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Terrorists dressed in white ‘NATIONALS’ are among us

19 February 2015 07:07 pm - 7     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Aren’t they worse than Tiger terorists in battle dress?

Sri Lanka was considered one of the most promising new nations, with comparatively high living standards, among the other newly independent developing countries, when it gained independence in 1948.  

It has, however, gradually come down the precipice due to numerous reasons. The country’s under achievement and its economic down-turn can be attributed to a three decade long devastating war, economic insanity,  inward looking policies, implemented in the 1969s and 70s, waste, corruption,  unimaginable extravagant expenses to maintain large Cabinets of Ministers,  the large, decrepit and inefficient public sector and poor governance. 

 The country, furthermore, did not have a sustainable plan for increasing production and productivity and failed to achieve growth in keeping with the increasing population.  Hence the country lagged far behind other Asian countries. 

 The only developing country, equally strong, we could compare at that time in Asia on par with Sri Lanka was Malaysia. The people there enjoyed equal per capita income of US $ 120, similar to us at the time.  Malaysia is a good lesson for Sri Lanka. Malaysians have performed so well better than Germany, Japan and Taiwan.  Malaysia currently according to World Bank’s information on competitiveness holds 18th position, ahead of Germany (19th), Japan (20th), and Taiwan (25th). 

Malaysia is ethnically,  similar to ours, a heterogeneous country where they enjoy an abundance of political and social stability although they became an independent state in 1957.  The Malaysian case is a good example for us. 

 Japan was in ruins after the world war II.  Within 30 years, it emerged as a super power and one of the two main economic rivals of the USA  (Germany was the other).  Similarly, South Korea’s economic conditions were also widely regarded as hopeless after the Korean war and Korea has also now proved to be another miracle economically.  South Korea is currently a threat to Japan for a share of exports in the US and  a few other countries. Taiwan and Hong Kong are also doing so well economically, China now views these two countries with considerable respect.  In addition, Malaysia and Singapore could also be cited  as examples of success stories economically.

The question is why did we fail so badly?  The legal system, the procedures, and the entire government machinery in Malaysia have been engaged in promoting and facilitating the investor, both local and overseas.  In Sri Lanka, it is quite strange, our politicians, from the provincial level to the centre including the bureaucrats have not been equally committed, dedicated, transparent, fair and efficient in order to promote industrial growth similar to Malaysia.  There have been instances where investors had left the country because the politicians had solicited large sums as bribes in order to process approvals.  

In Sri Lanka, we are presently equipped with the necessary infrastructure facilities such as roads, highways, airports etc, which have been improved.  We could now do well if we could provide the other facilities to give a fresh start to industrialise our country in order to facilitate export oriented global trade.  We should clean up CEB and CPC in addition to provide better rates.  This is a dire necessity to create employment and attain economic progress.  It must also not be forgotten that we have an excellent work force in our country with the necessary technical and engineering expertise,  which is an attraction to western corporate investors.

It is imperative that the Parliament should also be a place of sobre minds representing diverse communities,  different economic,  social and political influences, with the yearning to make our country a better place. But, our Parliament has been reduced to a talk shop by nominating thugs, drug dealers and crooks.  

There has been a number of reports presented in Parliament by the COPE having exposed issues of fraud, theft and corruption running in to billions and billions of government money. In addition, there has been instances where Parliamentarians had been accused of large scale corruption etc. and in a bid to dodge prosecution a certain parliamentarian crossed over to  the then ruling UPFA government and was,  thereafter,  appointed Minister of Justice and Law Reform. This is the sad part of democratic governance.

The present government should, therefore, set an example and investigate allegations of fraud,  corruption,  waste,  abuse and mismanagement in order to provide suitable reforms so that rule of law and good governance could be established without delay. 

Sri Lanka’s performance as far as establishing ethnic relations and building up trust and respect mutually has always been at a low ebb.  This needs to be reversed as a priority matter.  This proves that successive governments have flawed since independence to develop  a viable ethnic policy and ethnic relations have bitterly strained due to “horrible state crafting and mediocre statesmanship”.

The President has, therefore, as a timely step, very clearly sent a message to the politicians and public servants that inter-communal relations should be strengthened.  He added that the Parliament which was merely a rubber stamp should permit democratic debate and independence.  The Cabinet of Ministers will be given the necessary authority to function independently.  The public sector which had been totally politicised should be appropriately freed to enable them to perform their duties to the general public.  

It is heartening that the President has also stressed that a Code of Conduct will be introduced to Members of Parliament. The conclusion of the war and the election of a new President has paved the way for ending corruption, mismanagement bad governance and restore economic sanity.  It is indeed a victory for  the masses,  and this should not be viewed lightheartedly.

