From the time of the No-Confidence Motion saga ended, the Sri Lankan political climate seems to have gone erratic and unpredictable. All the political parties seemed to be pre-occupied with their own affairs and became busy with reforms and restructuring processes while the Government was concentrating on a scientific Cabinet reshuffle. All that ended up by exposing, a vulgar display of luxury SUVs and Mercedes-Benz limousines moving to and fro, to President’s official residence and from the Prime Minister’s residence at Temple Trees; also, to the United People’s Freedom Alliance Secretary General Mahinda Amaraweera’s residence.
In the meanwhile, some of the members of the sixteen SLFP group, who voted in favour of the No-Confidence Motion to oust Ranil Wickremesinghe, were seen holding press briefings, especially the ones who were rejected by the voters at the last General Election but salvaged by the President Maithripala Sirisena by absorbing to his Yahapalanaya Government and offering Ministerial portfolios. It was a travesty that out of those, some members decided to display their ingratitude by being openly critical of the Unity Government with ambiguous statements at some press briefings. So, one has to be contended with this, as the culture of Sri Lankan politics!
Some of those who made such abstruse declarations were the very ones who did not have a chance in hell to enjoy the luxuries which they did for nearly three years, being part of the Unity Government. If not for their vulgarity and selfish attitudes, why on earth did they have to behave in such a manner akin to lizards that change colour to suit the environment? Is it a case of sour grapes? Ultimately the lot has gone and sat with the Opposition members, but still maintain they are in the SLFP!
People in this country, in the meanwhile, have seen on TV, on a daily basis, to what extent farmers have been affected by the recent drought, getting beaten harshly by false promises of the Government on fertilizer supplies at concessionary rates or otherwise, and how an uprising against the Yahapalanaya is brewing to challenge the government authorities.
It indeed is a pitiable sight to watch, on TV, day in and out, the wailing public of their problems of either not having water for their daily consumption, complaining constantly about broken bridges, utterly neglected canals and waterways that could have saved farmers out the water problem; non-motorable broken roads with potholes where school children having to take off their shoes to wade across muddy patches , and the latest being how a section of innocent villagers having to suffer due to elephant attacks on their vegetations (their livelihood), and their houses and property getting destroyed as a common occurrence by elephants.
How many innocent people have been attacked by elephants to death so far, while the so called representatives of the people who have been elected by the very people show a Nelsonian eye to such tragedies. Is it amazing how they behave in such a despicable manner only displaying their self-interests and hell bent on reorganising their political parties and leadership battles to stay in power to continue with their perks and luxuries.
Their narcissistic stance becomes evident when they never object to increases in their salaries and other allowances and perks! One wonders whether these so called ‘people’s representatives’ have a conscience when such callous behaviour is displayed brazenly by turning a blind eye absolutely to the progress of the country as much as for the welfare of the suffering masses! With the news about the appointment of Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka as the new Cabinet Minister of Regional Development, innocent villagers may have some consolation and hope in resolving the elephant vs. man problem in a manner how he succeeded in dealing with the two legged (human) tigers in the Vanni jungles during the terrorist war.
Another fragment of shocking news that was exposed by two national English newspapers was about an allocation of Rupees Two Hundred Million for repairs to the Jayewardenepura Parliament complex (according to a statement issued by the Parliament)! Irrespective of the fact whether the Parliament House and its environs deserve repairs to the extent of such a colossal amount at a time when thousands upon thousand poor farmers and villages are crying out for help could only be regarded as a brutal crime that displays the utter egocentricity and warped mindset of a set of insensitive politicians who happen to govern this country.
By the same token, it was encouraging to read in the news media reports how at least a sensible Minister in the Yahapalanaya regime has castigated such a gigantic allocation as a “national crime”! All our politicians and the Cabinet of Ministers alike need not have any economic degrees to work out about the massive sum that would suffice to build thousands of houses for the poor, or with an allocation at least part of such funds, to repair broken and dilapidated bridges for the safety of innocent villagers who take life unto their hands when they cross such dangerous bridges, which are on display every night on TV. Haven’t they got any integrity and veracity to rescue farmers out of their disastrous prevailing situations?
Sri Lankan politics have seemingly turned akin to curved dog’s tail that cannot be straightened however much one attempts to do so, as long as leaders and rulers who have not got an insight to people’s day to day problems when they travel in luxury limousines and helicopters. At the time when there was a hue and a cry on duty-free vehicle permits issued to Parliamentarians, some of the Ministers claimed they needed such comfortable vehicles to travel long distances to reach people and to understand people’s problems!
Cambridge English Dictionary describes the word politics as “activities of a Government, members of law making organisation or people who try to influence the way a country is governed”. Urban Dictionary, however, defines it differently viz: “Politics derived from the words poly meaning ‘many’ and ‘tics’ meaning ‘blood-sucking parasites’!
It is such a sad situation that people who had immense hope and expectations voting for a new Government in 2015 are currently so frustrated, fed up to their teeth and become helpless with ever increasing cost of living and never ending direct and indirect taxes, day after day. The only way of expressing their exasperation has become by sending messages and petitions to sign among fellow citizens. What else can they do? The following is a typical example of a message that hit the writer’s email, which undoubtedly makes sense and self-explanatory.
Addressed as “ Dear Respected Citizen of Sri Lanka” , the body of the petition that is becoming viral on social media hopes to raise a uniform voice with several suggestions to improving and salvaging this nation as a last resort from a lot of self-interested politicians. Suggestions in the email are as follows:
Reform Act of 2018
“ Parliamentarians should NOT qualify for Pension, since representation of people is not an employment, but it is a process where they are appointed by the people, during an Election under People’s Representation (Currently, they get pension after 5 years of service)”.
“Parliamentarians’ pay should be revised in line with Central Pay Commission. (Currently, they get their increases in their salary arbitrarily by voting for themselves)”!
“Parliamentarians should lose their current health care system and participate in the same
health care system applicable to general public in Sri Lanka.”
“All concessions like free travel, ration, electricity, water, phone bill should be abolished. (They get these concessions regularly increased, boldly and shamelessly”)
“Parliamentarians with tainted records – i.e. criminal charges & convictions, past or present, should be summarily banned from the Parliament and not permitted to contest in any election on any pretext.”
“ All Financial losses incurred due to politicians’ inefficient or bad handling, while holding office, must be recovered from them, their families and their nominees, including properties under them or nominees.”
“Parliamentarians should equally abide by all laws they impose on the general public.”
“Retirement age for all should be 60 including politicians.”
“Please get this message across to all politicians as Servingin Parliament is an honour but certainly not a lucrative career for looting.”
“Governing a great nation is like cooking a small fish – too much handling will spoil it” – Lao Tsu.S