The UNP today warned the government against moves to make the Army take on ‘profitable ventures,’ stating it sets a dangerous precedent and could result in a situation similar to that of Egypt.
The UNP said it was against the Army taking on ‘business’ ventures because it would most certainly be a dangerous threat to a democratic country and its democratic governance.
Speaking at a press briefing, MP Ajith P. Perera said a recent cabinet paper was submitted in order to make the Army conduct ventures which were profitable.
“The best example we have is Egypt where the democratically elected President Morsi was made to sign a contract to the effect that the government would not impede on any of the ventures undertaken by the Army including the investments of the Army and other corporate ventures,” he said.
Perera said the attempt to provide the Army the ability to take on a ‘corporate role’ would result in a ‘government within a democratically elected government” functioning in the country.
“In Egypt the democratically elected President couldn’t do anything about the wide authority that the Army has which the Army gained through money making businesses. When the government tried to build up business and corporate entities that would compete with the Army, the Army swiftly overthrew the government” he said.
The MP reiterated that the duty of the Army was to provide national security and therefore the Army should be confined to that task and to provide security to a democratically elected government.
“The running of businesses and corporations should be left to the private and state business entities. The Army should not at any point get involved in such acitivites which will pose a grievous threat both in the long term and the short term to democratically elected regimes,” he added. (Sanath Desmond)