Restructuring of CEB not a matter that can be addressed solely through SC determination – Prof. Peiris



G. L. Peiris

Alleging that the Wickremesinghe-Rajapaksa combine was in an indecent hurry to privatise the Ceylon Electricity Board on the pretext of restructuring, dissident SLPP MP Prof. G. L. Peiris yesterday (29) said that the issues arising out of the move couldn’t be addressed by seeking the Supreme Court determination in that regard.

Addressing the media at his Kirula Road residence, the former law professor pointed out that the SC would determine whether the relevant Bill would be compatible with the Constitution.

Acknowledging the pivotal importance of the SC determination in respect of the relevant Bill, the former External Affairs Minister found fault with the government for not discussing the vital issue with stakeholders in and out of Parliament.

A section of the SLPP dissidents, led by Prof. Peiris, has aligned with the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB). Prof. Peiris questioned the rationale in pushing ahead with the privatization of the CEB in the run-up to the presidential election scheduled for Sept/Oct this year.

On behalf of the Opposition, Prof. Peiris urged the Wickremesinghe-led government to put on hold the proposed CEB restructuring plan meant to break-up the state enterprise into eight sections.

The ex-top law academic emphasized that it would be a grave mistake on the part of the government to deal with this particular issue on the basis of the SC determination alone.

Prof. Peiris said that the ruling SLPP couldn’t throw its weight behind President Wickremesinghe move to sell state enterprises in violation of mandates received at presidential and parliamentary polls in 2019 and 2020, respectively.

The former Minister reminded the SLPP that it secured 145 seats, including 17 National List slots, at the last general election, whereas UNP leader Wickremesinghe couldn’t even retain his Colombo District seat. The UNP was reduced to just one NL slot, Prof. Peiris said, reiterating the Opposition call for the suspension of privatization until the conclusion of the presidential poll.

The ex-Minister questioned whether the government pursued a hidden agenda in seeking to privatize key institutions ahead of the presidential poll. (SF)