1 October, 2020

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Scandalous Abuse Of National List Provision

By Ameer Ali

Dr. Ameer Ali

Dr. Ameer Ali

The constitutional provision for appointing members to the parliament through the national list is based on a very sound democratic and ethical principle. It is a measure to rectify an unfortunate shortcoming arising from the way parliamentary democracy functions. Party-based parliamentary elections do not always produce the most desirable results. The candidates who contest the elections and win, either under a party ticket or as independents, may be popular with the voters for all sort of reasons but some of them may not have the intellectual capacity and ethical and moral composure expected of them to contribute meaningfully to the debates in the parliament and to the formation of sound and positive national policies. The national list provision therefore enables the parties concerned to fill this gap by bringing in personalities to the parliament through the backdoor who would otherwise remain reluctant to enter and face the rough and tumble of electioneering. Such individuals would have the intellectual calibre and moral and ethical principles to make invaluable contributions to the affairs of the nation. Such people are badly needed as leaders in Sri Lanka and the country is not bereft of such personalities. They are available in all ethnic communities.

In the past, when the Sri Lankan parliament operated under the bicameral legislature system the Senate or the Upper House performed that function. Without mentioning names I can vividly remember the contributions made by some of those senators in debating such crucial issues like citizenship, national language and nationalization. In the current system the National List provision is an adequate substitute to that type of representation.

KattankudyWhat happened after the elections held last week has made that provision a mockery. By bringing into the parliament through the backdoor candidates who had already fought and lost the electoral contest the respective political parties had imposed those very same candidates on an electorate that had rejected them. This is not only a blatant travesty of democratic justice but also a scandalous abuse of a sound ethical and constitutional principle. The violence that took place at Kattankudy in the Eastern Province over the week end is the direct consequence of this high handed abuse.

Not only that, by empowering the lost candidate the government has provided that individual a golden opportunity to seek revenge on those who the candidate thought had voted against him in the first place. The entire responsibility for the damage done by this candidate or his supporters falls squarely on the head of the party leaders and indirectly on the President.

The condemnation of the violence unleashed in Kattankudy by that town’s Jamiat ul Ulama does not go far enough, but Rev. Sobitha’s call to reject recalling the lost candidates and back to the parliament does. The Reverend’s call should be supported by all who love democracy and harmony in Sri Lanka.

Please act Mr. President!

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Latest comments

  • 13
    1

    Mr. Ameer Ali

    As long as the people of Sri Lanka stay divided along race,caste and religious lines , politicians will continue to treat them like a herd of cattle .

    • 3
      1

      Haven’t the successie governments since independence adopting policies dividng people on the basis of race?

      More scandolous is the fact that some SLMC candidates contested on UNP ticket and symbol and after getting elected they stand as SLMC?

    • 1
      0

      Dr. Ameer Ali

      “The condemnation of the violence unleashed in Kattankudy by that town’s Jamiat ul Ulama does not go far enough, but Rev. Sobitha’s call to reject recalling the lost candidates and back to the parliament does. The Reverend’s call should be supported by all who love democracy and harmony in Sri Lanka.”

      “Please act Mr. President!”

      Yes, we all want the President to act decisively and have principles.

      However, the he has his own battle with Mahinda Rajapaksa and his cronies to take control of SLFP. So, he is lowering his standards and compromising principles, in order to split and weaken the Malinda Rajapaksa and his cronies group. Remember, Mahinda Rajapaksa and his cronies group got well more than 60% of the UPFA votes.

      On the other hand, the UNP/UNF can afford to stick to their principles and keep out Rosy Senanayaka, and claim that they are sticking to their principles.

      Even JVP went back, but they did not get crooks from the back door.

    • 3
      0

      The August 17th 2015 General Elections will go down as one of the strangest, but also as one of the most important. We had to decide whether we wanted Rajapaksa autocracy (the unpopularity of which was sought to be offset by appealing to the lowest communal instincts of the Sinhalese voter) or a return to liberal democracy.

