15 November, 2018

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An Open Letter To Muslim Parliamentarians

By Ameer Ali

Dr. Ameer Ali

Dear Muslim Parliamentarians

This letter addresses you at a very critical moment of time, when the country’s democracy as well as the future of your community are facing existential crises. Ever since the executive presidency came into existence, all democratic values, traditions and freedom, cherished by the people of this nation, have progressively eroded with the consent of you and your predecessors. True, the constitutional provisions to safeguard the democratic rights of minorities came under attack prior to the executive presidency came into existence and under the 1972 Colvin Constitution. Yet, as long as the judiciary of the country remained independent and the principle of rule of law was upheld there was some measure of protection to minorities in times of political crises. All that has now evaporated and you are now a partner to a regime that in the name of good governance, is failing to protect your community, derailing judiciary’s independence, allowing corruption reign public administration and denuding all conventional norms of democracy. In short you are all promoting and protecting a failed government and a failed state.

Your community is well aware that not all of you entered the parliament through the ballot box. Yet, all of you have made substantial personal gains at the expense of your community. Some of you, by successfully changing colours, have been able to maintain your status and privileges under successive regimes, and in all those regimes whenever the interests of your community came under unprovoked attacks by unruly elements you have maintained an unholy silence. What did you all do when the Aluthgama riots broke out? What did you all do when Muslims were attacked and their assets were destroyed in Gintota, in Ampara, in Digana and in Katugastota? What did you all do when Muslim retail establishments like Fashion Bug and No Limit were burnt? Yes, we knew that you all collectively met and appealed to your bosses to catch and punish the law-breakers. Did your appeal succeed? We see the same culprits still hobnobbing and moving freely to repeat their misdeeds, and shockingly, protected by some members of the security forces.  Were the victims of these riots compensated? We hear that 80,000 rupees per victim offered to the victims in Digana. Do you really believe that amount is sufficient to recover all they have lost?   Should you all not have resigned wholesale and sat with the opposition to send a strong message to the rulers and whole world regarding the plight of your community? You did not do that because you did not want to lose your positions and perks.

Leave aside the community. What has been your contribution towards addressing the national issues? The rising cost of living is driving millions of families into debt and poverty. Social media reported that the national suicide rate has increased over the last two decades because of mounting indebtedness and worsening poverty. Has any of you made any recommendation towards easing this pressure in your parliamentary debates? Why did you all keep quiet when the central bank bond-scam ballooned and became a national scandal? What was your suggestion so far to bring down the level of national debt, which is crippling the economy and mortgaging the country to foreign institutions and countries? The nation is facing huge environmental problems. Nature is an amana or trust, according to your religion, given to humanity to manage in the interest of all creations and not to ‘conquer’ it solely for the interest of home sapiens. We know that you all are faithful to your religion. However, has any of you bothered to explain to your parliamentary colleagues your religion’s uncompromising stand on this issue? This is one area where you should have led the national campaign for environmental protection. Finally, where is your leadership in relation to reforming the MMDA?     

Your failures are too many and it is pointless to enumerate them. However, we admit that your failures are partly due to an all-powerful Executive Presidency under which you are been pushed into a situation where you either put up or shut up. Therefore, the abolition of this constitutional monstrosity can bring relief, at least partially, not only to you but also to your colleagues on both sides. A realistic opportunity to do away with this presidency appears to be around the corner. This is what prompted this letter. I am drawing your attention to JVP’s forthcoming motion to amend the constitution to abolish the executive presidency. Let me tell you at the outset that I am not a member of this party nor for that matter of any party. However, I see that the JVP parliamentarians, who themselves are uninterested in becoming president, are moving in the right direction with a sensible motion, the success of which, with a suitable alternative, will bring back the democratic values and freedom the nation had lost since 1977.

