A dispute over the SAITM medical college erupted in Parliament yesterday, with the Opposition questioning the legitimacy of the institution while the government stated that it would ensure that no laws were broken.
The argument broke out when JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake tabled a report, prepared by the Deans of eight leading universities in the country, which questioned the legitimacy of SAITM. “Why is the Higher Education Minister being stubborn about this matter? Why has he failed to close this illegal private Medical College?”
Minister Kiriella said that there was a case pending in the Supreme Court over the issue. “I am not stubborn. One must realize that a court case is pending and the verdict is due on 30 January this year. Reliable sources have provided information to the effect that University students are planning to surround the Supreme Court in protest on 30 January.”
Leader of the Joint Opposition in Parliament Dinesh Gunawardana then questioned as to why the Government had allowed SAITM to remain when even the Sri Lanka Medical Council had not given its approval to the private institute.
Kurunegala District UPFA MP Mahinda Rajapaksa, joining in, pointed out that the problem could not be resolved by apprehending university students.
Minister Kiriella then charged that those in the former regime, which funded the establishment of the SAITM, were now opposing it.
“It is your Government which gave a loan of Rs 600 million to Neville Fernando and now you all are opposing it,” he said.
(Source: Ceylon Today – By Skandha Gunasekara)