      When the lists of candidates arrived in our homes, many of voters found that the candidates we wanted to vote for were contesting from the wrong party. So, Mahinda Samarasinghe lost from the UPFA list, but would easily have made it from the UNP list. Of course this is hypothetical. Sarath Amunugama (despite his age!), and Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena probably fall in to the same category, and why not we place Sunil Handunetti, too, in this category?

      Some were fortunate to win on the UNP list although their support lay mainly with normally UPFA voters. Examples would be Champika Ranawaka and Hirunika Premachandra; I’m sure the former would have brought a lot of his personal votes in to the UNP. I, myself, am unlikely to have voted for either. Rosy Senanayake was desperately unlucky – let down by female voters; I see no solution for her but to come forward in five years’ time. I voted in a remote district where I had to tell the decent medical doctor sitting M.P. that unfortunately he was backing the “wrong SLFP leader” – i.e. Mahinda Rajapaksa.

      To get rid of the murderers who posed as the saviours of the Sinhala race, Maithri may have had to further compromise – and bring in the S.B. Dissanayake whom he himself finds obnoxious. Just because of such acts, I’m not willing to revise my view that Maithri is the best thing that has happened to Sri Lanka since Independence.

      However, two other reports are worrying: there shouldn’t be another JUMBO cabinet (for two years or five), even if certain exigencies push it above 30, nor should the Rajapaksas be allowed to bargain for a moratorium on investigations as a quid pro qua for “retiring” from politics. Where does that leave Sandya Ekneligoda (I’ve once actually met her while she was leading her lone struggle), by now confirmed, to all dispassionate readers, to be a widow? And Wasim Thajudeen? And Isipriya?

      This later article has a better perspective:

      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/defeated-candidates-on-the-national-list-it-is-no-sacrilege-calm-down/

      And now all sorts of snide comments are being made about this decent authority on Transportation:

      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/wanted-a-new-leadership-culture-for-public-institutions/#comments

      It would be naive to imagine that countering the Satanic Rajapaksas could be done by angels alone, or by the good Maduluwawe Sobhitha.

  • 12
    1

    I have to agree with all the views expressed by Dr. Ameer Ali. The only way to stop this dirty practice is to pass a legislature preventing this abuse. There are many ways one could serve the people, if they so wish, and it not necessary you should be an MP to serve. Such people who lose the elections and fight their way to grab someone else’s nomination slot, are very selfish people. Shame on them.

    • 0
      0

      You are asking the same [Edited out] to pass legislation against themselves? Are you joking?

  • 12
    1

    Dr. Ameer Ali, the Yahapalanaya dictator MY3 does not observe it as a “Scandalous Abuse Of National List Provision”, but he thinks its another feather to his cap.

    Dr.Ameer Ali, CHEER UP !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sira has scored a hit !

  • 4
    1

    If we are ready to go into our self and consider who or what we are, and be be able to know how poorly our system of governance works. We wil know are responsible for tolerating it.
    As humans we have a sense of discerning right from wrong and are capable of having feeling and empathy when others suffer. But we are not determined enough to be able to bring ourself to act in such a way to bring an end to a system which had got distorted and illegitimate.That is the crux of the problem.
    It is only when we suffer and can realise that we have had enough of that distorted and illegitimate social order which has blunted the essential good in us and cannot be allowed to last any longer, that will we raise up to end it.
    Until that happens things will continue as usual.

  • 1
    0

    ‘This is not only a blatant travesty of democratic justice but also a scandalous abuse of a sound ethical and constitutional principle’.

    I absolutely agree with Dr Ameer Ali. This ‘National List’ thing was introduced in 1988 through the 14th Amendment to the Constitution – Article 99A.

    The relevant section of the law states as follows.

