Ministerial Swearing-in Postponed
[TamilNet, Friday, 22 September 2000, 21:44 GMT]
The swearing in ceremony of Mr.Rauf Hakeem, co-leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, as a Cabinet Minister scheduled to be held Friday morning has been put off for Monday as the party leadership failed to receive official intimation from the Presidential Secretariat. SLMC sources said that this was due to internal squabbling over the ministerial posting.
The politburo of the SLMC decided to appoint Mr.Rauff Hakeem as cabinet minister in place of Mr.Ashraff who died in a helicopter crash last week. Mr.Hakeem's name was sent to the President who had earlier promised a SLMC's delegation that a member of SLMC would be appointed as Cabinet Minister.
But some SLMC members from the eastern province oppose Mr.Hakeem's appointment overlooking Mr.M.L.A.M.Hisbullah, who has been holding a Deputy Minister post in the PA government since 1994.
They say that after the sudden death of the founder leader Mr.Ashraff, the leadership of the SLMC has gone to the hands of the people outside the eastern province. (One leader is from Kandy and the other is from Gampola).
One of the co-leaders of the SLMC, Mrs Ferial Ashraff, is also opposed to Mr.Hakeem's appointment as a Cabinet Minister. She is said to have informed the President of her objection, party sources said. Hence the sudden cancellation of today's swearing in ceremony, the sources added.