The Sunday Leader

Those who cannot work with the Government can leave – Ranjith Madduma Bandara

By Ashanthi Warunasuriya

This week marks three years since President Maithripala Sirisena won the 2015 Presidential elections and the unity Government was formed.

Three years on, some members of the United National Party (UNP) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) have expressed their unwillingness to work together.

Minister of Public Administration and Management Ranjith Madduma Bandara told The Sunday Leader online that the unity Government was formed to address national issues and if anyone is unable to work according to those policies they can then leave.

Excerpts of the interview:

 

Q. What do you think of the past three years?

A. The change we did in this country for the past three years is vast. Creating democratic independence, fairness and preparing an environment free of fear and suspicion are some of the key things.

 

Q. But yet the cost of living is still high?

A. Excluding rice and coconut, the price of all other products have been reduced. We have supplied relief to the public in areas of health and education.

 

Q. What is your expectations with regards to the Local Government elections?

A. Everyone knows this is a United National Party led Government. Even the President was appointed by the UNP. Likewise even the parliament was appointed by the UNP. The opposition may say various things. But the public are wise and they know that if they need something to be done the party already in power must be given authority in the local authorities as well.

 

Q. Does that mean the UNP will win the election?

A. I am confident the public will vote for the UNP. Those screaming in the SLFP are not those who voted for President Sirisena at the 2015 election. I feel the SLFP and the join opposition will lose. The public will vote for the UNP. There is a lot which remains to be done in the country. We need to strengthen the economy. We will do it with the support of the people.

 

Q. There is still some talk of the need to unite President Maithripala Sirisena and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Is this a threat to the UNP?

A. Uniting Mahinda and Maithripala is like merging the North and South. I do not think this will happen. If there is any chance of that happening it should happen now.

 

Q. Can the Government continue to survive when there are rifts between members of the UNP and the SLFP?

A. This Government was formed by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. There will be issues. But the Government was not formed to meet the expectations of the two political parties but rather to address national issues. So those working in the Government must not think about their political parties but put the country first.

 

Q. But then there are those disappointed and leaving the Government

A. Anyone who cannot work for the country and follow the policies of the Government can leave. There are some who want to stay in the Government and enjoy the perks and privileges. This is now what we expect. So instead of staying in the Government people like that can leave.

 

Picture by Ranuka Wijewardana 

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