2 October, 2020

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Mayhem In The Menagerie; All Bulls In Must

By Kumar David

Prof. Kumar David

Prof. Kumar David

They only have to sniff an election and all Lanka’s politicos break into must like the rutting craze that grips hounds when the neighbourhood bitch goes into season; it is as if all the bull elephants in the forest are in must (or musth). Lucidity leaves the mind; the irrational takes a grip. The examples from last week are too many to recount so I will entertain you with just five; one disquieting, the other all knotted up, the third a shrewd game, and the last two comic.

The 2015 Budget is a patent election gimmick. Is it fair to call it a stunt; every time a concession is given to the less privileged is it fair to condemn it as a swindle? The answer depends on whether it is rational and doable, taking account of prospects in the economy, whether it blends with a strategy, and what the motive is. I put motivation third as all governments lie to voters only to nullify concessions afterwards – depending on economic constraints.

Post-Uva diarrhoea

After Uva, the regime soiled its pants; it drew the obvious conclusion that President and parliamentary majority were headed for the departure lounge. The government mouthpiece Daily News inadvertently confirms that the budget is undoable posturing. (The pledge to reduce electricity tariffs for consumers below 300 units per month seems to have missed these poodles)

Quote

* Special allowance of university academics, doctors and judicial service employees to be increased. Pension and insurance scheme for trishaw drivers.

* Proposal made to increase the minimum salary of a private sector employee to Rs. 10,000 by 2015. Rs. 500 allowance to be added each month and the EPF payment from the employer to be increased up to 14%.

* Minimum salary of a state sector employee to be increased up to Rs. 30,000 from January 2015, inclusive of an increase of up to Rs. 2,200 in the cost of living allowance. Special allowance of state sector employees to be added to their salary.

* A special pensions scheme to be introduced for migrant workers. Monthly allowance given to elders to be increased up to Rs. 2,000 with effect from January 2015.

* Rs.3,000 monthly allowance for differently-able persons and a monthly transportation allowance of Rs. 750 for differently-abled children.

* Mahapola scholarship stipend to be increased upto Rs. 4,000 by 2015.

* 50,000 scholarships to be given to students from low income families unable to enter universities. Every student to be given a Rs. 3,000 monthly allowance.

* Teaching assistants to be paid a monthly allowance of Rs. 9500.

* A school based new teacher recruitment scheme to address teacher shortage.

* Financial allocations made to develop research facilities in national universities.

* Motorcycles to be provided to postmen at concessionary rates.

*Income tax and Customs Department systems to be computerised with effect from today and online services to be offered.

* A special Tax Scheme for motor vehicle imports instead of the current system.

* VAT to be reduced to 11% – payee tax limited to 16%

* Several proposals and financial allocations made to develop and uplift tea, rubber and coconut crops. Cess tax on rubber imports to be increased by Rs. 10 per kilo.

* Price of yoghurt and milk powder by local manufacturers to go down by Rs. 3 and Rs. 100.

* Every citizen to be provided a full medical check-up – Rs. 500 million allocated for a special programme to carry out early detection of various diseases.

* Special programs to be implemented to improve the quality of life of women and children of fishing communities.

* Rs.3,000 monthly allowance to be provided to those afflicted with the Kidney disease.

* Rs.1,500 million allocated to develop sanitation and other facilities of rural schools.

* Grade five scholarship beneficiaries to be given Rs. 1,500 instead of Rs. 500 they receive.

* Rs. 2,500 monthly allowance for pre-school teachers.

* Bank of Ceylon to be recapitalised by Rs. 10 billion next year.

* US$ 150 million to be reinvested on Sri Lanka’s national carriers SriLankan Airlines and Mihin Lanka in 2015.

End Quote

My back-of-the-envelope estimate is that expenditure will rise by Rs 300 billion (3% of GDP) in 2015 if fairy story becomes reality. I have choosen five from this list to justify my guesstimate. US$ 150 million recapitalisation of airlines is Rs 20 billion; raising state sector (government and state corporations) salaries to Rs 30,000 minimum will dent government and state corporate balance sheets by Rs 27 billion per annum; adding Rs 10,000 to all private sector wages will cost that sector about Rs 40 billion annually; 25% reduction in electricity tariffs to consumers below 300 units will jack up the CEB deficit by Rs 15 billion; medical check up for all, at a modest estimate of Rs 500 per check-up with laboratory testing where necessary, will be another Rs 10 billion.

