Sri Lanka’s Opposition SJB Files No Confidence Motion Against Speaker Over Online Safety Bill Controversy

Sri Lanka’s leading opposition party, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), has submitted a no-confidence motion against the Speaker of Parliament, accusing him of approving the contentious Online Safety Bill in alleged contravention of Supreme Court directives.

On Monday, February 26, the SJB announced that the motion is in response to Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena’s “severe negligence and disrespect for the country’s supreme law.”

“The Speaker has violated the people’s and parliament’s trust. It’s crucial to rally together for openness and responsibility,” the party stated.

In addition to SJB leader and Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa, Senior Opposition MP and SJB representative Lakshman Kiriella, and SJB National Organizer MP Tissa Attanayake, ex-government officials now siding with the SJB under the Samagi Jana Alliance banner also endorsed the motion. Signatories include MPs G L Peiris, Chandima Weerakkody, and Shan Wijayalal de Silva.

MP Shan Wijayalal de Silva, who recently defected from the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) to join the SJB, was formerly the Senior Vice President of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), a key member of the then SLPP-led ruling coalition, before joining the opposition.

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP M A Sumanthiran, an outspoken opponent of the bill, also signed the motion.