Gazettes No. 2 and 3 under the Strategic Development Projects Act were passed in Parliament today despite the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), a coalition party of the ruling UPFA government, voting against both bills.
Gazette No. 2 was passed with a majority of 68 votes with 112 members voting for and 44 voting against while Gazette No. 3 was passed with a majority of 65 votes, with 109 for and 44 against.
The JHU voted against both orders while the National Freedom Front (NFF) and Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), both constituent parties of the UPFA, were absent during the vote.
The two orders provide recognition and certain concession for Australian crown Resorts Ltd’s US$ 400 million hotel complex and US$ 850 million John keels Water Front mixed development projects.
These projects include 500 room luxury hotels, shopping complexes, apartments, convention facilities, fine dining, restaurants and other associated facilities.
Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa informed Parliament today that the waterfront and lake leisure projects do not allow for the operating of casinos.
The Gazette No. 1 tabled under the Strategic Development Projects Act, for the US$ 350 million Queensbury resort project, was passed in Parliament yesterday with a majority of 71 votes with 113 members voting in favour and 42 voting against.
JHU’s Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thero had also voted against the 1st gazette, providing for the mixed development project in D.R. Wijewardena Mawatha.
At a press conference earlier today he stressed that their decision to vote against the gazette is not an attempt to topple the government but a responsibility towards Buddhism carried out with the intention of directing a “friend” on the right path.