24 November, 2017

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If You Don’t Say,”No,” When You Have To Say,”No,” You Stand For Nothing

By Shyamon Jayasinghe

Shyamon Jayasinghe

To be sure, the yahapalanaya government, now into its third year, has done something substantial. However, it is getting into the bad books of people for what it has not done. Neglect outdoes achievement.

The result is that ample fodder is given on a plate to the opposition.Those who want to see the government fall like to cling to a negative rhetoric. Where is yahapalanaya? What have they done? To be sure, one hears such negative refrains not only from the Rajapaksa-committed. A very large number of people at home and in the Diaspora keep talking that way adversely.

The former Deputy Governer of the Central Band, W.A Wijewardena, who has been quite vocal about government failures ever since the yahapalanaya government was formed, told an audience  recently that,”this is a lame-duck government.”

All sorts of rumours are floating. The problem is compounded when communication from the government side isn’t catching up with complaints. Successful governments keep in communication with the people. The major question in the lips of numerous people is: “Why isn’t their progress in catching the rogues and criminals of the former regime?’’ Numerous other question of less import but of equal dramatic impact keep flowing with no explanations been offered.

In this respect, the government-controlled media in Sri Lanka has been most ineffective in the past, while independent media are freely using the tolerance granted by yahapalanaya in order to attack yahapalanaya. The new atmosphere of tolerance gives ample space. British Philosopher AC Grayling states,”Tolerance is not only the centrepiece but the paradox of liberalism. For liberalism enjoins tolerance of opposing viewpoints, and allows them to have their say, leaving it to the democracy of ideas to decide which shall prevail. The  result is too often the death of toleration itself, because those who live by hard principles and uncompromising  views in political, moral, and religious respects will always, if given half a chance, silence liberals because liberalism, by its nature, threatens the hegemony they wish to impose.

So, now we observe how Media attacks the government and street protestors attack the government. BBS is said to be at large, burning Muslim shops at will. This is the new land of yahapalanaya tolerance and freedom of expression. Freedom has now been taken for granted so much that it isn’t valued any longer. Even knowledgeable experts of the ilk of  W.A Wijewardena would have got into a soup had they been caught criticising Mahinda Rajapaksea, Gotabaya or the siblings during those dark years. In fact, I have never heard Wijewardena do that.

In a sense, there is a justifiable context for government silence that critics like Wijewardena do not reckon. Criticism must reckon context. One can see the government struggling to keep its numbers in Parliament in order to pass the new constitution. For this reason they seem be just giving in to demands. MPs are given massive financial benefits, luxury car permits etc. Their greed is satisfied to maximum extent. The crooked from the former regime have been bought over and these idiots are kept with a wide margin of tolerance. The most recent case of yielding to pressure was when the former Finance Minister, Ravi Karunanayake, made a Shylock-like demand for two agencies that fell under his former portfolio-the Lotteries Board and something else, which under no stretch of imagination can be classed classified under the Foreign Ministry. That was an appalling decision. If Ravi has ambitions of going up the ladder in politics this kind of episode is going to black mark him. President caved in. Ravi appears to be a hard nut to crack. He organised something called the “Best Finance Minister in Asia,” title for himself. It was  a joke for others but Ravi took it seriously. It is a credit to the sense of the President and PM that they weren’t impressed. It is a characteristic of the stupid that they assume others are stupider than them.

It is easy to comprehend that government hand-outs like the above are strategic concessions made under constraint in order to sustain the government’s strength in Parliament. Numbers in Parliament are vital for any legislation and, particularly, in order to pass the new constitution. I think the government is being very politically down-to-earth and pragmatic. The tight-rope walk is fairly fluent. A country’s constitution is its most fundamental legal document. It lays down the rules of the whole game of political process. It was because people realised that, that they cried for a new constitution that expels the Executive Presidency. For the Rainbow Revolution to materialise, this horrible institution must go. Sri Lanka’s social and political culture has become so pliant and so corruptible over the decades that the country has become vulnerable to the agendas of damaged and obsessional Presidential incumbents. The institution of the Executive Prime Minister would, on the other hand, while leaving in the hands of the incumbent adequate powers to govern firmly, make that institution thoroughly accountable to Parliament. If that change-over can be effected, it is “hurrah!” for the yahapalanaya movement. We believe the rest of the processes of good governance will follow on the heels of this change.

On the other hand, this conceding game of the government is in dangerous territory. By conduct sans principles, government will lose acceptability and respect within and outside Parliament. This triggers an erosion process that can well lead to a political landslide. President Sirisena and the Prime Minister must develop the guts to reject and repudiate dark moves from among their fold. They must learn to say, “No!” If one does not reject anything one stands for nothing.

*The writer can be contacted at sjturaus@optusnet.com.au

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Latest comments

  • 4
    4

    If he doesn’t get the Srilankan Airlines, Colombo Stock Excange and the Lotteries Board , Galleon Ravi is going to tell all about Singapore Mahendran’s Central Bank Robbery……And the Social Media reckon the Cardiac Infarction of Dr Batalanda Ranil is mainly due to the stress of Yahapalan dodgy deals……….No surprise there , I guess……..