To be frank, Muslim leaders should have been at the forefront of the campaign to oppose the JR constitution when it came before the parliament in 1977. Instead, while some of them surrendered to JR’s dictates and cunningness some others took the diabolical step of forming a political party of their own, the SLMC, to counter JR’s ethnic agenda with one of their own ethnic horror. The consequence has been a total disaster for the Muslim community. True, the two former presidents, Chandrika Kumaratunga and Mahinda Rajapaksa promised, when contested for re-election, to abolish the Executive Presidency. Having tasted its fruits once, they were unwilling to fulfil their promises. Now, it appears that even the Joint Opposition has given conditional support to JVP’s amendment. That condition is to dissolve the parliament immediately after the motion’s passage. If the minority MPs vote unanimously in support of the motion, there is a good chance of the motion gaining the two-third majority votes required to become a reality.  This is why this letter appeals to you all to demonstrate at least on this occasion to show some leadership. The nation at large and your community in particular will remember you forever if you make the right decision to support JVP’s motion, and work thereafter with constitutional experts to find an alternative.            

*Dr. Ameer Ali, School of Business and Governance, Murdoch University, Western Australia

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Latest comments

  • 9
    4

    Yes EP should be abolished at any cost.
    UNP has suffered for the past 24 years since 1994 under SLFP rule.

    • 7
      3

      Abdul samad

      “UNP has suffered for the past 24 years since 1994 under SLFP rule”

      Oh dear; That’s not democratic thinking,

      It’s been people’s choice to keep the UNP as the opposition, so respect it.

      Do the duty of opposition when you’re put into opposition, unless you have to suffer.

      • 4
        0

        Real Revolutionist,

        UNP had brilliant ministers under the EP of JR.
        Ranasinghe Premadasa, Gamini, Lalith, Ranjan Wijeratne.
        Just name one guy from Sri lanka Failed party to match with the names i have mentioned above.
        Oh dear;

      • 2
        0

        The TNA also suffered under this govt. The massacre of 147,000 Tamils in Mullivakkal needs investigation.
        Mullivallal Massacre of the 147,000 Tamils.docx
        https://www.academia.edu/36458267/Mullivallal_Massacre_of_the_147_000_Tamils.docx

    • 0
      0

      You forget what the whole country suffered for 17 years from 1977.

  • 14
    0

    “Muslim / Tamil/ Parliamentarians” with a “Mandate” to preserve “Democratic Rights Of Minorities”. Are there any such RIGHTS under a Democracy titled “Democratic Rights of Minorities”? All this while, I thought, under DEMOCRACY, there are NO class of citizens named as “MINORITIES”. My understanding was ALL are EQUAL and therefore, RIGHTS are also “EQUAL”. But as these, “INTELLECTUALS” of Higher Learning have made a DISTINCTION of “Rights of Minorities”, do I have to assume there are such RIGHTS as “Rights Of Majority”? NO. I am still not convinced; but will continue to listen to these “Intellectuals” who preach this “Division” with a view to learn. So far, this “Representation” on communal basis, as I have learned, is a “BIG BUSINESS” where “Marketing Strategies ” are put in place to “Win and Lose”, that which I equal to “Betting on Horse Racing”. These “HIGH BREED HORSES” are chosen or selected by the people and or political parties and made to run while the “MAJORITY” place “BETS” and the “BIG GAMBLING” goes on and on. To me, that is another UGLY face of “Majority/Minority Democracy” in Sri Lanka upheld by Constitutions and Intellectuals.

    • 6
      8

      It is the rights f 31% are supreme than the Rights of 69# of the majority of the majority. IT is the same old LTTE grievecnes active. USA, EU and INDIA want those to minorities

    • 5
      3

      Douglas

      ““Muslim / Tamil/ Parliamentarians” with a “Mandate” to preserve “Democratic Rights Of Minorities”. Are there any such RIGHTS under a Democracy titled “Democratic Rights of Minorities”?”

      Aren’t you kidding?
      We know how Hitler came to power and what he did to minorities, neighbours, ….