The President also indicated that Parliamentary elections will be held in the near future.  It must, therefore, be urged that nominations should only be given to persons who will not stoop to low levels.  Long years ago, those who embarked for a political career,  volunteered in order to give their skills and talents to the benefit of the country.  If such practice is re-established, we could no doubt restore the respectability of a politician and it would again truly become an honorary service.  Steps also should be taken to remove the prefix  “Hon.” as the Members of Parliament are presently working for a pay  while enjoying all the perks and numerous benefits costing billions to the Treasury.

The general public cannot bear the huge expenditure to maintain a 225 Members of Parliament together with nearly 300 Provincial councilors. Steps  should be taken to eradicate bribery,  corruption, nepotism etc. from the country without delay. This is again even more difficult than defeating terrorism unleashed by the LTTE.  I must say the terrorists dressed in “White national Costume” amongst us are worse than the Tigers. The former President though he mustered the support of nearly 58 lakhs Sri Lankans,  he lost the elections purely because of his  inaction against the miscreants and bad governance. He was defeated due to the people around him. 

Is it not a tragedy that the previous government permitted germinating and breeding the cancerous growth of corruption,  that has come to be a much discussed national issue today? Is it also not a tragedy that government resources had been pillaged or plundered to be enjoyed by the politician when the kidney patients are suffering without adequate medicines? Politicians in my own analysis are worse than pick-pockets. What a shame!

Ours was a country where the people enjoyed an income much higher  than the Asian neighbours. Sir John Hicks who visited Colombo as an economic adviser to the Sri Lankan Government in the late 1950s had said “If it were not for the population pressure,  the urge for development might not be so  very great,  for there is not at the moment a crushing problem of poverty and malnutrition”. I believe all politicians,  thereafter,  took it so easy and played politics with the country. 

It needs to be remembered that, thereafter, territorial integrity and democratically elected government came under severe pressure both from the JVP and the LTTE.  All these in 1971, 1989 and in 2009 became unsuccessful attempts and government succeeded. If the youth is disregarded, they could re-group and cause a threat to the nation.

Ethnic harmony should become another priority in our motherland.  We should not permit another ethnic conflict to raise its head.  I must quote Dr. N.M. Perera who warned in Parliament in 1956 – “those who sow the wind,  will live to reap the whirlwind.  Race hatred that is being aroused will end in racial disorder and bloodshed.  You just cannot stop this when you start on this slippery road.  There is no end until you reach rock bottom”. 

 Winston Churchill in England had been the most popular PM of all time.  Churchill having won the elections, invited the leaders of the Labour,  Liberal and Conservative parties;  namely Atlee,  Sinclair and Chamberlain to serve in a coalition government at the time of the Second World War. It was Churchill who led the administration in a coalition government to win the war.

I have no doubt, the present Prime Minister, who is widely experienced, and well known to be a master craftsmen has declared that a coalition government will be formed after Parliamentary elections.  It is the only solution to achieve growth in economic and industrial development. 

 Both major parties should drop corrupt, seasoned deal makers in politics.  They should be replaced with good,  honest,  committed and educated people. If politics is also cleaned up a future coalition could do justice to the country and the people. 

The time has come for the delivery of benefits to the country and its people without any discrimination due to religion, race or any other reason.  
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  Comments - 7

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  • pearson Friday, 20 February 2015 08:34 AM

    The article is timely and honest assessment of the country today. However, let me caution that our people will still vote in favour of the past regime to be in power if elections are held today despite the allegations of massive frauds committed by them. The people are narrow minded and only think of victory against LTTE. I hope that the tragic events of the past will not come to haunt us again.

    s kalpage Friday, 20 February 2015 12:14 PM

    fraudsters will continue amassing wealth and their family members too would be introduced into politics unless right laws are enacted soon..

    S. Abeyweera gunawardena Saturday, 21 February 2015 05:06 PM

    A good article with much substance. It is upto the party leaders to select the best people to to the parliament by dropping riff raf...

    Level Friday, 20 February 2015 12:49 PM

    Last president is so corrupt, he is corrupt to the core and he influence all the others around him to corrupt to the core. That is the truth.

    willowsd Friday, 20 February 2015 05:50 PM

    I sincerely hope our political leaders read this article and grab what is for them? Well done Sir, well written and I enjoyed reading

    Wijesekara Saturday, 21 February 2015 02:11 AM

    Beautifully written articles. Has highlighted one of the fundamental problems in Sri Lanka; the majority of short sighted, scrupulous politicians who abuse tax payers money and hinder progress within the country,

    Bonjean THampoe Friday, 20 February 2015 07:13 AM

    Just read this beautiful wrtten balanced article.

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