Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has arrived in Singapore on Thursday (Jul 14) via Maldives after fleeing his country the day before. He was initially expected to arrive here via a Singapore Airlines commercial flight in the morning but he did not board the SQ437 flight because of security concerns. The 73-year-old later secured a private aircraft to head to Singapore at a later time.
Today newspaper reported that about 10 – 20 Sri Lankans who were waiting to meet Rajapaksa were disappointed. They were hoping to express their frustration in person to the beleaguered president who had left Sri Lanka in economic collapse. One person who spoke to the newspaper said that he will consider doing a stakeout once Rajapaksa arrives.
After the Sri Lankan President was given the right of entry, the Police asked “Singaporeans, residents, work pass holders and social visitors alike, abide by our local laws.”
It warned that “Action will be taken against anyone participating in a public assembly that is illegal.”
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHS) confirmed that Rajapaksa had entered Singapore on a “private visit”. Sri Lankans can travel to Singapore without a visa for trips shorter than 30 days.
“He has not asked for asylum and neither has he been granted any asylum. Singapore generally does not grant requests for asylum,” said an MFA spokesperson.
The president, his wife and their two security officers reportedly secured a Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) flight to Singapore and were planning to move to Saudi Arabia from here.
Rajapaksa is said that he will submit his resignation as President of Sri Lanka after he lands in Singapore. The President fled the country after months of inflation-fueled protests gained momentum.
The Independent Singapore understands that several individuals have their expressed disappointment to the Singapore Government for granting entry to Rajapaksa and have sent emails to the MHA and Ministry of Foreign Affairs to protest it.