      The branding of Minorities does not mean it is based on dichotomy between races or religion. There are other minorities, such as gay and lesbian communities, adherent to not so popular religion/sect for example Aghori, gypsies, Kaffirs, my people, Malays, Parsis, Baha’i, Burghers, Chetty, Bharatha, Bhoras, Khojas, Karavas, Govias, …. Radalas, Nayakes, Vellalas, ……….. crooks, war criminals, ……….. Welikade inmates, ……….. may be a small population compare to the larger population.

      They do have rights.
      We should respect them.

      This is the good time to remind to remember MARTIN NIEMÖLLER:
      First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—

      Because I was not a Socialist.

      Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—

      Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

      Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—

      Because I was not a Jew.

      Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.


      You should copy this article and save it on your computer which I believe will come handy when you are in doubt about the fine line that divides Majoritarianism, minority rights, bigotry, racism, or afflicted by majoritarian mindset.

      Majority Rule/Minority Rights: Essential Principles
      http://democracyweb.org/majority-rule-principles

      My generalised observation:
      Here we have more stupid people than all the minorities put together.

      • 4
        4

        NV
        You have put down a whole list of minorities. Now try listing the rights of each in detail starting with
        Tamil rights
        Muslim rights
        Catholic rights
        Gay rights
        Etc., etc
        to be included in the next Constitution.
        Mister who decides the minority rights? It is the majority. Majority must develop mechanisms to punish its own members if they are found be inconsiderate towards others, if they violate equality. That’s how it works.

    • 8
      1

      Totally agreed Douglas. HELA Urumaya, TAMIL National Aliance and MUSLIM Congress should not be recognised parties by the Election Commissioner. You are damn right. What are minority rights? ALL are equal.
      Soma

  • 3
    1

    Only person out of the muslim parliamentarians could be trusted is Mujib ur Rahaman. Others dont have an ounce of shame.
    I fully endorse Abdul Samad comments.

  • 10
    0

    Dear Muslim Parliamentarians,

    All you guys are a set of jokers, especially the one whose file (“Kumari”) is under the constructive control of Medamulana Meeharak!

  • 8
    0

    Dera Dr. Ameer Ali

    You nailed. This is the message I have been telling them since the SLMC’s birth. But they are pleased with the the way they make money, therefore they use all their abilities to make it like a religious duty to vote for SLMC keep their business alive. Sign of it is the utterance of Nahre ( Urdu ), Thakbeer ( Arabic) Allahu Akbar at their election relies and meetings. Also they boost that the constitution of SLMC is based on Quranic teaching and Hadith, what a same?
    More over, there are more and more so called Muslim parties in action. National Congress, ACMC, Ullema Kadthi, and NFGG( proxy of Jamathe Islami) and one is taking shape as Muslim Nation. All these people are really sick.

  • 4
    0

    Dear Dr. Ameer Ali

    You nailed. This is the message I have been telling them since the SLMC’s birth. But they are pleased with the the way they make money, therefore they use all their abilities to make it like a religious duty to vote for SLMC and keep their business alive. Sign of it is the utterance of Nahre ( Urdu ), Thakbeer ( Arabic) Allahu Akbar at their election relies and meetings. Also they boost that the constitution of SLMC is based on Quranic teaching and Hadith, what a same?
    More over, there are more and more so called Muslim parties in action. National Congress, ACMC, Ullema Kadthi, and NFGG( proxy of Jamathe Islami) and one is taking shape as Muslim Nation. All these people are really sick.

