Parliament passed three gazette orders (No. 1847/35-37) under the Strategic Development Projects Act, No.14 of 2008, on the 24th and 25th of April. The orders were to approve tax and other such concessions to three different Integrated Super Luxury Tourist Resort Facilities which are tipped to include high end shopping malls, high quality residencies and office spaces plus service spaces.
The orders were controversial because popular opposition had led the government to previously withdraw these orders as the concessions covered casino operations, and these orders seemed designed to smuggle in what was previously withdrawn. The companies receiving these concessions are Queensbury Leisure Pvt. Ltd. (linked to business magnate Mr. Dhammika Perera); Waterfront Properties Pvt. Ltd (linked to John Keels Holdings); and Lake Leisure Holdings (linked to Crown Resorts Ltd. and Mr. Ravi Wijeratne).
The team at Manthri.lk, a pioneering online platform that monitors and ranks all the proceedings and actors in parliament, analysed the voting as recorded in the parliamentary Hansard (links below).
Not a single opposition MP voted for the vote, and the UPFA coalition, perhaps for the first time in the current parliament, expressed wide resistance to the vote with only 104 of its 162 voting strength in parliament, voting for all three orders.
Voting by the SLFP
- Yes for all – 87 MPs
- Absent (Abstained) for all – 27 MPs
- Mixed voting – 11 MPs (as described in Fig. 1)
Other UPFA coalition partners:
- Yes for all – 17 MPs
- No for all – 1 MP (Athuraliye Rathana Thero)
- Absent (Abstained) for all – 14 MPs
- Mixed voting – 5 MPs (as described in Fig. 2)
Digging deeper into UPFA coalition votes
SLMC: All members were absent, and thereby abstained, in all the votes
JHU: voting pattern varied as follows
- Ellawela Medhananda Thero – absent (abstained) for all three
- Athuraliye Rathana Thero – voted NO for all three
- Champika Ranawaka – Abstained for first and voted NO for second and third
UNP crossovers to the UPFA (7 MPs in total) voted in favour of the orders. Except Upeksha Swarnamali who was absent for the 2nd and 3rd gazette votes and Manusha Nanayakkara who was absent for the 1st gazette vote.
Are you surprised with the voting patterns? Do you feel that the government has been treated unfairly? Or do you agree with the dissenting MPs claims that the public have been deceived? SMS your comments to 071-463-9882 or leave a comment on facebook.com/Manthrilk
Please go here for more details on the voting of gazette 1847/35 and here for gazette 1847/36-37.