These five items add to over Rs 110 billion. The Rs 40 billion private sector cost increase is an underestimate if daily wages of plantation workers is increased by say 25% to keep in line. I have not estimated revenue loss due to VAT reduction but it will be substantial; nor have I totted up the 17 other smaller items – for example 50,000 student scholarships of Rs 3000 per month is Rs 1.8 billion. In this backdrop the promise to shrink the budget deficit to 4.4%, a forty year low, is pie-in-the-sky creative accounting; the forecast 8% GDP growth rate is cant; estimates of revenue in the Budget are best flavoured with a cart-load of salt. The revenue is not there so most of the promises are hogwash.

Ants in Ranil’s pants

Schizophrenia is a personality split into two; imagine if the partition was three or four hostile segments! Ranil says; “I will definitely contest”; the UNP says “a Common Candidate will be chosen by the joint opposition”. Ranil declares: “The executive presidency (EP) must be abolished”, next day he intones “It should be reformed”; other UNP leaders say “Down with EP”. Ranil pledges support for JHU’s 19A proposal knowing it stipulates that a modified EP be retained. He meets Sobitha’s panel and swears allegiance to its nonnegotiable ‘throw-out-EP’ stand, but ducks commitment to a road-map. As a result no one trusts him! Phew, this man must be costing his family a mint in shrink fees.

Ranil longs to sit on the EP throne; till he relieves his lust no Common Candidate (CC) will materialise, which is to say Mahinda will sail into a third term. I judge that a CC backed by the UNP, TNA, Sobitha, Fonseka, and I hope the JVP, has the edge by several percentage points. This Ranil chap must have been born under an eternal confusion star; or his godmother must be Pandora of Box fame. He cannot wake up to the reality that he and the UNP must unambiguously abandon EP and proclaim it from the rooftops. The key to getting a common candidate, whoever it be, is in the hands of Ranil and the UNP, but they are making an almighty cock-up.

Champika-JHU game plan

I wrote on Patali Champika Ranawaka’s (PCR) book release and offered an analysis of an unfolding socio-political process on 14 August 2014 “Is Ranawaka initiating a leadership challenge?” My case, in summary consisted of two points: (a) PCR is building himself as a future presidential candidate, (not 2015-16 but next time), and (b) Sinhala intelligentsia, young to middle-aged professionals and technologists are queuing up behind his campaign linking nationalism with professional competence and anti-corruption. I see in this game-plan a shrewd long term consolidation in this election season.

PCR is taking his successful book launch (“Power and Power”) to the provinces in a series of meetings and candidly attacking the corruption of his Cabinet colleagues, the regime’s high corporate appointees and its cronies. He has not yet taken aim at the Pakse siblings and nefarious family undesirables, but clearly he is biding his time. Meanwhile the JHU is strident in its demand that 19A be enacted and leader Rev Omalpe Sobitha is outspoken in a no holds barred assault on the regime. Notwithstanding all this the Pakses dare not touch PCR, Rev Omalpe, or the JHU for fear the Sinhala-Buddhist base will collapse. Like SWRD in 1951, PCR-JHU will make a move during Pakse’s third term – if he wins.

Trickery in LSSP; comedy in NSSP

Without prior notice the Tissa Vitarana group rushed a resolution through the LSSP Central Committee to back Mahinda at the next elections. The intention was to forestall all discussion of its consequences or of other options. All the LSSP’s well respected personalities (Lal Wijenayake, Jayampathy Wickremeratne, Professor Vijeya Kumar and Wimal Rodrigo) condemned the move and refused to recognise its legitimacy. The conflict is now in the open; a party conference is a must.

NSSP general secretary Vickremebahu Karunaratne (Bahu) in a surprise move declared that his party will back Ranil for presidency. Then on 25 October four Polit-Bureau members, including deputy general secretary Linus Jatatilaka, issued a counter statement: “As leading members of the NSSP we declare with responsibility that no such decision has been taken by any official body of the party. This statement is the personal view of the General Secretary”.

The NSSP finds itself in a hilarious position that its opponents will celebrate. It has long been known that Bahu was snuggling ever deeper into Ranil’s pocket but a majority were disturbed by this close and cosy embrace of their formal leader and Ranil. The four NSSP PB members also state they will back a Common Left presidential candidate. Wow, they seem in a hurry to follow some forlorn maverick or student activist into political oblivion.

Such is the sad state of the opposition at this crucial moment when with unity, clarity and determination it can defeat Mahinda Rajapakse on a joint Abolish-EP platform. This is the first and necessary step to restoring a modicum of democracy to Lanka.

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  • 0
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    Prof. Kumar David

    “They only have to sniff an election and all Lanka’s politicos break into must like the rutting craze that grips hounds when the neighbourhood bitch goes into season; it is as if all the bull elephants in the forest are in must (or musth). Lucidity leaves the mind; the irrational takes a grip. The examples from last week are too many to recount so I will entertain you with just five; one disquieting, the other all knotted up, the third a shrewd game, and the last two comic.”

