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No Sri Lanka leaders at WIEF

 | November 28, 2012

Talk that former Sri Lanka president Chandrika Kumaratunga will replace Mahindra Rajapaksa at the World Islamic Economic Forum in Johor Baru is unfounded.

PETALING JAYA: Sri Lanka is not participating or sending anyone as speakers to the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) that is scheduled to be held next week in Johor Baru.

This was confirmed by the organisers WIEF Foundation secretariat and the Sri Lanka High Commission envoy today.

On the WIEF list of 63 dignitaries and speakers, which also includes Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and International Trade and Industries Minister Mustapa Mohamed, there was not a single Sri Lankan leader listed.

The list is available for public purview on its website.

An official from WIEF Foundation, who declined to be named, also confirmed that they did not extend an invitation to any Sri Lankan leader.

Widespread rumours of a Sri Lankan leader attending the WIEF had led to protests from the Indian community in Malaysia.

The Indians, especially from the ethnic Tamil community, have been critical against the Sri Lankan government following the deaths of 40,000 Tamil civilians during a 29-year civil war against the Liberation of Tamil Tigers Eelam that ended in 2009.

Initially, various Indian groups protested against the rumoured arrival of Sri Lankan President, Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The Sri Lankan High Commission, however, confirmed on Sunday that Rajapaksa will not attend the international forum.

The issue did not die off altogether.

Objection letters

A flush of SMS messages this week noted that Sri Lanka’s former president, Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, who ruled from 1994 to 2005, would be attending the forum on behalf of the president.

The message stated: “War criminal Rajapaksa has cancelled his visit to Malaysia but he will be represented by ex-president, Chandrika Kumaratunga. What is the difference between Rajapaksa and Kumaratunga? The only difference is Rajapaksa killed more innocent Tamils.”

This morning, an NGO calling itself Tamilar Action Force, in response to the SMSes, sent objection letters to the WIEF secretariat.

Meanwhile, Sri Lankan envoy, Deputy High Commissioner Major-General Lalit Daulagala told FMT that they were not aware of plans for Kumaratunga to attend the WIEF.

“It is not to our knowledge. Invitations are normally given to the head of state.

“Our president could not come and our prime minister (Disanayaka Mudiyanselage Jayaratne) is ailing,” said Daulagala.

Also read:

NGOs protest against Sri Lanka president’s arrival

Sri Lankan president won’t be visiting M’sia


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