20 July, 2024

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Eliminating Political Corruption: The Key To Our Recovery

By Chula Goonasekera

Sri Lanka is grappling with a severe cost-of-living crisis rooted in pervasive political corruption. Political intermediaries profit at every stage, shifting the burden onto consumers. The economy has plummeted due to corrupt leaders using the government to further personal agendas and misusing public funds on unproductive projects while simultaneously selling national assets and depleting public reserves. Under such deceptive governance, our future hard work and increased taxes will be in vain, offering no relief to ordinary citizens as corrupt politicians continue to siphon off surplus funds.

Sri Lanka’s predicament is akin to trying to fill a bucket riddled with ever-growing holes, as corruption infiltrates all levels of government—from the president to local representatives. The politicisation of institutions enables political cronies to divert public funds for personal gain. Nearly all politicians engage in some form of corruption, including bribery, lobbying, cronyism, nepotism, parochialism, influence peddling, and embezzlement. This corruption is the root cause of our national problems, including the economic crisis, drug trafficking, and money laundering. Eradicating political corruption will automatically address our debt crisis, reduce living costs, and pave the way for a better future for all of us.

We must recognise that taxes determine how much of our earnings go to the government and how much we retain for our families. The government has no money of its own and depends entirely on the people’s earnings. Increased government spending means borrowing from our savings and foreign sources or raising taxes, with the burden ultimately falling on the citizens. In reality, there is no ‘government money’; it is all taxpayers’ money. True prosperity cannot be achieved through extravagant public spending programs, and no nation has prospered by overtaxing its citizens. Therefore, ensuring that every rupee collected in taxes is spent wisely for the public’s and the nation’s benefit is crucial. Currently, this remains a distant dream.

The current election propaganda spending spree exemplifies how foreign associations collaborate with local stooges, reminiscent of past traitors who facilitated foreign colonization for personal gain, leading to centuries of colonial rule. Although patriotic and passionate citizens secured independence in 1948, today’s political traitors are enabling foreign encroachment through modern tactics, creating severe debt crises and exchanging perks for their benefit at the nation’s expense. The national debt has doubled from $51 billion to $100 billion in two years, providing no benefits to the public and leaving loan repayments unmet.

In the past, our ancestors valiantly fought against deceptive traitors and foreign forces to protect our culture, assets, and resources. Today, similar issues are resurfacing, with foreign encroachment taking a different form. By exploiting a debt crisis through alliances with traitorous politicians, our nation is being reduced to a “modern slave class,” forced to work endlessly to repay debts while offering national enterprises and assets to foreigners for pittances.

Eradicating political corruption is essential for recovery; otherwise, we and future generations will work like slaves, paying exorbitant taxes to support corrupt representatives and their foreign counterparts who steal and indulge in luxury while neglecting public welfare. For instance, domestic restructuring has depleted about a third of pension funds. Although the IMF intervened for immediate rescue, foreign debt restructuring with IMF assistance appears to come at an exorbitant cost, and our government seems willing to collaborate blindly without negotiating any significant concessions. It seems our government is working with the IMF to keep us in a perpetual debt crisis, ultimately benefiting lenders, not us.

It is time for the nation to wake up and take control of the political mafia that caters to foreign interests in exchange for perks, jeopardizing our future and turning us into a failed nation. We must empower the civil administration to prevent ministers and their cronies from independently signing agreements on public loans, contracts, national asset dissolution, and selling national enterprises without proper national civil procedures to ensure transparency and assess all risks and benefits. In this 21st century, we must empower legislative acts in the short term to eliminate political corruption entirely, followed by a public referendum for long-term solutions. By eradicating political corruption with a politically independent judiciary and reformed commissions, we can pave the way for an independent five-pillar government consisting of the Constitution and Legislature with a Senate, Judiciary, Executive, and Independent Commissions. This structure will oversee the legality of new laws and uphold the Constitution’s supremacy in all aspects of governance, ensuring that the people govern the country in a fully liberal democratic setup.

Regardless of their rhetoric, actions, or promises, our politicians continue to deceive, glossing over the issues and making hollow commitments without concrete plans. They rely on catchy slogans and orchestrated rallies, offering mere assurances without detailed explanations. They replace meaningful dialogue with empty platitudes and stage extravagant events, ultimately at our cost, to mesmerize the masses. They are truly accountable for the misery in our economy, deteriorating educational opportunities, poor healthcare, lack of law enforcement, and the rise of organized violence. They never address eliminating political corruption or making the constitution more robust and people-friendly. Their anti-corruption statements focus on minor corrupt practices in the community, ignoring the ‘mega’ corruption facilitated by and for politicians. They have exploited and continue to exploit racial and religious divisions for their own gain. That is why we need a new set of honest, quality parliamentarians, however amateur they may be, who are passionately committed to working for our country and helping our nation start on the path to recovery. The current 225 are all complicit in deception and are unlikely to bring any constructive change.

