25 March, 2019

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Have Kabir & Ranil Acted Openly & Legally?

By Rajiva Wijesinha

Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha MP

Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha MP

I have received via Facebook an article in Colombo Telegraph by Mr Nishtar Idroos suggesting that Mr Faizer Musthapha and I are what he describes as ‘thotta babas’. He claims that he wants ‘our legislators to grow up and not just come of age’ and that ‘there is a huge difference between the two’, but does not explain what he means by this erudite distinction.

He has a simple solution for what he sees as my problem, namely ‘The good professor had to say just one thing to Minister Kabir Hashim and the whole issue would have been resolved, “Kabir please make sure this does not happen again”.’

Perhaps he would have done better, before going public with his words of wisdom, to have checked whether or not it had happened previously.

On Friday January 30th Kabir Hashim had given orders to the Secretary to my Ministry, without keeping me informed. I wrote to him as follows on the following Monday

Dear Kabir

I was told by my Secretary that you had requested him last Friday to provide information on the filling of vacancies in the higher education sector since last October. You had also wanted details of vehicle allocations of the Ministry.

Kabir Hashim

Kabir Hashim

I have no objection to your collecting such information, but I am surprised that you did not discuss the matter with me. It also seems to me profoundly unethical that you should have issued instructions to the Secretary to my Ministry direct.

You had told me the previous week that you would leave me to handle matters in my Ministry, and indeed that you would be far too busy with working towards the election to spare time for most areas in the Ministry. I have no idea whether the information you want is for the election, but were it for the purpose of introducing the systemic reforms to which this government is pledged, working together with me would have been more productive.

Please let me know what is going on. Also, last week you had told me that you wanted me to look after Technical and Vocational Training, but later you mentioned that the Prime Minister seemed to think otherwise. You were going to tell me the decision after you met him on Sunday January 25th, but I did not hear from you all week. Given the urgency of problems in that sector to which I have drawn your attention, a swift decision is needed. Simple action such as combining the VTA and NAITA, which you said the Prime Minister had suggested, will not be enough. Some deeper understanding of the situation will be required for productive action.

I look forward to hearing from you. Yours sincerely’

I did not get a reply to this letter, instead a couple of days later he had written to the Chairman of the UGC as follows – ‘I have been directed by His Excellency the President to inform you to tender your resignation from the chairmanship of the UGC with immediate effect’. He wrote in similar vein to other members of the UGC, and also told the Chairman ‘I write to inform you to request all members of the Governing Authorities appointed by the University Grants Commission to tender their resignations with immediate effect in order to reconstitute all the Governing Authorities of Higher Educational Institutions and lnstitutes.’ None of these letters was copied to me.

Earlier, on January 27th, as I later found out, Mr Hashim had written to the President as follows – ‘We,therefore,request permission of Your Excellency for the following: a. To request the chair person and members of the university Grants commission to tender their resignations forthwith’ b. To request the council members of all state universities to tender their resignations with immediate effect’’. This had I believe followed on a meeting with FUTA which in its notes on the meeting declared that

‘”Prime Minister stated that all UGC Commission members including the Chair will be requested to resign. Request letters will come through the Secretary to the President

Minister Kabeer Hashim stated that he requests all Council members of universities to resign.”

The President told me that he had not been consulted about the dismissal of the UGC. Mr Hashim had previously wanted me to appoint UNP dons to vacancies in the UGC, and later he told me that I could choose from lists in the Prime Minister’s office.

The University Grants Commission comes direct under the President. Unfortunately, though the Prime Minister seems to have acknowledged this in the second part of the first note, when he did not get any response from the President’s office, Mr Hashim took it upon himself to act. He used the President’s name without authorization.

Mr Hashim recognized that the situation he had created was impossible and said he would recommend I be made a Cabinet Minister. He has said this three times and promised to get back to me after speaking to those responsible, but never did so. The Prime Minister promised to get back to me the day after speaking to former President Kumaratunga but has not as yet called me back.

In a magnificient peroration, Mr Idroos declares that ‘Good governance is accountability, Good governance is transparency, Good governance follows rule of law, Good governance is responsive, Good governance is equitable and inclusive, Good governance is effective and efficient, Good governance is participatory, Good governance works solely for the people amidst constraints and hardship.’

Does Mr Idroos think Mr Hashim has assumed responsibility for his actions, which is part of accountability? Has he acted openly? Has he followed the rule of law? Had he even looked at the Act before making decisions and implementing them? Has he been responsive? Has he acted equitably, when claiming that he dimissed the Chair because of pressure for FUTA? Even FUTA now says that an inquiry would have been welcome. Has he been inclusive?