  • 3
    1

    Ali’s argument is, in the past, Muslim minority is marginalized so as a way to get out of it, abolish the EP. Very narrow minded letter.
    There is no political explanation of why the presidential system is failing in Lankawe when it is working in US, France, Germany, Russia, China…… Even the King (monarchy) system is working well for Middle East Countries and few African Countries. Removing EP is going to right away give lifelong subscription to Old Royals to sit on the chair without any further 18A. Muslim votes also contributed disseating the Old king. Does Ali want that Muslims influence neutralized? JR brought the PR system to stop Tamils becoming opposition party leaders. Will Ali ask to change that? Then even Muslims can become Opposition Leaders instead it is always Muslim-Sinhala Government? While the current National Unit formula is working for Sinhalese and Ranil is confirming that format will continue to exist, then how Ali is explaining that Muslim MPs to have a say in the parliament? Is that they did not act in parliament against Kandy riots because EP was too powerful or their majority in front of Unity Government’s Majority (Even after the 16 split) is nowhere?
    For his information: JVP may foot within Sinhalese but never will within Tamils and Muslims, because of its extreme racial foundation. They never can get EP seat. It wants the war victory consolidated, no power devolved. It wants the Constitutional Committee abolished, which is one of the stands of Slap Party. That Slap Party scooped up that victory. Their campaign was “You want one country or Two Country?”
    Then, how Ali is explaining that removing EP will stop another Kandy Riot? Ali is still having hard time to understand that Kandy riots didn’t turn into Muslims’ 1983 because of Tamils activity in UNHRC at that time. These people are claiming they are smarter the Muslims parliamentarians. Pot is calling the Kettle black. This is the result as everybody calling them as Political consultants.

    • 0
      1

      Genocide of Tamils from 1956 continued in 1958. 1971, 1977, 1983 and from 2004-2009 more than 200,000 Tamils killed in these genocide; 147,000 in 2009 alone It is a fact and proved. view this link for more information and evidences;
      Mullivallal Massacre of the 147,000 Tamils.docx
      https://www.academia.edu/36458267/Mullivallal_Massacre_of_the_147_000_Tamils.docx

  • 4
    1

    SWRD’s Sinhala Only in 1955 and JR’s creation of EP in 1978 have done nothing good to the nation. Grave mistakes done only for personal/political gains.

    A constitutionally established dictatorship and authoritarian rule to control public pressure in Sri Lanka, was a tailor made to suit the fancies of JR who said it would help economic developments. What have we achieved now after decades? Late longest served FM, A C S Hameed was against it.

    • 1
      0

      Isharath,

      It wasn’t good before and it is not good afterwards. Why should we worry so much? JR had a vision at least. He saw the wasted potential of Sri Lanka. It was good that Sri Lanka opened it’s market to the global trade though it could have done more systematically. Sri Lanka prospered till the racial riots in 1983. If there was no war, Sri Lanka would have become what Malayasia is today.

      • 1
        1

        Shenal, this is the first intelligent comment from you I read. It is true if JR was given another term Sri Lanka would be different. Main hindrance for that was Premedasa who said he will sue JR if he extend his term. The other hindrance was from LTTE a brain child of India. India never wanted Sri Lanka to become an economic giant like Singapore, they want Sri Lanka to be poor and under them. So they created Eelam liberation organizations. The other devils were Buddhist fanatical Monks and racist Sinhalese. Whatever may be if JR was given another 4 years term he would have broken the devils back and taken Sri Lanka toward prosperity which every Sri Lankans will enjoy now.

      • 0
        0

        Seenal:
        You could be very true. But now, we have been without such a war for nearly a decade and still having open markets, unfortunately we have not seen anything positive and we seem invent and invite new issues to stay where we are or even to go backward – Probably some of us really enjoyed the period of war for some unknown reasons

  • 3
    2

    IF JVP knows that abolishing EP helpd the country, they should go ahead with it. I do not think EP is helping the country right now when ULTRA right wing PM who wreck the country can not be removed from the EP who signed his appointment. There should be something very wrong. EP can not remove evena minister means EP is a Puppet of the corrupt system,.

  • 3
    5

    AMEER ALI: Even here, you are scared to your muslims religious leaders. SUFIs believe a different ISlam. Sri lanka Sunni ISLAM is different. Why di dnot you accuse ULEMAS and NFGG etc, for their crimes. One of your sunni leaders have four women and he needs money to feed the family. What is the womens’ rifths there. Why you do not tlk about what muslims are doing to Sinhala buddhists (you think unlike Ashrof, HAkeem and Bathiuddin do not know those) in Mahinayangana, ALuthgama, KAtaragama, Dambulla, Digana killing of Sinhala buddhsit Driver. DEASH muslims attacking STF who went to protect them. UNP knows it.

