UNP deputy leader, Housing and Construction Minister Sajith Premadasa called on MP Kabir Hashim to rejoin the Cabinet as soon as possible and take his place in the journey to chart a new political future for all Sri Lankans.
Issuing a statement, Mr. Premadasa said Mr. Hashim, who is the UNP Chairman, set an example to leaders across the political spectrum when he sacrificed his cabinet ministry in solidarity with the Muslim community.
He said this noble gesture by Mr. Hashim comes at a time when people of Sri Lanka see politicians as being self-serving and power hungry. “I believe this act of courage, by a senior Cabinet Minister who has not been accused of extremism or any wrongdoing, has set a high bar for integrity and solidarity.
I understand why Mr. Hashim took this course of action. Seeing his Cabinet colleagues falling victim to hate speech and mob mentality, it was natural for a man who has morals and is decent and also principled like Kabir to stand up to xenophobia and stand firmly between his colleagues and those who preach hatred and division along ethnic and religious lines. Mr. Hashim is a leader who has been elected several times by voters of all communities, both Sinhalese and Tamil and has earned the trust of all religions, Buddhists, Hindus and Christians, in the Kegalle District. Even in 2010, when only 60 UNP MPs were elected to Parliament, Kabir was one of those who won the confidence of his electorate and did the party proud.
Saturday’s protests in the Kegalle District calling upon Kabir Hashim to re-join the Cabinet of Ministers and reclaim his portfolio demonstrates that the people still have confidence in him. Now, more than ever, this country needs experienced, educated professionals like Kabir Hashim to develop and unite our people across artificial cultural boundaries. As the Deputy Leader of the UNP, I believe the party too needs people of Kabir’s calibre on the front-lines of our mission to lead Sri Lanka into the future. Now is not the time for people of his calibre to remain in the shadows. Now is the time for leaders such as him to come forward, step up and play their part in charting the future of the UNP and the country,” Mr. Premadasa said.