He told me clearly that he could not do the work himself. Last week he was attending a seminar on election strategy and said he would not be going to the Ministry, and the next day he went to Deraniyagala. Has he been effective and efficient? Has he acted participatorily? And has he, in not ensuring that the crisis was solved after promising to do this, worked ‘solely for the people’?

In my letter of resignation I told His Excellency that ‘I have long realized that it is not possible to work effectively if one has lost the confidence of those in authority.’ So much being done behind my back indicates that there was another agenda than that on which we worked together for the election.

I think Mr Idroos would do better to apply his concern and understanding of what good governance means to Mr Hashim and the Prime Minister. Perhaps he should also ask Mr Hashim why his personal staff descended like vultures on the Ministry this week and tried to take away its vehicles. I have tried to call Mr Hashim to suggest he control them, but his phone is permanently switched off. I have a different vision of what the Right to Information means, and I hope Mr Idroos will also be a bit more scientific in holding those with responsibilities accountable.

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Latest comments

  • 7
    1

    Can someone please explain to me how this BLOODY FOOL became an MP?
    Second question I have is what kind of a donkey in Oxford conferred this man with a PhD? Sorry I do not mean to be facetious and apologize for being a pain the butt (No offense to BUTTler either). I seriously do not know the answers!

  • 5
    1

    Rajiva,

    If you are a truly educated man, you would realize that it is more important to support the present administration’s efforts at bringing in change to the deteriorating condition in the country irrespective of your role in it. What you are doing is to throw out the baby with the bathwater. Surely you of all should realize that you need to have the bigger picture in mind when you act. Publishing letters you wrote to someone within the administration you are part of is hardly the professional thing to do. Just because Kabir, Ranil and MS are tolerant and open to criticism, you are able to wash this ‘dirty linen’ in public – MR would have had his own way of silencing you.

    Please, please, rescue yourself and the academic community by showing the intelligent way to deal with this kind of situation, and yet supporting an administration that can very easily be undermined by your actions and words, thus playing directly to the hands of the ‘infamous four’ of Nugegoda Show repute.

    One more request. Please resign. But don’t make an issue of it. Just try hard and keep your ego under control. You’ll probably be much more useful as a civil society voice, rather than in government.

    Academic.

  • 6
    1

    Rajivs,
    Pl remember that you are NOT an elected representative of the people.
    The reason you are an MP is because you came in on the National List f whatever party.
    You should never have received a portfolio, because you have done absolutely nothing apart from hacking your cousin Ranil from the day you entered parliament and whenever you open your fowl mouth.
    Just because you have a good command f the English language, doesn’t mean you have to use it all the time.
    Learn the art of Silence.
    I dread to think of your family, having to live with a moron like you.
    Resign from your portfolio & shut up.
    You ll never get back to parliament, so you don’t want to QUIT.
    That’s the reason you are hamging on.

  • 0
    0

    Majority of these comments are biased and not respects for democracy or the pledges of the new government on good governance.

    Any parliamentary member, whether he/she is a elected/national list is responsible to serve the people accordingly the constitution. Especially, for this government, it is open for any criticisms because they are here to run a good governance.

    All responses seems, they are ready to accept what ever the misconducts of the the politicians because of the colour of the party.

    What Prf,RW says is need to review with open minds and see the core of his opinions. All of which are exactly relevant to run a better government under the principles of good governance. That is necessary to see a better future for SL.

    Especially, Rajiva came with Maithree to form this government at the first instant, that is not for his personal games, just for the betterment of the public. So, if this government runs in a wrong track he should be in the first line to make it correct rather than being silent.

    So ,we hat off for Prof. Rajiva for his open comments that is exactly needed to be corrected

  • 0
    0

    Majority of these comments are biased and not respects for democracy or the pledges of the new government on good governance.

    Any parliamentary member, whether he/she is a elected/national list is responsible to serve the people accordingly the constitution. Especially, for this government, it is open for any criticisms because they are here to run a good governance.

    All responses seems, they are ready to accept what ever the misconducts of the the politicians because of the colour of the party.

    What Prf,RW says is need to review with open minds and see the core of his opinions. All of which are exactly relevant to run a better government under the principles of good governance. That is necessary to see a better future for SL.

    Especially, Rajiva came with Maithree to form this government at the first instant, that is not for his personal games, just for the betterment of the public. So, if this government runs in a wrong track he should be in the first line to make it correct rather than being silent.

    So ,we hat off for Prof. Rajiva for his open comments that is exactly needed to be concerned by Ranil

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