This government is afraid of intelligent people - Mangala

8 October 2012 06:30 pm - 8     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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UNP MP Mangala Samaraweera speaks on the University Teachers’ crisis, the pressure on the judiciary and the perceived stock market mafia. Excerpts of the interview follow. Log on to www.dailymirror.lk to hear his comments on “girlfriend companies”, the opposition’s preparation for an upcoming change and the Malaka Silva case.


 

FUTA

Q. The Universities have now been closed for over three months, in which areas has the government fallen short when dealing with this crisis?
I really don’t think the government understands the problem and neither does it have the political will to resolve this problem. The government doesn’t understand the demands of the Federation of University Teachers' Associations (FUTA), they are merely looking at it as a struggle for higher wages, but the struggle has now taken on a wider significance—simply because they are now fighting for the very survival of the educational system.

I would say that one has to see what is happening with FUTA, as well as other spheres, in the background of what has happened in this country in the last several years—especially since the end of the war. Many people celebrated the end of the war, because they thought they would be able to reap the benefits of the peace dividend and achieve the development that has eluded us ever since independence. People hoped that these benefits would be seen in the health sector and the education sector.

However, three and a half years later everyone is left to question where the peace dividend has gone. We are now worse off than before. The peace dividend has not materialised at all, except for about one percent of the population, who are orbiting around the centre of power. A few individuals and the stock market mafia are doing well—people are left to question how it is that these people are making so much of money, while the rest of the country is suffering, hardships like never before.
The education system is facing severe challenges like never before, the health sector is being plagued by corruption and misuse of power and the rule of law is non-existent. Therefore this FUTA issue has come about due to the people’s dissatisfaction with the overall management by this government.

Even the services which were being maintained with difficulty during the period of the war are now being cutback on severely. The education sector is only 1.8 per-cent, we all know this now because of FUTA, whereas for the Maldives it is over 5 per-cent. There was a time when the prominent leaders of the Maldives received their education in Sri Lanka, the way matters are progressing we might end up having to send our students to the Maldives.

In my mind, we are purposely and cynically running down the education system in this country, because this government is frightened by intelligent people, this government is afraid of academics. This government appreciates brawn and not brains.

If we took the money that we lost in the hedging deal and channelled it towards education I think that we could have averted this crisis. The recurrent expenditure of the universities could have been increased by 4 per-cent, if this loss had not been incurred.



Q. The UNP has expressed its support to the FUTA and this has drawn criticism that the UNP is trying to piggy-back on the support that FUTA is able to command. How do you respond to this?
No, as a responsible political party, one does have to hitch-yourself to the political movements and problems of the day. If you actually avoid such an issue then you are being a very irresponsible opposition. As the main political party and the government in waiting we have a duty to the people of this country, to support to this cause, which we have done totally—I don’t see anything wrong with this. Further the UNP has a very good track record, as far as education goes—C.W.W Kanangara was a UNP Minister.
If the government was politically astute they too would have taken up this issue.
 

 

Stock market mafia

Q. You mentioned the stock market mafia; every time this issue is brought up with the government they deny its existence and claim that action is being taken to remedy the situation.
The Securities and Exchange Commission today has become a stooge of the government, but what more do you expect, when the new chairman of the SEC was someone already under investigation. Therefore appointing this person was like giving the chicken coop to a fox. Today I say with responsibility that the Colombo Stock Exchange is the premier centre for money laundering east of the Suez Canal. This is where money laundering is done and it is being carried out by this mafia of crooks. Of course when we are talking of this mafia of crooks, the next question you will ask me is: who is the godfather of this mafia? That is the million dollar question.

We have to look at this in the context of what Sri Lanka has become today— a fully fledged kleptocracy and the kleplocrats have to find ways and means of laundering their money and this is how the stock market has become a den for the activities of a certain class of people in Sri Lanka to launder their money.
 

Corruption

Q. You speak with authority on the  inner workings of the stock market, but why is it that the UNP is not calling for investigations into these incidents and if you have concrete evidence which the government and the SEC cannot deny, then why is it not being presented and spoken of openly?
We have enough and more data and we are the ones who have been  speaking about it and investigating into the companies. I have details which I can use to prove that the Highways Ministry is one of the most corrupt ministries in the country and that it is using the “development drive” to rob this country dry—it is literally highway robbery. I have the details of thirteen packages that the government started, with Chinese funding right after the war. With these details I can prove that someone, somewhere has made 50,581 Million Rupees only from these thirteen packages. That means someone has made 46.2 Million Rupees on every Kilo metre of highways built.



