Former Sri Lankan president Rajapaksa not given privileges, immunity: Vivian Balakrishnan

File photo of former Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who left the country and resigned on July 15, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Sri Lanka's former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa was not accorded any privileges, immunity or hospitality in Singapore.

In a written reply to a parliamentary question on Monday (Aug 1), Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said: "In general, the Singapore Government does not accord privileges, immunity and hospitality to former heads of state or heads of government.

"Consequently, former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa was not accorded any privileges, immunity or hospitality."

Mr Rajapaksa landed in Singapore on July 14 on a Saudia flight from the Maldives and was issued a 14-day visit pass.

His visit pass was later extended by another 14 days and will expire on Aug 11.

He had fled Sri Lanka amid a deepening economic crisis and widespread protests against his government as soaring inflation affected the prices of basic necessities such as food and fuel.

Shortly after he arrived in Singapore, Mr Rajapaksa tendered his resignation, which was officially announced by the Sri Lanka Parliament on July 15.

His ally and former prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was voted in by lawmakers as the new president on July 20.

The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said in response to media queries last week that visitors from Sri Lanka who enter Singapore for social visits will generally be issued with a short-term visit pass with a duration of up to 30 days.

Those who need to extend their stay here may apply online for an extension and applications will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, added ICA.

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