  • 6
    0

    A good article. People took a brave move to replace the most corruptive dictator in January 2015. They believed that the new regime will do something. Now almost completed 30 months and still we couldn’t see any action on those who violated the law and order, stole billions of money of the public and destroyed the whole democratic system. Now the people are suspecting that the real intention of this Yahapalna propaganda was a game plan to safeguard the former regime from international pressure and to hand over the power again to that regime once the pressure is gone. It appears that the new constitution will never happen, there will be no internal or external investigation on human rights violations and war crimes, there is no action against corrupted individuals etc.

  • 6
    1

    “The major question in the lips of numerous people is: “Why isn’t their progress in catching the rogues and criminals of the former regime?’’ When you say ‘numerous people’, I guess you mean the toiyas in Colombo 7 and similar lot in Australia, UK, USA, Canada, France. For the ordinary folks in the country, the major question/issue is how to meet the ends with a skyrocketing inflation. During Sirima’s time there were no goods but there were price controls. During Ranil’s time there are goods, thanks to remittances by the ladies in the Middle East but prices are beyond the reach of ordinary folks. Did you ever hear Sri Lankans buying half a coconut? That is the plight of the poor people. Those who are in Diyawannawa do not know how the other half die. They get luxury cars, all kinds of perks. These are all bribes. “while independent media are freely using the tolerance granted by yahapalanaya in order to attack yahapalanaya. The new atmosphere of tolerance gives ample space.” On an earlier occasion, Ranil named journalists and attacked in the Parliament which is highly unethical. Few days ago John Amaratunga displayed the ‘Height of Tolerance’.

  • 2
    2

    Those who knows that, all the hard copy media are bankrupt because of Internet. So, their editors, for money, any articles if some one pays. that is how during the war time, LTTE got different newspapers to ridicule Sri lanka. What ever it is, since 1972, Sri lankan parliament has the worst kind of people than Bogambara or Welikada and they are running the country and it is continue. UNP, SLFP are all lies. They are one and the same.

  • 3
    2

    Mr. shyamon Jayasinghe: Whole yahapalana govt is a den of theives. Both the president and Prime minister knows. NEws media publish it very often. But, the two leaders are silent. They reports thefts in evry where. In most places politicians do it. the ioorst thing is Ravi Kanunakaye as the foreign minister managing the lotereis board, stock exchange, and some other financial institutions. The question is why the leaders are so chicken. Are they pushing the govt towards the SLFP/UPFA

  • 3
    2

    The moment I saw the title what flashed across my mind was the ‘civil society ‘ reaction to the case of reappointment of the defeated candidates. Did the suckers who brought this government into power raise a whimper? I expected them all on the street in one bunch on one big ‘satyagraha’ to pay some respect to those masses who were fooled by them. If they didn’t say NO at that stage they amount to nothing thereafter. ——“Successful governments keep in communication with the people.” So they apointed Rajitha Senanayake as their spookes person.!—– Soma

  • 2
    0

    Shyamon Jayasinghe says: “Even knowledgeable experts of the ilk of W.A Wijewardena would have got into a soup had they been caught criticising Mahinda Rajapaksea, Gotabaya or the siblings during those dark years. In fact, I have never heard Wijewardena do that”

    How ignorant is Jayasinghe? If he is interested in finding how this W A Wijewardena took the bull by horns during the previous administration, he should just log into Wijewardena’s weekly column in Daily FT from January 2011 in Daily FT (http://www.ft.lk/w-a-wijewardena-columns ) or go to the archives of Colombo Telegraph (https://www.colombotelegraph.com/?s=w+a+wijewardena ).

    Or else, he could ask Ranil W, Karu J, Ravi K, Mangala S, Eran W, Kabir H or Harsha who used his criticisms of the previous administration in their speeches in Parliament during that period. Or, just see how Harsha has referred to him in the following link after the new Yahapalana government was formed in January 2015:

    http://www.dailymirror.lk/76735/-90

  • 1
    0

    I like to refer the title of this article viz. “If You Don’t Say “No” , When You Have To Say “No”, You Stand For Nothing”, to All The Employees Who Contribute To The “Employee Provident Fund”. Have you been following the proceedings of the Presidential Commission that inquire into the “Bond Scam”? Did you read the evidence given by the Auditor General during last few days? If you have not and SLEEPING; please, in your own interest, LOOK INTO what has happened to the EPF money, i.e. your OWN SAVINGS. As per the Auditor General, the EPF has lost nearly 900 million as a result of investing as a “secondary” investor while being a registered “Primary Dealer”. Who says this? No one else, other than YOUR OWN Auditor General. In the face of this “Revelations”, what are YOU doing? What are YOUR Trade Unions doing? What are the “Civil Society Organizations” doing? Shouldn’t you say NO? Shouldn’t your TU say NO? Shouldn’t the “Civil Societies” say NO? If all of you don’t say NO; then you are doing NOTHING and “WORSE” your silence is APPROVAL of that LOSS. Isn’t it a cause to WAKE up from you “SLEEP” and demand and take action for the RESTITUTION of the LOSS; that LOSS which is YOUR OWN hard earned money?

  • 0
    0

    The present GoSL is taking lots of flak over its inability to curb corruption. They have taken the posture “If you cannot beat them, join them”. We need a few more Wickremabahu Karunaratnes and Nagananda Kodithuwakkus to save us from this quick sand.

  • 0
    0

    Congratulations! Now you are talking.

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