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Friday, May 24, 2024

Sampanthan clarifies the issue of occupying an official residence

Statement of urgent public importance pertaining to the Bungalow of the Leader of the Opposition and other matters related thereto.

Dear Hon. Speaker,

You recognized me as the Leader of the Opposition of the Sri Lankan Parliament in September 2015.

At that time, for over twenty years, as a Member of Parliament, I had been occupying the Summit Flats 2D, where I climbed and descended 60-70 steps every time I entered the flat or left the flat. Given my age, I’m well past eighty (80), this was very inconvenient and difficult but I put up with it.

I was given the bungalow for the Leader of the Opposition only in September 2017, two years after I became the Leader of the Opposition, and I was able to move into the Opposition Leader’s Bungalow only in September 2017, two years later.

While they were looking for a bungalow for me, the former President suggested to me that I rent out a bungalow. I did not want to do that on account of the exorbitant cost it would have entailed.

Other facilities provided to me as the Leader of the Opposition were attached to the bungalow and the staff.

I did not request either the Hon. Speaker, Mr. Karu Jayasuriya, or the Hon. Prime Minister, Mr. Ranil Wickermasinghe, to permit me to continue to occupy the Opposition Leader’s Bungalow. Whatever action they took, they did according to their own will. The other facilities that have continued were also in terms of that decision.

Following the October 2018 Constitutional crisis, both the then Prime Minister, Hon. Mahinda Rajapaksa and the then Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Ranil Wickermasinghe exchanged positions, which happened at the same time.

My removal as the leader of the Opposition also occurred at the same time.

The only other facility not referred to so far is vehicle number CAT 1094, a Benz motor car. The vehicle was handed over to me on 30/1/2017. I sent the vehicle to the new Leader of the Opposition on 7/1/2019.

During the two years the vehicle was in my possession, it has done only 2082 kilometers, showing how sparingly the vehicle was used.

I have been saddened by what has happened. This ugly situation should not continue.

R. Sampanthan
Member of Parliament
Parliamentary group leader – Illankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK)/ 



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