Former Finance Minister Ronnie de Mel who served in the J.R. Jayewardene government and presented 11 successive budgets said Sri Lanka needs more of socialism if its economy was to survive.
Mr. de Mel who was a pioneer in introducing the open market economy in Sri Lanka made these remarks when Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa called on him to wish him for his 96th birthday recently.
“We cannot worship capitalism anymore. The norm today is to earn by hook or by crook. However, what we need is fair play. We need to bring the Buddhist philosophy into the economy. Buddhism teaches fair play more than other faiths. Sri Lanka should be with the poor man. What Sri Lanka needs is equitable growth," Mr. De Mel was heard telling Mr. Premadasa in the video clip which was released by the opposition Leader's office.
"We need to bring in a radical change like in 1977. Everyone thought that Sri Lanka was going to crash in the 1970s. However, we changed things. We brought about a new economy. We had good people like late Lalith Athulathmudali and Gamini Dissanayake during that time. J. R. Jayewardene was also a good leader," he said.
Mr. Premadasa invited Mr. De Mel to advise Samagi Jana Balawegaya on the economy. He agreed but said he would not do it in a political manner. "My policy is to uplift the country. If I have changed political parties in the past I have done it for the sake of the country," Mr. De Mel said. (Yohan Perera)