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Claims Of Military Coup, False

- Dr. Kavinda Jayawardana

UNP MP and National Youth Front Chairman, Dr. Kavinda Jayawardana is of the view that the youth in the country stand to benefit from the government’s efforts the most. “The youth have been given a ladder and it is up to them to climb up that ladder. As young upcoming leaders it is important to identify our priorities and follow the examples of good leaders. Politics will take us to where we belong,” he said. In an interview with The Sunday Leader he said politicians need to be chosen carefully by the people and proper educated people should be appointed and it is the duty of the people to do so through their vote. “We have to educate our politicians,” he pointed out. He said at present there is a lot of hype with regard to SAITM but added that in his view the country needs more universities, but proper standards should be maintained.  “Today there are so many private universities catering to other professions and as such why are they only crying about private medical colleges? I feel we should have quality education. If SAITM does not have that quality education, then as a government it is up to us to increase the quality of education and formulate better systems that will give them a better education and a better future. I don’t think the solution is to shut down SAITM and have only government institutions. I think we should have private education institutions as well but maintain proper standards,” he added.

Following are excerpts of the interview:

by Thushari Nathaniel

  • Today there are so many private universities catering to other professions and as such why are they only crying about private medical colleges?
  • During the previous regime even when people demonstrated asking for clean water, they were shot dead. Even in Katunayake, during a protest, a young boy lost his life

Q: Recently in parliament it was mentioned by an MP that there was a possibility of a military coup in the event the government cannot be toppled. What is your view on this?

A: The joint opposition’s democracy is not affected by any means. Their democracy has been established after January 8, 2015. Before that there was a situation where journalists and others were murdered, abducted and some media institutions were burned down, etc. Democracy of the country was non-existent at the time. Now after January 8th the whole country is enjoying democracy to the fullest. Before that there were white vans being used to abduct anyone who went against the then government and the government ministers themselves came out and said that these white vans were being used to abduct those who dared stand up against the government.

Further there were ethnic and racial tensions at the time that was created. Organisations like BBS came out and started spreading hatred. This was a way of pressurising the minorities and depriving them of their democratic rights.

Today none of these are happening. Hence there is no basis for these allegations while the Joint Opposition is in fact the godfathers who destroyed the democracy of this country. The government at the time did whatever they wanted and did not allow anyone to stand in their way. They have no right to talk of being deprived of their democratic rights. Never in history has the opposition been given so much freedom and power. In fact an opposition member has been appointed the Chairman of the COPE committee. Even the fact that they can mention such sinister plans as a coup and get away is the level of freedom that they are enjoying. They know that the only way to get back into power is by creating friction and war in the country. This is a clear indication that they are looking to create instability in the country in order to regain power.

However, their plans will not work and law and order will prevail. Their hopes will certainly not come true.

 

Q: The issue over the private medical college SAITM is a much talked about topic currently with some wanting it closed down and the degree offered so far annulled while others want recognition of the degree. What is the view of the UNP?

A: First of all SAITM is not a university that was established during the current good governance era. This university was established during the past regime. But, it’s our responsibility to secure the future of the students who have and who are still studying at this university. In order to do that we have presented an education sub-committee at parliament that has presented a report that says the Neville Fernando Hospital being used by SAITM be acquired by the government.

My personal view is that we are not here to close down universities but we need to open up more universities. At the same time we cannot only rely on government educational centres and we must open educational centres for all areas of education. Today there are so many private universities catering to other professions and as such why are they only crying about private medical colleges? I feel we should have quality education. If SAITM does not have that quality education, then as a government it is up to us to increase the quality of education and formulate better systems that will give them a better education and a better future. I don’t think the solution is to shut down SAITM and have only government institutions. I think we should have private education institutions as well but maintain proper standards. They should be properly monitored and made sure that they provide a level of education that is similar to what the government institutions are offering.

 

Q: There are allegations that no subsidy or other welfare facility has been increased for the people after this government came into power but welfare facilities have been slashed. Do you agree?

A: 9,900 billion debt has to be paid by us to the world. This amount has not been accumulated by the UNP or the Yahapalanaya regime. Now every citizen of this country of 20 million people is in debt to the tune of Rs. 500,000. When Rajapaksa was given the government it was Rs. 133,000 debt per person. He is the one who invested money in unnecessary investments and unbelievable money has gone missing or has been illegally profited by his family. Therefore this country has been put in this position because of Mahinda Rajapaksa and his clan. Hence they have to be held responsible for having to increase the taxes in order to get the country out of the plight the former regime put it into. For the country to move ahead we need revenue and taxation. So in order to recover the monies we have to tax the people. However, we have not imposed taxes on a lot of the things that in fact should have been taxed.

But, we certainly have to find some method in which revenue can be obtained if we are to get out of this debt trap. It is my view that we need to introduce a new revenue system in order to recover money from the people if we are to run this country smoothly. This is what we are trying to do and even in this budget we have only taxed the minimum which is unavoidable. We don’t want to tax the people heavily and pile any burden on the people. However, we too are in a dilemma as we have to pay the debts and run the country and without money it is a very difficult task.

People don’t understand this point and are always expecting relief and welfare. We too as a government want to give these welfare and relief to the people, but we as a government have to also eventually shoulder the debt burden placed on us and find avenues to repay these debts. This is the reason that we are compelled to tax the people too in order to meet these repayments. We certainly don’t want to burden the people, but we have no other option.

 

Q: As the National Youth Front Chairman, are you satisfied with the budget allocations for youth activities?

