Thursday, February 9, 2023


Thursday, February 9, 2023

Gotabaya no-show at Changi – Complications with asylum?

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was a no-show at Changi Airport this morning (14), despite initially being expected to arrive via a Singapore Airlines commercial flight from the Maldives.

Latest reports indicate that Rajapaksa did not board the SQ437 Flight, which arrived in Singapore at 7.50 AM, due to security concerns.

The President, his wife, and their two Security Officers are reportedly waiting to secure a private aircraft to head to Singapore at a later time.

Meanwhile, some Sri Lankans who were at Changi Airport were left disappointed, as they were hoping to express their frustration in person to the beleaguered President, who had left Sri Lanka in economic collapse, the foreign media reported.

About 10 to 20 people were at the Airport but they left after Sri Lanka media reported Rajapaksa did not board the plane, it was reported.

Reuters previously reported that Rajapaksa was headed to Singapore to seek asylum.

But Singapore has, on previous occasions, taken a clear stance on not receiving anyone seeking refuge or asylum.

Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam in a written Parliamentary reply in September 2021, had said “As a small, densely populated country with limited land, Singapore is not in a position to accept any persons seeking political asylum or refugee status.”

This was in response to a question on whether his Ministry would provide options for Myanmar nationals with expiring passes to extend their stay there on compassionate grounds given the political turmoil back home.

Citing a Government source who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the subject, Reuters further reported that Rajapaksa could send his resignation to the Speaker of the Sri Lankan Parliament after landing in Singapore.

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