SLPP backs Opp. move to suspend MP caught smuggling gold, phones

Did Raheem make a Customs declaration in Dubai?

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) yesterday backed an Opposition move to suspend MP Ali Sabri Raheem from the Parliament over gold smuggling.MP Raheem, elected to Parliament from the Puttalam district, on the Muslim National Alliance (MNA) ticket, switched his allegiance to the SLPP, at the very beginning of his parliamentary career. The MNA was re-registered as United National Alliance (UNA) soon after the last General Election.

The decision to request Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena to suspend the MP was taken at a meeting chaired by Deputy Speaker Ajith Rajapaksa. The SLPP’s consent to suspend MP Raheem has been given by its General Secretary, Sagara Kariyawasam.

Political sources quoted former Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa as having told the meeting, chaired by the Deputy Speaker, that the Speaker had the power to suspend the MP.In spite of being a government member, MP Raheem, on Wednesday (24), voted against a government motion to sack the Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission, Janaka Ratnayake.

Among those present at the meeting were Opposition and SJB leader Sajith Premadasa, Tamil Progressive Alliance leader Mano Ganesan, TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran, Chief Opposition Whip Lakshman Kiriella, Leader of the House Susil Premjayantha, SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem, Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera, Environment Minister Nazeer Ahamed, Eran Wickremaratne and Gajendra Kumar Ponnambalam.

Sources said that the issue at hand has been raised by SJB leader Premadasa at the Business Committee meeting, called by the Speaker’s Office.However, All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) leader Rishad Bathiudeen, who nominated businessman Raheem to contest from the Puttalam District on the MNA ticket, wasn’t present at the meeting.

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Source:: The Island