Parliamentary committees: Opposition seeks lead in COPE, COPA, COPF

By Our Political Editor

The main Opposition, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), has sought President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s agreement to get the Opposition the lead in several key parliamentary committees, which are to be reconstituted following the opening of the third session of the ninth Parliament, it is learnt. 

Accordingly, the SJB has requested that the chairmanships of the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE), Committee on Public Accounts (COPA), and Committee on Public Finance (COPF) be given to the Opposition parties in the House. 

The SJB has continuously maintained that the former heads of these committees, although seated in the Opposition as independent members, were representatives of the Government side – the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP). 

Chief Opposition Whip MP Lakshman Kiriella questioned Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena regarding the leadership of these committees being vested with the Opposition on Wednesday (10), in response to which the Speaker nodded and Kiriella agreed and sat down thereafter.

Opposition and SJB Leader Sajith Premadasa has already informed President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Parliament that the SJB will extend its support to the Government to resolve the ongoing crisis situation in the country.

He has added that the SJB will not join the proposed all-party government, but will support the Government through the parliamentary committee system. 

SJB sources told The Sunday Morning that SJB MP Dr. Harsha de Silva is to be appointed as the chairman of COPF with the President’s consent.