Written by Staff Writer
17 May, 2019 | 8:57 pm
Colombo (News 1st): Parliamentarians in the Sectoral Oversight Committee on Education and Human Resources Development visited the Batticaloa Campus today (May 17).
The Batticaloa campus located in Punani was the subject of much controversy among the general public.
Though the MPs led by Chairman of the sub-committee on Higher Education Professor Ashu Marasinghe entered the premises the media was denied entry. However, following the intervention of Ven. Dimbulagala Rahulankara Thero, the media was granted entry.
Speaking to the media Chairman of the Sectoral Oversight Committee Ashu Marasinghe noted that they will call in various other state institutions and discuss this further next week. He added that the report on the inspection will be presented to parliament within 6 weeks to parliament and after that, it will be presented to the cabinet.
Marasinghe said the first request for permission to function as an educational institute was submitted in July 2015 by the then deputy minister Hizbullah in his capacity as the Chairman.
When questioned if there was a proposal for the Batticaloa Campus to be taken over by the government Marasinghe stated that he presented a private MPs motion. He added that they inquired if the Chairman and board of directors would agree to run this institute with the government on a private-public partnership. He said that this institution is suitable for any education activity except for religious education.
This is what the Chairman of the Batticaloa Campus M.L.A.M. Hizbullah said;
“We have officially handed over 9 subjects to the Ministry of Higher Education. See if the subject Shariya was mentioned there. We have not said that Shariya or Islam will be taught. No religious subjects will be taught if religious subjects are being taught it will be done after receiving approval from the Ministry of Higher Education. We have officially taken a loan of Rupees 3600 million rupees through the Bank of Ceylon from an institution in Saudi Arabia named Juf Ali. Every rupee that we spent from this Rupees 3600 million rupees has been presented to the Inland Revenue Department every year. This cannot be taken over by the government legally. They do not have any right. This is a private institution. They cannot take it over without gazetting it. If the government presents a proposal on how this could be done we are willing to discuss with them. Actually speaking I have no connection to Zahran. I met him just once and that was during the general elections in 2015. During elections, we meet all religious leaders and he was also the leader of the National Thawheed Jamath. I met him. All parties were present there. But at the previous presidential election, he worked against me. He spoke out at mosques against my candidature. He worked against me.”
When questioned if he has an agreement with Zahran during the election period, he noted that they all did and everyone signed it.
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