    Every recognized political party shall submit to the Commissioner of Elections, within the Nomination Period a list of persons qualified to be elected as Members of Parliament, from which it may nominate persons to fill the seats, if any, such party or group will be entitled to. The Commissioner shall cause every list submitted to him under this Article to be published in the Gazette (for the information of public who would know beforehand the identity of the candidates who could be elected from the National List)

    Where a political party is entitled to a seat under the apportionment referred to above, the Commissioner of Election, shall by a notice, require the secretary of such political party to nominate persons qualified to be elected as Members of Parliament (being persons whose names are included in the list submitted to the Commissioner under this Article or in any nomination paper submitted in respect of any electoral district by any such party) to fill such seats and shall declare elected as Members of Parliament, the persons so nominated.

    When this amendment was debated in the Parliament on 4th May 1988, the then Prime Minister, R Premadasa, who introduced the bill said, “The names of all candidates will be published in the gazette for the information of the voters. Members are not to be appointed or nominated by the party. When People vote for a party they will be aware that some candidates in the list published, are likely to be elected from the National List”

    This was the intention of the lawmakers when this new clause to the Constitution was introduced.

    It is very unfortunate, as Dr Ameer Ali correctly stated, that this provision of law is being blatantly abused to undermine the sovereign rights of the citizens of this country.

  • 3
    0

    Bringing in defeated candidates and dumping the eminent persons nominated for the national list is a shameful travesty of justice and a slap in the face of democracy. President Sirisena continues to act like a dictator supporting good governance only by word and not in deed.

  • 5
    0

    I Quite agree with Mr.Ameer. People who get defeated are rejected, by the people, which means they are not suitable to serve the people.

  • 6
    0

    Everything Dr. Ameer Ali had explained is absolutely correct. The 1977 constitution created the monster. Yahapalanaya is showing signs of it and had started becoming a real monster. Taking the rejected parliamentarians through the back door is an unpardonable crime. There are plenty of individuals with the right knowledge, temperament and skills to contribute by participating in parliamentary debates that require special attention. When you talk of good governance you cannot accommodate thuggery, utterly biased selection for public office, especially where legislation is made, sacking of people without investigation and a proper charge sheet to prove their innocence or guilt etc are wanting factors.The damaging aspects of the Presidential Powers, in some substantial measure, is still there. Only some miracle can save Sri Lanka.

  • 5
    0

    Maithripala came to power promising Good Governance and has forgotten his promise so soon. He has made a start by going the way of the previous regime with the appointments he has made misusing the provision for making appointments to the Parliament using the provision for National List MPs. To add to that he has also brought into his party Members of Parliament against whom allegations of corruption are pending investigation. What a shame he has begun setting a bad example ! Lets hope he does not commit more such misdeeds and make a mockery of his promise of Good Governance.

  • 4
    0

    I cannot help but agree with Dr Ameer Ali on this point. There must some protocol in selecting and electing MPs. Today, In SriLanka politics is a big business and there is no policies to follow on. Before the election they say something and behave differently after election. it is very bad precedent to changes policies as and when they wish. All bad guys will come back to parliament by this way. why do they need to include Hizbullah into national list. He has been looting public money for many years with MR| and still why defeated man is included.

    This is not yahapalanaya. but bad palananya.

  • 4
    0

    I absolutely agree with Dr. Ameer Ali’s candid opinion about the misuse
    of power by accepting the losers in elections and tainted individuals as national list MPs. This is a disgrace to democratic principles as once people reject a candidate, he or she is done with.If the rejected person is not a tainted person and experienced,the govt. or opposition should find a place for him/h elsewhere and not the Parliament, where, only MPs elected by the people should serve. The president has become unpredictable as on one side he wants good governance with clean people
    running it and on the other hand, he wants all sorts of people to strengthen his dying party. This is not acceptable by the people.

    Unable understand UNP’s stand on this matter as their policy is not to take back the rejected candidates,even Ms Rosy Senanayake, a deserving case, was not accepted on NL, but prepared to accept tainted MPs and losers from SLFP to form a govt.as if there is no other way.They could get TNA to form a govt. with simple working majority but UNP preferred rogues to Tamils. The constitution is blamed for every loop hole but what about common sense and decency and we have become the laughing stock of the day by having 2 MPs for one electorate, one elected by people’s vote and the other chosen, against the wish of the voters.