A: I am very happy with what has been done for the youth of this country and the allocations made by the budget for the benefit of the youth. Every student has been granted a Rs. 200,000 insurance scheme and they are to receive a TAB in order to enable every child, even in the rural areas, to keep up with the latest technology.

Not just that the government has allocated over Rs. 200 million for school infrastructure development and even teachers will be provided TABs which no government has ever done before. We have also looked into providing every school with water sanitation and electricity.

At the same time we have allocated over Rs. 4 billion for the Sri Lanka Youth parliament. Not just that, we have also initiated a programme that empowers youth with skills in order to be better prepared for employment. Every Grama Seva Division has been allocated Rs. one million. The funds have now reached even the villages and the youth in those remote villages. When the village and the youth develop, then the country develops automatically. These are some of the measures that we have taken. There is more on the cards, but we have to first rid the country of the debt burden and then we plan to provide much more in order to give the people a better life.

It’s easy for everyone to now point fingers at us. But it should be the previous regime that has to be held responsible for the serious debt trap they have put this country into. Now we as a nation are compelled to pay this money back to the countries that we have borrowed from, especially China. This is the reason that this country is in this position today.

 

Q: The change was brought about as people thought the new government could do a better job at running the country. Now that the good governance regime has been in power for the past 1 ½ years, don’t you think it is high time that you stopped blaming the Rajapaksa regime and take responsibility for the state the country is in and the failures that prevail?

A: We simply cannot take blind decisions and therefore we had to plan and strategize what we were going to do next. Hence, it took us some time to plan the country’s future. For example the white elephants in Hambantota such as the Airport, Harbour and the Convention Centre, these were all built spending a colossal amount of money. But, these were not making anything for the country upon completion of these ambitious projects. That was mainly because the previous government had not planned out these projects in a proper manner and had simply jumped into these projects to suit their whims and fancies.

Now we have been burdened with the task of having to pay for these projects that is not making any money and are nothing but white elephants. However, now we have signed agreements with China in order to utilise these projects in a bid to try and generate funds from them rather than simply let them stand as monuments of wasteful investments. We have come up with a partnership with China to develop the whole Hambantota district where over 15,000 acres will be developed.

Further, in Kurunegala a Volkswagen plant is coming up and the initial step will commence in January. With the Megapolis plan there is a huge development plan for the entire Western Province. Likewise China, Japan, Korea and Germany have expressed willingness to invest here and we are to sign agreements soon to start up industrial zones, IT parks, etc. Even Singapore too has expressed willingness to start up projects here and we have such huge infrastructure development plans lined up for the future.

So it’s not that we are just blaming the Rajapaksa regime and doing nothing. However, they should be blamed for what they have done to this country.

 

Q: While China was side-lined by the good governance regime initially, it is believed that the Rajapaksa’s had to intervene to get China back on board. Is this why the government sponsored Mahinda Rajapaksa’s visits to China previously and even last week?

A: No, it’s not that he had to intervene. But, as the former president he is entitled to such sponsorship. If it’s not a personal trip and an official trip, it’s his privilege to be sponsored.

 

Q: But, why China in particular and if not to negotiate with the Chinese? Isn’t there concern that the current progress made with China could be jeopardised?

A: We have very good diplomatic relations with China and as such there is no concern.

 

Q: As you claim if the government is running smoothly and everything is falling into place, why are there so many protests taking place around the country at present? 

A: It’s purely democracy. During the previous regime even when people demonstrated asking for clean water, they were shot dead. Even in Katunayake, during a protest, a young boy lost his life. This was the order of the day during the previous regime. However, with the Yahapalanaya government, we have allowed them to protest against not just the government but even against the president. The people today enjoy a greater freedom to express their feelings even if it is against the government. This is true democracy.

However, having said that, these protests should be within the framework of the country’s law and order. But, if they are trying to protest and create hatred, ethnic or racial disturbance or religious tensions, then we will be compelled to take necessary action.

 

Q: The government is also accused of trying to dismantle the Intelligence Services in this country which has resulted in the crime rate in many places skyrocketing. Do you agree?

A: No there is no connection between the two. The intelligence services are running smoothly in the country and the police officers have the freedom to work with a free mind. In the past the politicians had the authority to call the OICs of the police stations and dictate to them how they should conduct their duties. But today the situation has changed and they work for the benefit of the people of the country and not according to the desires of the politicians. Now we have a law and order minister who knows his job and he is very capable of handling the country’s security. So there is no interference and the police is not politicised and even the intelligence units are working independently.

The majority of budget allocations are for the military and this sector is progressing and working independently which is what should happen. These false allegations are by those who are trying to say something to discredit the government and trying to come back into power by hook or by crook.

 

Q: Certain academics who were initially involved in bringing about a change of regime are now claiming that the government has failed to deliver on their promises and is fast losing popularity. How would you respond to this statement?

A: We might lose popularity because some of those who wanted their personal agendas fulfilled may not be happy with the good governance regime. We are not here to fulfil personal agendas but we have a strategy to develop this country as a whole. Therefore it is inevitable that some parties who expected personal favours are not happy with us.

We are the last hope for Sri Lanka and this government is committed to making this country a better nation.

1 Comment for “Claims Of Military Coup, False”

  1. punchiniame

    Computer purchases for Mahindodaya labs. in Rs. 5.87 Billion had taken place during MR Regime. So TABs for Teachers is not a new idea? Is the fact the
    earlier outlay is now question?

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