Q Did you participate at the Pinkama held at the Sri Maha Bodhi premises in Anuradhapura to invoke blessing for former President Mahinda Rajapaksa?
Yes. I also actively participated in arranging the religious activities of the Pinkama organised by the combined opposition to coincide his 70th birthday.
Q If so, are you liable for disciplinary action?
What, disciplinary action?
Q The General Secretary of the party, Duminda Dissanayaka told party members not to involve in anything hazardous to the party?
No such request, but there was a rumour spread before the day of the religious ceremony by some interested parties that Mahinda Rajapaksa is going to form a new party.
QIs it false?
Q Then why are some of the SLFP members proceeding on a deviated route?
No such deviation. A party order is not capable to stop the peoples’ aspiration to offer gratitude for a leader who saved the country, their lives and whom they consider as a national hero. Nothing wrong in people flocking to invoke blessings and wished a long life on such a person.
QThen, what is the purpose of the party secretary’s order?
But, I heard him speak on TV that he was unable to participate in the religious ceremony in Anuradhapura due to the Cabinet meeting held on the same day. But he wished long life for Mahinda Rajapaksa.
QHe was very strict in telling anybody who criticize the President, the party and the alliance, cannot remain in the party?
At the last Presidential Election and the General Election, the United National Freedom Alliance stressed the need of a rule favourable to the people of the country and opposed UNP and their link with imperialism. Therefore, we expressed to the party leader our displeasure of joining the national government. Then the President allowed those willing to continue to remain in the Opposition. There are two Oppositions in parliament. An Opposition reigned by the government and the Combined Opposition with about 50 parliamentarians. So now it has become our duty to see the legislature is functioning well to serve the people and to criticize it wherever necessary, specially in dealing with financial matters as the parliament has the full control over Public Finance. Nobody has the right to give us orders to stop us functioning as true members of the Opposition.
QOnce you said you are not servants of a Walawva?
Of course we are not servants of Walawva or paid employees of an estate to dig ditches, pluck coconuts and all the other odd jobs. We are peoples’ representatives elected by the people in a democratic country.
QPlans are in the offing to contest the next election under a separate alliance. Isn’t it?
Our arrangements are to contest under the UPFA as at the last general elections as a front against the UNP and imperialism. And to block all the access for the defeated candidates to rob the opportunities and come through the National Lists. There should be a reasonable procedure of nominating members to elect the Chairmen and Deputies to the local institution so as to make the way for the Combined Opposition to contest with the UPFA.
QThe next election is to be led by President Maithripala Sirisena. Are you confident of a victory under his leadership?
Majority of the SLFP supporters believe the SLFP candidates were defeated as Maithripala Sirisena contested as the common candidate at the Presidential Election and the statements he made at the latter part of the General Election campaign and the removal of the Central Committee members that prevented the possible victory for the party. The peoples’ protest has still grown with the blocking of the true opposition being established and bringing government employees, including secretaries of ministries to face the Financial Fraud Investigation Commissions. Definitely people will question about his leadership.
QIf it is the reality. What is the possible solution?
Comprehensive discussion among the party leaders would help to come to a solution. A discussion of leaders free of personal interests, those who can touch the peoples’ consensus .
QThe future of those in the Combined Opposition is at a risk because of their loyalty to Mahinda Rajapaksa?
Mahinda Rajapaksa is a figure which cannot be eliminated through humiliation. We have only two leaders from the colonial era who were able to change the fate of the people in the country. I believe Anagarika Dharmapala and Mahinda Rajapaksa are those national heroes. Let us see at the recent massacre of 129 people in Paris. They declared a three day condolence period over the incident, the whole world wept on the deaths. Compare this incident with our 30 years war with the terrorists when the whole country was converted to a cemetery – deaths were in thousands. When the whole world doubts the defeat of the most dangerous terrorists organisation LTTE, Mahinda Rajapaksa was able to defeat them. This was not only for the Sinhalese but also liberalized all the races.
Tamils. Muslims, Burghers etc. The truth is the whole nation is indebted to him for bringing peace for the country.
QNow the country is en-route on a new journey. What would you say?
The new journey you are speaking is one full of malice and revenge since we gained independence. The Diaspora friendly to LTTE is behind all these revengeful courses. Channel 4 broadcast is one example. They urged the international support to set up a separate country for Tamil people, free of Sinhala barbarian rule. Unfortunately, our country is also following the same course. A team in the country influenced by Dollars is used to grow malice within the people of the country. What else are the efficient development activities you are speaking of. Only the FCID illegally established by Ranil Wickremesinghe is efficiently functioning.
QIs it wrong to investigate the robbery of peoples’ money and waste that had been done?
Absolutely not. But there is an accepted system of law to handle these frauds and waste. Legal action can be taken against them and punish if they are found guilty. As done in the VAT fraud. But what are they doing - opposition politicians, government officials and officers in the Forces are frequently taken into custody indiscriminately, while the LTTE terrorists are being released.
QWhen you were Trade Minister you said Rs. 2,000 is enough for one to live one month. Is it possible to live with that amount today?
No, this is an old story. Those days the government paid only Rs. 2,500 to a resident student for education. Then I told them how to live with this money. I also submitted a cabinet paper to increase this amount to Rs. 4,000. Today Rs. 4,500 will suffice just to live for one month.
QFinance Minister Ravi Karunanayaka says the existed financial system has now been put in the correct track?
The intelligent people of the country can understand the real position. During the last government an importer had to pay only Rs. 131 for an item worth 1 dollar but today he has to pay Rs. 144. JVP Anura Kumara Dissanayake shouted on a petty incident like someone jumping into a river to commit suicide and attempted to attribute such actions to Mahinda Rajapaksa. But today they are tamed and turned blind to such an extent to notice suicides committed within the Financial Companies being unable to repay their loans.