Minister Mervyn Silva’s son Malaka Silva recently stated that he would start his political journey from Matara. The following is an interview with the SLFP Party Organiser of Matara and the deputy Minister of postal services and former Sri Lankan cricketer, Sanath Jayasuriya regarding this statement amongst other issues.
Q The England tour ended with victory in an entire tournament. What do you think of it?
I am really happy. All players acted with team spirit including the leader, senior players and the coaches. They fulfilled their responsibility well. It is an unforgettable journey.
Q Marvan Atapattu became the coach of the team all of a sudden. There was talk in the air that it was a wrong appointment. What is your opinion of Marvan?
Yes. Some people criticised his appointment. The England tournament was a very difficult one. So, it was not good enough for us to give him only one. That is why he was given two. However, Marvan fulfilled his responsibility 100%.
Q Are you satisfied as a politician?
Yes, of course. Politics is a place full of challenges. Just like the game of cricket.
There are senior politicians in Matara. Minister Dallas is the district leader.We have gone on a long journey with him in the Matara District.
Q If Matara is so politically strong, why couldn’t you hold ‘Deyata Kirula” in Matara.?
The University students protested. So, we decided that this type of development
would be unsuccessful despite protests. We discussed with the President and
brought it to Kamburupitiya. We were able to bring half of it to the Mahinda
Rajapaksa Vidyalaya over there. I think it was a big success.
Q If you are a clever politician, why are they going to appoint some candidates from outside?
The candidates from outside will not be appointed to the best of my knowledge.
Q But, this story is on the media now.
Yes, I also came to know about it from the media.
Q What was your opinion about the news?
The people who live in Matara are very intelligent. They use their brain well before voting and use their preference. They come to a decision about the candidates based on their history, the service rendered by them etc., before voting. There are various kinds of people who come to Matara from time to time. Some candidates came during the last southern election period too.
Q Who are they?
He is no more. The people responded well when they arrived. There are lairs who
are liable to come. The intelligent people in Matara would respond correctly in due course. I give my opinion about this because I asked the question. Otherwise, I could have been silent until the people act.
Q Let us come to the point now. It is Minister Mervin Silva’s son who comes to Matara.
I came to know from the Newspapers.
Q Isn’t it a challenge for you if Malaka Silva would come?
There is no challenge for me at all. This character and I are poles apart. Those had acted like thugs, would not have achieved anything according to history.
What he has done in the past is not a patch on mine. The people in Matara will not allow them to unleash terror in Matara like Kelaniya.
Q Malaka says that he had a lot of relatives in Matara. According to him, Matara is a vote-base for him. Isn’t it a challenge for you?
No not at all. When I first contested for Matara. I came first in the district. The people are aware that this Matara lad had brought fame to the country. They have a high regard for me as their relative. I do not want to create new relatives. We all are human beings. It is the same blood that circulates in our bodies. People know. “Those who live with the dogs, have to go out with the fleas also.”
Q Can’t you come to the conclusion that Malaka might get a chance as there is a necessity for a permanent politician for Matara?
It is Matara where I live. I have not lost the common touch with the people In Matara. I am there for the ups and downs of those people. I am the Chairman of the District Development Committee. I have worked with Minister Dallas unitedly. I have fulfilled all the problems of the people. I go everywhere I can go. If I am unable to go, my brother or co-ordinating secretary goes. People are aware of it.
Q You are a world renowned cricketer and an internationally famed figure. So how have you used this factor to the benefit of the people of Matara?
There is developmental work being carried out in Matara under the instructions of the President. There is now an expressway in Matara. All other main roads have been carpeted. The Matara town has been developed greatly. Another achievement for Matara is the ‘Deyata Kirula’. The government offices have been relocated to better locations. A new government hospital is being built in Kamburugamuwa. History has never seen such developments in Matara. Anyone passing through Matara can witness these developments.
Q Do you think Malaka Silva is an outsider to Matara?
Well I have not seen Malaka Silva living in Matara. I on the other hand was born and raised in Matara; I went to school in Matara my whole student life. I first played for Matara before I came to play in Colombo.
My identity is in Matara.Anybody can come to Matara and do what they wish. However, I am not going to allow anybody to bring violence and terror to Matara. I don’t think the people of Matara wish for terror, violence, guns and bombs in their hometown. They want to continue to live in peace and harmony.
Q Well, Malaka claims that he is a changed man now. He says that he has turned a new leaf. What do you think?
I have seen a change in him as well. However you can’t completely bury the acts you have committed in the past. Even if you try, your past is going to resurface.
Q Don’t you think that it is your own faults that may have paved the way for another in Matara?
Well, no one has been appointed to Matara yet. No one has taken over the duties in Matara either. These are all self-proclamations by individuals.
"When I first contested for Matara. I came first in the district. The people are aware that this Matara lad had brought fame to the country. They have a high regard for me as their relative. I do not want to create new relatives. We all are human beings. It is the same blood that circulates in our bodies. People know. “Those who live with the dogs, have to go out with the fleas also.”
Q You will have to be more dedicated and committed to your mission and duties in Matara because of these issues, don’t you think?
I have been committed and dedicated since the day I entered politics. We have a giant support network and we will continue to move forward with that.
Q If Malaka does come to Matara, will you shake hands with him and accept him?
I don’t know at which level he is going to enter the political arena of Matara. I am the party organizer for Matara. I don’t expect an outsider to take the Matara seat. I can’t do politics like that. If someone else tries to take my seat, I can’t do my political work. However, no such thing has happened yet. This was a self-proclamation by him.
Q Hasn’t Minister Mervyn Silva spoken to you regarding this matter?
No he has not. I usually speak to him wherever I see him. I have a great deal of respect for him as a senior politician. However, our policies and principles are different.
Q Minster Mervin and his son recently held a Dansala in Matara, isn’t that right?
I gave a dansala during Vesak. They gave a Dansala during Poson.
Q Is it because you gave a Vesak Dansala that they gave one for Poson?
I don’t know about that. I heard that they had been looking for a place to hold their Dansala all over the Matara district.
This is a democratic country. Anybody can go anywhere and do a service to the people.
If I go to Kelaniya tomorrow and do a service to the people there, those people will be very happy.
However, if we are going to do something, it is common courtesy to run it by the party organizer in that area. That is the principle of our party.
"The people who live in Matara are very intelligent. They use their brain well before voting and use their preference. They come to a decision about the candidates based on their history, the service rendered by them etc., before voting. There are various kinds of people who come to Matara from time to time. Some candidates came during the last southern election period too."
Q Did Minister Mervyn Silva and Malaka ask you when they held the Dansala?
No they didn’t ask and I did not interfere. After all they were doing a good deed.
Q Are you saying that you are not facing a challenge?
These are not the kinds of challenges I have faced. I am someone who has faced even bigger challenges and have managed to overcome them.
Also, I am someone who enjoys a good challenge so I am not bothered by any of this.