The Sunday Leader

Wanted: Positive Results Not Political Antics

We reiterate once again that it is time the Yahapalanaya government gives serious consideration to settle down and bring about tangible results for the benefit of the people who elected them to power on a clear mandate. Members of this government are well aware that what the consequence of defeat would imply for them and their supporters.

It could be argued that within two-and-a-half years they have obtained substantial results on some crucial issues that faced the nation. They have been able to resolve to a certain extent the mounting debts owed to China, although the Rajapaksa opposition will not agree with that. But which accomplishment would the defeated Rajapaksas concede? The other is also taking the heat off the human rights resolutions moved at the UNHRC against Sri Lanka – another legacy left behind by the Rajapaksas. The government has diffused this problem to a substantial degree with Sri Lanka now being welcomed in international fora and no longer being treated as a pariah nation. But that is not enough.

Even though prices of essential commodities were reduced substantially at the very commencement of the Good Governance government, salaries of government servants hiked, etc., unemployment of youth remains a substantial challenge and there has also been very little economic development.

Last week President Maithripala Sirisena appointed what has been described as a ‘high-level’ National Economic Council (NEC) to accelerate economic development within the next three years. The committee comprises the Prime Minister, Finance Minister, the Governor of the Central Bank and other high ranking officials. The NEC will be an advisory body that will ‘sit above’ the Cabinet Committee on Economic Management Chaired by the Prime Minister.

The government is also scheduled to announce an ‘Economic Vision’ 2025 on September 04 – the plan going beyond the term of office of this government scheduled to end by 2020.

This is a change from the previous two years where the focus was on restoration of democratic rights, reconciliation with the minorities and the ridding the debt burden.

The people will naturally be skeptical about this new committee ‘sitting above’ the older Cabinet Committee on Economic Management and the new Vision that extends beyond the term of this government. Their expectations are on tangible results before they go to the polls the next time to elect a government. Thus what they expect from these Committees and ‘Visions’ are tangible results and rhetorical gibberish that government committees are known for.

The public perceptions of the Yahapalanaya government are getting increasingly blurred. Last week two motions of no confidence were in the making by factions within the government against two ministers. No doubt leaders find coalition governments difficult to control and Sri Lankan political coalitions have crashed on their own political momentum. But coalition governments have been found to be remarkably successful elsewhere.

The British government during World War II was a coalition led by Winston Churchill and played a key role in winning the war. The difference between the Yahapalanaya and Churchill governments is that whereas Churchill’s members were all united in the objective of winning the War, there were no overt and covert supporters of Adolf Hitler in it. The Yahapalanaya seems to have many supporting the enemy leader openly and under the table.

It is high time President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe cracked down on dissidents who appear to be attempting to stall progress. Last week the Minister of Justice and Buddha Sasana, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, a National List member and not an elected member, was reported to have said that ‘he will not look back until the Hambantota Port agreement is cancelled’. The agreement on the Hambantota Port with China was one approved by the Cabinet but Rajapakshe seems to have scant regard for the cabinet or cabinet responsibility. He waits for days till fury of UNP members rage and a no confidence motion is in the making and then denies the statement while saying that his official statement in his regard will be made on Monday.

The Minister of Justice, who is supposed to be conversant with the democratic process, should realise that he has flouted the norms of democratic parliamentary governance. He as the Minister of Justice can’t be a political maverick and if he is so inclined resignation from office is the way out.

This kind of behaviour makes a government look ridiculous, particularly in the eyes of the world and is a disincentive to foreign investment which the government is longing for.

The government should also meditate on eccentric officials such as the police chief who has ordered meditation exercises for policemen before coming on duty and threatening them with dire punishment for dereliction of meditation duties.

The Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government should discipline its members and officials and stop it from being ridiculed.

2 Comments for “Wanted: Positive Results Not Political Antics”

  1. Eng.M.V.R.Perera

    How can this government create a economic vision when the President himself is the main cause by shunning coal fueled BOT projects and going for 8 times more expensive solar wind projects and making the foreign investors avoid us like a plague . When we have a deputy minister of Power who states published in the Sunday leader of 13th August that Norocholai coa Power Project is not of any importance as there is a Hydro project of 25 Mw which will be commissioned very soon . He appears not to know that Norocholai Project is a 900 Mw project which has delivered 7 billion unit per year at a cost of Rs. 9 per unit while a hydro project of 25 Mw can deliver in a year if there is sufficient water only 0.2 Billion units which will very high cost may be the same as oil due to very high capital cost

  2. ranjit demel

    dear editor this government just like the former government are full of rouges atleast the former president was not a puppet this president is not only a puppet,but also a rouge-the p.m. is a liar and also a are naive dear editor

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