    • 3
      0

      Pseudo named Jim softy the idiot. Why you are jealous of Sunni leader having four wives when he do it legally? It is you who cannot do that with your lifeless dick not good even for one woman. That is why Britishers brought one wife law for you all.

  • 6
    0

    excellent piece of writing on politics of the Muslim community and Sri Lankan politics. Politics are servants of public. As long as public sleep they will jolly rid them and exploit them.. they will make life out of weakness of public.
    out 0f 21 Muslim politicians how many of them are qualified to speak out any issues or any community and national issue. Sorry to say Sri Lanka did not set some qualifications to nominate people into politics ? that is why we see out of 225 MPs a half do not have A/L . what you can expect from them. |Good people do not come to politics. ..
    for Muslim community they should send all these home and get good people into politics. Some so called politicians want to die as politicians. I mean they want to be life time politicians .
    we should send them home and replace them with good people.

  • 3
    4

    There is no sense at all in this request. Promoting Muslim agenda will never work.
    Weakening Sinhalese will backfire on minorities.
    This country remain as one piece purely on the strength of Sinhalese.
    Given the magnitude of the corruption in the Parliament, Executive Presidency is the only stabilizing force for a unitary country, sovereignty, democracy and economy.

    • 3
      2

      “Remain as one piece purely on the strength of Sinhalese” – Important is to remain as one nation, not just a piece. EP itself is sort of authoritarianism, how can it stabilize democracy? EP might have helped win the war, but on the other hand, it contributed its creation. Whatever the parliamentary systems we had/have, what are the stabilities we have achieved politically and economically since self rule?

      • 1
        0

        Fathima
        Even the PM can act as a dictator even without executive powers as Ranil did in 2000-2004. He completely disregarded the Executive President and acted on his own. Eg: CFA with LTTE.

        • 5
          1

          Champa.
          Are you eating punnakku for your meals.
          CFA with LTTE was a master strategic move by RW. During the period there was no mass killing or butcher shops.
          Just because MR finished off the war at Nandikadal it doesnt mean he has bought peace only Chaos.

          • 2
            2

            Thengai Srinivasan
            The cowardice CFA which proposed to hand over North and East to a blood thirsty savage terrorist leader may be a master strategic to you. But fortunately there was Wimal (JVP) who filed a case in SC to stop it.
            Then again, fortunately, there was a gallant leader who declared war against terrorism and won saving the lives of 21 million people and the sovereignty of the country.

  • 2
    0

    It is easy to blame the politicians.
    What did the businessmen do?
    Was it not the Fasion Bug owner that offered to drop the matter when the arsonists were hauled up before court?
    *
    Be real. The big business community will dislike a confrontational approach no less than the politician.
    *
    It is good to abolish the executive presidency. What takes its place then?
    The people will suffer without devolution of power.
    Is the JVP ready for it?

    • 6
      1

      SJ,
      /
      Muslim high street retailers can’t go any where near a court of LAW. If they did, all their illegal, unethical shenanigans would come out. It is Muslim retailers who beg the police to not proceed with the investigation.

      • 1
        0

        The case was about arson. The Business was also under undue pressure to drop the matter.
        Let us not make excuses for chauvinist thuggery and the compliance of the legal system and the police with it.
        *
        All businessmen, Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims, are involved in shady deals. That is the way to wealth.
        They litigate if the powers that be are on their side.

  • 5
    4

    Muslims speak for muslims, tamilans speak for tamils, marxists and leftists speak for minorities, yahapalas, atheists and unpiers speak for minorities…

    Never seen a muslim writter criticize muslim extremism, never seen a tamilan criticize tamil racism or LTTE terrorism.

    All in this forum can agree on one sacred fact… sinhalese buddhists, their priests and their political leaders are the common enemy…for all in this forum.

    • 2
      0

      Hilmi
      Do not generalize about who fails to criticize what.
      The problem could be in your selective reading.