Reducing ministerial portfolios to the minimum necessary by aligning their functions, eliminating perks for politicians and their associates, and abolishing ‘duty-free’ privileges will significantly reduce our tax burden. These measures alone will help alleviate our debt crisis by conserving foreign currency reserves and local public funds. Political leaders should be prohibited from unilaterally approving projects that offer them commissions. Such approvals should only be granted with the endorsement of an independent procurement commission. This will prevent the implementation of substandard projects in exchange for personal benefits or commissions to political figures. Furthermore, it will curb the deceptive practices of corrupt politicians who resort to borrowing merely to repay existing debts and create a temporary illusion of progress solely for electoral purposes.

Once political corruption at all levels is eradicated, its positive impact will reverberate across every sector. This transformation will lead to substantial changes: the government will have greater funds available to raise salaries, and the prices of local produce and imports will decrease without political middlemen who manipulate commissions, over-invoicing, and exchange substandard products at inflated costs, burdening the public. Implementing a meritocratic system in all government institutions will enhance efficiency, ensuring they become true assets to the people.

These reforms will pave the way for a more transparent and effective governance system, benefiting public administration and the entire populace.

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Latest comments

  • 11
    1

    “Eradicating political corruption will automatically address our debt crisis, reduce living costs, and pave the way for a better future for all of us.”
    It is 100% true. But how to eradicate it? Is it possible by our political system? No. Because Political system is above the law. What makes the political system above the law? Racism and Religious Fundamentalism allows the political system to act above the law. Where the problem starts? It is with Maha Sangha that is considered as above the law.
    This island trapped itself with these complexities and there is no solution as long as this system remains powerful.

    • 4
      11

      ‘Where the problem starts? It is with Maha Sangha that is considered as above the law.’

      Nonsense. If the Sangha was as pure as driven snow and had no involvement in politics, do you think the politicians, lawyers, police etc would not be corrupt? You are just spouting Tamil racism.

      • 12
        2

        In bankrupt Lanka, politicians, Maha Sangha, Cardinal, Viyathgama, businessmen, corrupt, racists, underworld , security, lawyers, judiciary …………… are all in nexus making corrupt Lanka dysfunctional and failed. How can anyone separate one from other??? Millions of retards keep electing corrupt politicians to normalize corruption, crime, racism . One covers the other. Example minister of Health with help of regulating bodies distributing fake medicines to own people. Can’t beat that. Check the last corruption index.

        • 7
          0

          See not even 24 hours passed since me writing above comment. The guy who was shot dead ” Club Wasantha ” is a close family friend of Rajapaksa family. The deceased underworld gangster, also claimes to be friends with 60 % of current MP,S. Many of the crooked criminal parliamentarians with underworld links are elected by SB racists. They’ll have the backing of Maha Sangha. See DM for ” interview with club Wasantha”.

          • 5
            0

            OMG, the story behind the murder is getting more and more spicier than the good old western / mafia movies. Even the judge who visited the murder site compared Lanka to ” Chicago of yore “. ( not bad for a SB country ). According to Lanka police ALL 25 bullet casings found at the murder site had the signature of the Don, who organized the killing. ( KPI, imprinted on them, and police believes initials stand for Kanjipani Imran ). Reportedly Wasantha got Imran’s friend Madush arrested and encountered in police custody, in 2019. Rajapaksas helped Wasantha then , in elevating as the new Don, taking control of rival territory. It will not be a surprise, if told , they were also close to Imran and Madush , prior to EASTER attacks, 2019.

      • 6
        0

        Svenson,
        “You are just spouting Tamil racism”!!??
        Whilst you endeavour to Guard that of Sinhala Racism, and Bigotry!!!???
        Irrespective, BASIC STAND on above matter IS, “NONE being ABOVE the LAW” of the REPUBLIC!!!??? In a DEMOCRACY, THERE AREN’T ANY KINGS OR KINGS SERVANTS!!!???
        NO preferential situations of any KIND, SHAPE or FORM should EXIST, or Enabled, provide ANY EXCUSES!!??
        If Democracy ISN’T preferred, Sinhalese must FIND their Lost ‘Kandyan Kingdom’!?
        THEN THEY WOULD HAVE THE SANCTITY OF PURPOSE, THEIR OWN PURSUASION achieved by Resurgence of KANDYAN KINGDOM (‘KK’) (1815)!!?? FURTHER, they may have ‘Telugu Origin’, “NAYAKKAR KING” of OLD!!?? “KANNASAMY’s”, Closest Kin, “CROWNED as King,” Reigns under advice of Sangha!!!???
        Automatically solve 75 year old National question, once Jaffna and VANNIMAR Kingdom, (Northeast Eastern Littoral – captured by Portuguese!!?? SEPARATE from ‘KK’ rightfully – Nallur Kingdom!!?? SL beleaguered History 30+ years, SEPERATIST war 100,000+ dead SOLVED, rather than being styled “PEAKY BLINDERS SERIES RESEMBLANCE”, and continuing for ETERNITY!!??
        You should be ELATED RESOLVING AND QUITE RIGHTLY SO, longstanding (75 years), like a “sore thumb” all these years, solving the knotty issue by RECREATING the respective Kingdoms – Not because one loves Kingdoms!!?? GREAT visionary Indeed!!?? GOOD ON YOU!!??