    Ok, ok, ok, ok. Rajapaksa wants to be elected, so that he can continue the Dynasty.

    When will you write, print and distribute the Sri Lanka version of Common Sense Pamphlet like what Thomas Paine did in 1776 for the Americans?

    Common Sense (pamphlet)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Sense_(pamphlet)

    Common Sense[1] is a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine in 1775–76 that inspired people in the Thirteen Colonies to declare and fight for independence from Great Britain in the summer of 1776. In clear, simple language it explained the advantages of and the need for immediate independence. It was published anonymously on January 10, 1776, at the beginning of the American Revolution and became an immediate sensation. It was sold and distributed widely and read aloud at taverns and meeting places. Washington had it read to all his troops, which at the time had surrounded the British army in Boston. In proportion to the population of the colonies at that time (2.5 million), it had the largest sale and circulation of any book published in American history.[2]

    Common Sense presented the American colonists with an argument for freedom from British rule at a time when the question of whether or not to seek independence was the central issue of the day. Paine wrote and reasoned in a style that common people understood. Forgoing the philosophical and Latin references used by Enlightenment era writers, he structured Common Sense as if it were a sermon, and relied on Biblical references to make his case to the people.[3] He connected independence with common dissenting Protestant beliefs as a means to present a distinctly American political identity.[4] Historian Gordon S. Wood described Common Sense as “the most incendiary and popular pamphlet of the entire revolutionary era”.[5]

    • 2
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      You have been pressing me on this point for ages.
      Ok, ok I will download a copy and sit down and think if I can do a Sri Lankan version – first in English.
      But I am not a pamphleteer of Paine’s pre-eminent excellence; let us see what I can manage.

  • 2
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    Dr Kumar is stating the obvious as far as the UNP CF leader is concerned.

    But Kumar should stick to his day job, instead of trying to dabble in Economics and Budgets in particular.

    • 0
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      “After Uva, the regime soiled its pants; it drew the obvious conclusion that President and parliamentary majority were headed for the departure lounge.”

      Is this guy really stupid, or is he trying to be too clever by half?

      Surely the former. He is proving with every article he writes that he was an the ass line when god was handing out brains.

      • 2
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        Mr Poorten,

        Did your UNP CF leader win UVA?..

        Ranil is now so disorientated that he doesn’t know whether he is the CC or not according to his recent uttering.

        He promised the other day that he will create One Million jobs for the Dalits, to stitch Tommy Hilfiger rags and applying glue to Nike shoes.

        He says he can do it because he has the support of the EU and the States.

        Even Indian dalits don’t want to do those jobs,

        And the Sikhs and the Sindis are setting up shop in poor Bangladesh , where Muslim women are exploited to the maximum.

        May be Ranil is hoping to replace the Bangladeshis with our Dalits.

        Mr Poorten should perhaps counsel Ranil and ask him not to utter Bullshit because even Mr Poorten’s Durian Pickers wouldn’t buy his Economics..

        Dr Kumar at least has the nous of pointing out Ranil’s guile.

        .

  • 3
    1

    Not sure the UNP, TNA, Diaspora and of course including Sobitha, JVP and CBK is a Menagerie, but Mayhem is for sure.

    Karu Jayasooriya who joined the ruling coalition for the sole reason of defeating terrorism , is now looking like the odd on favourite to become the CC of the UNP, TNA , Diaspora Alliance.

    Probably he is not aware that it the same Diaspora which financed Prabakaran for three decades.

    Mangala Samaraweera who did a yeoman service to protect the UNP Christian Faction Leader, by even becoming a Kurundu Polla wielding bandit, is now in the outer.

    And busting his backside to transfer the so called disgruntled MPs and Ministers in the to CBK’s shadow Cabinet.

    Vellala CM of the TNA has passed a resolution in the NPC to adopt 75 Orphans from Koslanda.

    He has booked 75 places at Hindu College for them.

    And promised to give them the best education in this prestigious Anglican School,and bring them up in a true Vellala environment with all the bells and whistles,

    Because he didn’t want them to end up in the South and be brought up by Sinhalese or ordinary Tamils,.

    This is from his own words as reported in the main stream media.

    But it turns out that there are only 3 kiddies who are left without both parents in this tragedy.

    Wonder whether the other 72 places the CM has booked at Hindu College will be allocated to Dalit kids in Koslanda. and give them the same privileges to transform them to full blown Vellalas.

    If it is done, the CM go down as a real revolutionary in our long history.

