In the run-up to the Kurunegala event those SLFPers with the JO had desperately had tried to discourage SLFPers from participating at the event, he said. The Minister said various disgruntled elements had repeatedly declared in both print and electronic media that Bala Mandalayas representing all electorates had been unanimous in their decision to boycott the event.