  • 5
    1

    … his corruption is the root cause of our national problems
    Think again.
    .
    … They have exploited and continue to exploit racial and religious divisions
    Requires amendment,
    They cause and, exploit racial and religious divisions.
    .
    … perks for politicians and their associate
    A major factor for depletion of our meagre resources.

  • 2
    2

    eliminating corruption will depend on the president.His culture will permeate downwards or if he is a lame duck president like ranil who is unable to take action against those who support him.

    i think the JVP is squeaky clean where corruption is concerned and if anura is president then good.

    however corruption is not he only vital issue.Competitiveness is also important.JVP policies ???

    • 1
      0

      shankar, you consider eliminating competitiveness is as vital as eliminating corruption. Is not the solution to come into unity for JPP, SLFP and SJB and power sharing in the governing area of the leadership to show their humility. Is it not better to scrap this disturbing presidency. Then it becomes easy to legally imprison these robbers and jail them to recover the stolen wealth of the nation on which they live in luxury thinking foolishly that they are non-working royalty. The current 225 must be defeated before they sell off the whole nation to gather for themselves.

      • 0
        0

        davidthegod
        i agree with you that we do not need a presidency.We just need a pm like in singapore.However i don’t think the presidency is the root cause of corruption.

        with regard to the 225 MPS i don’t think we need so much.Only 100 of high quality.

    • 2
      1

      Dear Shankar,
      First things first. Before there is an economic recovery, it must not change its course and hand over the baton to leftist groups led by AKD. AKD’s politics is similar to that of Gotabhaya who promised a higher mandate and was eventually driven out by the people.

      Corruption everywhere in the country. It’s everywhere now. I feel its condition has now reached the level of an infected tree.

      In the Philippines, Duterte could not succeed with his strict law and order. He was defeated and the former corrupt people returned to power. However, now they are calling Duterte again.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kOF10kp-s4&t=220s

      Nothing will be productive or useful for the people until the economic situation is good. We should be very careful not to make the situation worse.

      • 0
        0

        leelagemalli

        i agree with you that economic policies are important and ranil has got it right there ut he is not doing anything to eradicate corruption.I think sajit is the compromise.

  • 2
    1

    I​n the UK we have just kicked out the party that was in power ​for 14 years and elected a new party to govern the country. Hopes are high as the new PM Sir Keir Starmer’s mission is to put the country first before party politics and maintain high standards in office. Now we await for him to walk the talk.
    ~
    Sri Lanka needs a system change and a leader at the top who will put the country first before party politics and self-interest by maintaining high standards in the office​ at every layer (Cabinet Ministers, State Ministers, MPs, civil service, state sector, local authorities, etc). This means, among other things, zero tolerance for corruption and cronyism. In the last 75 years, the old parties have failed miserably to achieve these noble objectives. Why should the people trust them again? Please give me one good reason!
    ~
    https://youtu.be/SMlICJmROBo?t=4

    • 2
      0

      KP

      “…………. elected a new party to govern the country. “

      It is not a new party that won recent elections in the UK.
      The Labour party that won recent elections was established much much earlier. First labour MP was James Keir Hardie who was elected to Parliament in 1892.

      The Labour party first formed government in 1924, a century ago.

      “Now we await for him to walk the talk.”

      Does Keir Starmer still believe Zionist total siege over Gaza is still legal under International Human Rights Law?
      He might find some relief for his own people within the UK however no way he could bring peace in the rest of the world.

  • 7
    1

    Serving the country is an honour but in SL, for politicians, it is ‘licence to print money’. We will have sincere politicians when we abolish all perks & privileges & political parties take the responsibility for nominating educated people with a good track record as candidates for parliamentary representation.

    Whether in politics or in govt. service, privileges, such as , duty concessionary permits, are unfair as it is funded by the citizens. The JVP, which represent the worker, did not reject these perks, at least, even in principle. These privileged people receive a salary, therefore, why do they deserve additional perks & tax breaks when the average citizen, particularly, those in the private sector lower down in the salary scale, work hard & are penalised by an unfair system? Everybody deserves a living wage & in developed countries, whether it is a street sweeper, teacher or office clerk, earns the same living wage. A junior doctor earns less than a senior nurse or a skilled blue colour worker but everyone, including politicians (apart from the Royalty who are sponging on the tax payer), pays tax. The day we address these anomalies & treat all citizens equally, we will eliminate corruption & have a better civic minded society.

    • 5
      0

      Why are Parliamentarians exempt from TAX!!!???

  • 0
    0

    Dear Rational thinkers,
    .
    People are deceived about JVPRS. This is done with false propaganda
    .
    https://www.ft.lk/letters-to-the-editor/False-utterances-by-JVP-leader-to-farmers-meeting-on-kidney-disease-at-Girandurukotte/10498-763398

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