Q. But what will you do with this information?
 Where do we go with these? Where are we supposed to go with these in a country that is more or less controlled by the executive? After the 18th Amendment we don’t have an independent bribery commission, we don’t have an independent human rights commission and we don’t have an independent police commission. The judiciary is under severe pressure to tow the line of the government. Therefore where do we go? We have enough and more to be investigated, but who will do it?



Q. Essentially then the job of the opposition is useless? Because you can present all of these facts but you have no power to do anything about it?
In a sense all the parliamentary procedures that we could have resorted to before, is a bit irrelevant—because even parliament has become a mere rubber seal for the presidency. Within that context, there is nowhere we can go to but to the people. This was what happened in Egypt for 40 years and this was what happened in Tunisia. Finally there were no institutions which were able to deal with corruption in the normal manner, so the people decided to take the situation into their own hands.



Q. You are saying that the only way for any significant changes, until the government changes over in 2016, is for the people to take the situation into their own hands and revolt?
Of course. I think that the government will be compelled to go for a general election before the next four years and may be even a presidential election after a constitutional amendment. Under the present circumstances we are certain that a big change will come by 2014 and we are getting our machinery ready for this change, because the people will call for it. it is only when there is a changeover in government that the true enormity of the corruption of the present government will be revealed.
We have facts, figures and documents—but nowhere to take these.
 

 

JSU

Q. There has been a perception of pressure on the Judiciary, however many government ministers claim that there is no such pressure and it was a mere administrative issue that was portrayed incorrectly to the public by the Secretary of the Judicial Service Commission.
Long before this statement by the JSC Secretary, the opposition has been raising this issue of pressure on the judiciary. Again we have to go back to the 8th of September 2010 when the government bulldozed in the 18th Amendment, through an artificially managed two-thirds majority and the President orchestrated a power-grab. From that day onwards all these institutions were under pressure to tow the line. By doling out various positions to key members of the judiciary, I think, the executive thought that it could control the judiciary. But fortunately for Sri Lanka the judiciary has shown that they are independent people and they are not willing to compromise the independence of the judiciary. This is bugging the administration and this is why they have unleashed a diabolical campaign against the Secretary of the JSC.



Q. There have been a number of allegations against him.
But they only started focusing on these from the day he refused to compromise his integrity and meeting with the president. If there is going to be an impartial, credible investigation—then no problem. But why are they slinging mud? They are making insinuations about the JSC members and their personal lives.  
These are the same tactics that dictators around the world have been using, when they could not control the judiciary. Thankfully the people are realizing the true face of this administration and lawyers, the Bar Association and others are asserting their independence. Of course asserting their independence does not mean supporting the opposition.


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  Comments - 8

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  • Leelananda Wednesday, 10 October 2012 07:20 AM

    Definitely, that what he means. he is not a monkey, that is too good for him. he is a bloody donkey.

    Cock Jesus Tuesday, 09 October 2012 05:29 AM

    You mean to say your intelligent ........monkey who jumps from one tree to another...

    Fusion Tuesday, 09 October 2012 06:32 AM

    Intelligent people? Don't worry, that means it doesn't include you. I still remember your campaign against the UNF govt in 2004 and the garbage you used to spit when you were CBK's puppets. It certainly wasn't "Intelligent". The correct phrase would be "Successive Governments of SL have been afraid of intelligent people".

    Devaka Wednesday, 10 October 2012 10:53 AM

    Which is why the govt is not afraid of your party leader

    Aladeen Tuesday, 09 October 2012 08:24 AM

    well then no worries for you they wont be afraid of you

    Lankan_Kolla Tuesday, 09 October 2012 08:20 AM

    Nothing to worry about you sir! haha

    Kalu Sudda Thursday, 11 October 2012 12:48 PM

    OMG.

    rave Tuesday, 09 October 2012 12:00 AM

    this guy is responsible fo all the problems we face tday via DM Android App


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