COLOMBO: Sri Lanka's Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe is facing the wrath of the Cabinet members after he opposed a recently signed deal with China on the strategic Hambantota port.
Rajapakshe in an interview had said that the USD 1.12 billion deal to handover the loss making Hambantota port to China on a long lease was a sell out and he would make sure that it would be taken back and given to the people in the future.
State Minister Harsha De Silva said Rajapakshe had expressed his own opinion on any subject but it is wrong to make a statement on a subject on which a collective decision was taken by the Cabinet of which he was a member.
The government backbencher Mujibur Rahman said, "It was wrong for him to criticise outside what had happened after Cabinet approval."
Cabinet spokesman and Minister of Health Rajitha Senaratne said Rajapakshe does not know the difference between an outright sale and a lease agreement.
Sri Lanka said the deal with China was important to the country's fragile economy amid the huge external debt left behind by former president Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Rajapakshe had made commercial borrowings from China to fund his large infrastructure projects in which he built the sea and airport at Hambantota and the highways in the district – his home base.