  • 10
    3

    Ameer,
    .
    So cunning(not all) Muslims don’t get pampered, spoiled and empowered by Sinhala power hungry, unpatriotic politicians anymore. You must know that the Sinhala-Buddhist executive presidency is especially created to counter threats from minorities to the Sinhala-Buddhist nation.
    /
    Digana – Jihadi Alhaj Muslims started the riot by killing innocent Sinhalese. 1915 Gampola- Muslims started the riot by throwing stones at the ‘dewala perehera’. Aluthgama -Muslims started the riot by assaulting a monk , Ginthota-Muslims started the riot, Ampara- Muslims started the riot by selling food that was unsuitable for human consumption (Muslims assault Public Health Inspectors, Muslim eateries are no go zone for PHIs), Muslims retailers damaged their stores for insurance scams and frame BBS (two birds in one stone), and those Muslim retailers are into all sort of illegal business activities, that’s why those Muslims are unable to go any where near a court of law.
    /
    So Ameer you worry about environmental problem- blame Baduwadeen, the swine is eating up Wilpattuwa forest, the trees that had been cut down were more then 300/400 years old,and worth billions of Rupees.
    /
    Kuragala, Dewanagla, 10000 acre Muhudumaha viharaya, 15000 acre Digawapiya are yet to be saved from Muslim invaders.
    /
    80000 Rupee compensation is too much for couple of broken windows.
    /
    Almost all of Muslim politician have “files”; as you mention ‘Kumari file’ , ‘Stones thrown at the magistrate file’ , ‘production of fraudulent land deed file’, and more files. Some Muslim politicians and Muslim organizations are under surveillance by the Western intelligence agencies who are active in Sri Lanka.
    /
    So called minorities who have live in Sri Lanka for 3 generations must have fully integrated with the native Sinhalese by now.

  • 2
    3

    Muslim politicians hide their money in Malaysia, Singapore, Britain, and in Middle Eastern countries.

    • 6
      1

      Johnny Baby

      “Muslim politicians hide their money in Malaysia, Singapore, Britain, and in Middle Eastern countries.”

      Otherwise you crooks will rob them or burn down their businesses, properties and investments. Now you complain about them depriving you a share of their hard earned wealth.

      Lazy bums, go learn a skill, work, work hard, save money.

      Why don’t you look at finances of professional crooks, the politicians?

  • 3
    0

    There’s a wrong perception about these politicians who claim that they are leaders of Muslim community. In my view, they have formed some political parties to meet the needs of a handful few henchmen and to show the government big wigs that they are leaders of the the Muslims. Yet, they get a lion share of the governmental perks etc, by projecting themselves as leaders of the whole community. It has been clearly evidenced that, at large they do not deliver the goods to the community and in particular at the hour of need they conveniently shirk their responsibilities and duties. Reason could be that they don’t assert themselves as most of them have skeletons in their cupboards or have no idea of have to wield their powers as a parliamentarian.

  • 4
    0

    Dr. Ali, my question is are you a Sri Lankan, half Srilankan or
    No Srilankan ?!

    • 0
      0

      3X
      How does it matter?

  • 0
    2

    Native Vedda: That list of “Minorities” must also enjoy EQUAL RIGHTS as every other citizen; but please note there are NO SEPARATE rights just because of a “Social Classification” to segregate them as “Minorities”. Those “Classifications” (you listed) are also “Commodities for SALE” in the political market of Sri Lanka. Even you, “Native Vedda” must be EQUAL. My computer is not used to save historical BS you live with. “Soma” has asked you for some important information. I think you should answer that call.

  • 4
    2

    Muslims = terrorists. Buddhists = innocents

  • 0
    0

    We all look like a bunch of frogs in well fighting each others it be Politics, Religion, Communal or what ever it be. Other countries have gone far ahead of them and there will be more to pass our line.
    If the expense spent for the bloody war of both the forces and the terrorist of the same country were utilized in a proper manner in the right path and hardworking, trustworthy, intelligent, educated men and politicians were in proper positions, Sri-Lanka would have certainly gone ahead of Singapore.

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