We As A Country Are Poor In Every Aspect – Prof. Desmond Mallikarachchi
by Ashanthi Warunasuirya
Excerpts of the interview:-
Q: It is said that this government has no proper economic strategy, and the country’s economy is heading towards a disaster, and even the stock market is collapsing. What is your view?
A: Apart from some visionary economic projects carried out such as Gal Oya, Mahaweli, Mahapola, and parliamentary act like 1958 Paddy Lands Act, all past government never had a vision for economic development. This government is also the same. They do not have an economic vision as well. What Mahinda Rajapaksa did was taking loans and partying. This government is taxing people claiming that the country has to repay those debts. But the government does not have a solid and relatively durable economic plan.
Talking about economy using economic terms is not enough. We are poor not only in economic terms but we are also poor in intelligence, creativity, initiatives, patient, brotherhood, cohabitation, and understanding. We are so stubborn that we do not tolerate others’ ideas even though theirs are correct. Only looking at those who joined hands with others just to oppose since this government came into power, we can observe the situation very well. How can we create right economic vision cooperating with others when we act in this way?
Not only in Sri Lanka, but all over the world economies are now collapsing. From 2008 to date, we have been witnessing this collapse. The two capitalist parties in Sri Lanka reflect the ongoing global conflict of capitalism. To cease this economic conflict, we have to abolish capitalism.
Q: The good governance regime spoke a lot about corruption of the previous regime. However, in their regime too there are signs of corruption and malpractices being reported just seven months down the line of their governance. How do you see this situation?
A: I am displeased and the majority is frustrated. During the last regime, public funds were stolen by many people as they wished. Hundreds of them have been caught. But there are no court cases against many of them. Where are the thieves and murders? They are now in this government too; so taking legal actions against them is neglected. Why this government was was elected? When this government too goes against its own words, it also becomes a corrupt government. The public will realise again and again that politics is corrupt. But they also make the same error next time by electing the corrupt. This is a very vicious circle.
Q: Do you see a certain level of political instability in the country?
A: Yes. The country suffers instability now. It has been there all the time. It is same globally as well. Where is a stabilised country? That is why governments get changed. People sent Mahinda home for country to gain stability. Even though persons changed, system did not change. Anarchy and instability still prevails. Due to politics of taking loans for repaying loans, the country will fall out of the frying in to the fire.
Q: What is the solution?
A: In my opinion, there is no solution. As long as the capitalist countries donate us money, we can play this game. Even the big countries are also in this game. When a country’s finances are inadequate, no god can help it. Even to dash a coconut, it must be borrowed.
Q: Even former President Chandrika Kumaratunga stated recently that this government may be corrupt to some extent, but it is not as bad as the previous regime. Did we vote for a less corrupt regime, or did we vote for a regime that promised to clean up corruption?
A: What Chandrika told is nearer to the truth. She hinted that even this government has a few corrupt people. Corruption cannot be abolished entirely from today’s politics. Frauds, corruption, unfairness, injustice etc., are the terms that denote present global politics. In the past, Shah in Iran and Marcos in the Philippines were fraudsters. Today Malaysia’s former President, Brazil’s former president, South African Jacob Zuma are facing court cases. India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, South Africa, Nigeria, Latin America are also in corrupt politics. The public has to select less corrupt politicians or parties even in 2020 to use their votes. Today’s world, another name for the game of politics is called fraud and corruption.
Q: What is your take on the postponement of the local government election?
A: I do not care whether it is postponed or held just now or not held. We can recall what happened in the past 10 years. Terrorising, raping, setting houses on fire, killing, bribing, gambling, underworld mediating happened and they have already started all over again. Conveying press briefs and setting fire on letters and threatening is just the beginning. The splits in the UNP and the SLFP intensify this situation. Likewise, the national government concept too intensifies conflicts between the two parties. That is why I get scared whenever I hear of Local Government Election.
Q: While commissions have been appointed for many investigations, so far they have not been successful. What is your view on this situation?
A: I cannot provide a direct answer to this query. It seems it takes sometime for our culture to absorb commissions. Just because being members of a commission, they are not devoid of all political defilements.
Q: Some see the recent joint opposition rally as a growing support for Mahinda Rajapaks although the government claims crowds were paid to attend. What is your view?
A: I am sorry for the situation we are in. This is social and political expression of mental exhibitionism, to claim only we can bring in people. Are these matured people in politics? Are they exemplary citizens? Or are they small kids of two sport meet houses of their schools engaged? A development plan for a country must have more bearing than this simple claim. Those who criticise must have some justice towards what they criticise. I am of the view that competing with each other to bring more people than the other is a mere political farce.
Q: The practice of dashing coconuts and grinding pepper etc., is something we see a lot these days. How do you see this new trend?
A: It is not second to bringing people to Colombo. Dashing coconut at a sacred place is a religious task. It is something done in faith. There has been an interconnection between religion and politics since the beginning. But going against the government and government going against the opposition for everything they do and dashing coconuts at every sacred place in the country is ridiculous. I think gods will get furious seeing that those who did not dash coconut against Mahinda’s activities in the past, dashing coconuts against this government. I hope that both parties will take some responsibility in showing the young generation that politics has more bearing than what we witness today.