    By the way wonder what our Nana thinks about his grand kids becoming full Hindus and not being able to speak Sinhala !!!!

  • 0
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    “the irrational takes a grip. The examples from last week are too many to recount” Truth is more amazing than fictions.

    Latest Chinese province Sinh Lankng is under full control of the Mainland. The Sinh lankng’s intellectuals have started a KUDE protest in the provincial capital of Cong Bangboo and in Australia. But it is not going well so far. The Chinese army has taken over the provincial defense department computers. This started as Nooraichcholai land issue. Sinh Lankng installed a fake new land law that’s purpose was to deter Mainland taking over provincial lands. After Nooraichcholai incident, the Land law was eased to Mainland take over in large areas, not small plots. But the mainland which got into the defense department computers never released them to the province. Now, the Cat is the guard for the milk. After mainland army entered into the defense department computers, it has now made a deal to protect the provincial computers from foreign hackers. The reason is Mainland’s nuclear, electronic arms inventory in the provincial computers. There is reasonable cause to protect them from India or America hacking into them. India well interested in the Mainland’s nuclear submarines movement in the province. The sad part is province does not know that because the defense department has been prevented by the new deal to hacking into its computers. So the province does not know, when or how many times these nuclear submarines enters into Indian Ocean.

    Mangala has been spied by every person walked into house. His computer has been taken from his home and downloaded in the defense department and analyzed. It was not for his activities, but to know the UNP’s activities. But, as a byproduct many of Managala’s reputed activities has been revealed to DOD. Bad thing of this is Mangala has become the new Foreign Minister (bad for him, new indentured labor) and the good thing is Mangala has become the Foreign Minister (good for the country,Grand old Lying Papa is going to hell). (Don’t worry too much of what ministry is given to Mangala)

    Like Karuna, now Mangala is in the team. UNP is over, just like LTTE. Soon Ranil has to join SLFP (like KP) because Mangala has revealed everything about Ranil, Like Karuna did about KP. The biggest spy scheme on UNP is starting to give fruits. Leaderless UNP does not have one single candidate to stand in the election on the party’s name. But it has a many, many candidates to stand as common candidates for all parties. From UNP’s infinity terms leader(not just third term), the old old party’s dictator Ranil to the newest arrival, the one lost in Uva, Harin Fernando are promising stars to be common candidates.

    These events have pushed Chandrika into the field. Sing Lankng’s intellectuals think, Chandrika’s criminal free record is going to make her the third term EP. But the provincial sub King wouldn’t think so. He knows her past criminal records. He still remembers the IPKF’s war crimes. But she will go ahead. Have you heard about a proverb that says “you can cut a diamond with a diamond only”? This EP is going abolish the EP and going to resign her EP post in three months. You know the story of the Solomon the wise King. He watched a spider failing 7 times, fished its job on the next launch. So he launched the war again. The new wise, the Attanagale Princes will launch her war one more time on the Sinh Lankng EP. Amazing truths, unbelievable!

  • 0
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    ‘Kohomada Godaya ge Budget eka’ what was MR asked from the opposition, after its presentation in Parliament. No wonder we can now see the Godaya’s handiwork fully exposed. Pissu pora.

  • 1
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    Kumar,

    Looks like you are describing the left politicians to be behaving like dogs in heat – wanting to mate with the top dog. Surprisingly the learned dogs are first in the que….

  • 0
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    [Edited out]

  • 0
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    Professori David is quite good in writing articles of all kinds. What is he trying to tell us in these articles?

    The euphoria generated with a possible election is equated to animals in heat. Oh! my god! That is real bad taste for an educated Hongkese.

    Politics is all about exploiting the irrationality of the of the human being. Sri Lanka is no exception to the world at large. In trying to paint a special picture out of the situation it gives an impression that we as Sri Lankans are incapable of governing our selves. Are you suggesting that we should be another special administrative region of china, like Hong Kong? NO WAY.

  • 0
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    Prof David nails it once again. It is indeed a shame we have such a useless, redundant opposition full of big egos.

    A unified TNA-UNP-JVP-SOBITHA-SF-CBK alliance would have seriously been able to wage in on the current coalition, but given the time constraint (apparently elections may be held on 2nd Jan, less than two months away) these idiot leaders will never get their act together in time. College union elections are organised and planned in a far more organised manner than these people prepare for our country’s elections. They couldn’t arrange a piss up in a brewery.

  • 0
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    As much as MR is milking his Moda Janathawa .The leftie leaders on heat are milking their vite base for personel gain.Strange that communist used to call the Capitalist as Running Dogs.Now they have become dogs themselves.

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