  • 2
    0

    It is sad to see My3 fall into the trap MR has created. He will be battling the underhand acts of UPFA as long as he is worried about the split of SLFP.

    Its time My3 forgets about party politics and start acting as a statesmen for the benefit of the country.

    With JVP and TNA wholeheartedly buying into the principle of good governance there no real threat of no confidence motion. The best thing at the moment is a minority government with JVP and TNA providing conditional support without joining the govt.

    • 0
      1

      Burt I agree with all you say, EXCEPT:-

      It is bullshit to talk of a trap laid by MR (Note: I much dislike MR). This is a 100% self-inflicted wound of MS. Nobody forced him to do it, there was no compulsion on him, he must take full responsibility for it.

      My newspaper man a staunch SLFPer says: “Anne mahataya, me minihata pissu hathilatha?” (Has this man gone mad?)

  • 1
    0

    Burt,

    “TNA wholeheartedly buying into the principle of good governance there no real threat of no confidence motion.”

    TNA might claim to support the principle of good governance but what they have been doing in practice is another matter. I am referring to the local authorities under the control of TNA.

    Hopefully TNA becomes better now but the politicians are pretty much the same as before. The local politicians (NPC, PSs) are the same and so are the public servants. Not very much has changed.

  • 0
    1

    Injustice creates terrorism. This is accepted by the whole world.

    When I see that Dilan Perera, the defeated candidate, was appointed through the National List by Maithipala Sirisena after being threatened of disclosure of his sordid “affairs” (read yesterdays Lankaenews) I feel like personally bombing out that dirty filthy Parliament when all those Parliamentarians are sitting inside.

  • 0
    0

    I agree completely with the views expressed. However you are dealing only with symptoms, not the disease. Corruption is the disease, and you have not mentioned that word even once. Even in the 12 comments published so far that word appears only once.

    The system of government we have been given, actively encourages and promotes corruption. This is a systemic defect of the Constitution. The Office of Executive President (still to be abolished and never will be), per se, is the Fountain of Corruption. The need to have a Cabinet of more than 50 is a symptom. “You make me a Minister, I will do whatever you want”. The president acquiesces knowing very well the fucker wants to rob the country. Accept the dictum ‘President is the Fountain of Corruption’, then finding a way out becomes not easy, but possible. Let me explain.

    I yearned with all my being, that Maithripala Sirisena should be victorious at the August Elections.

    Before that, days after the January victory, newspapers published a photo of Mr & Mrs Sirisena – sweet, harmonious, peaceful, a picture of what every married couple should be. I handed over a printout to my wife telling her “don’t they look exactly like us?”. That was the love I had for Maithripala.

    Lankaenews yesterday has alleged (Blue Brigand Brigade Story) that Dilan Perera threatened to expose the “sordid affairs” of Maithripala, unless he was appointed MP through the National List. Dilan Perera has thus been appointed MP.

    Everyone in Sri Lanka with an interest in politics, reads Lankaenews. It behoves on Sirisena, if he is innocent of the charge, to appear on National TV and deny this charge. Otherwise, I certainly will accept it as the truth. So should you. The question for you to ponder, then, is, whether it is desirable to maintain a President who is open to blackmail. I personally do not think so.

    The road to Corruption Free Governance is wide open to Sirisena should he decide in all sincerity to take it. Having solemnly declared before the January Elections, he would be a ONE TERM ONLY President, I see him already hiring people to urge him to contest a Second Term also. Kattankudy news. Remember Mahinda who contested the August Polls “by popular demand”? He also swore many times to abolish the Executive Presidency. He had the votes in Parliament to do that as well. It is too easy to see that Sirisena will also contest for a 2nd term “by popular demand” and he too will do everything in his power to retain the Executive Presidency.

    I quote from a comment I made to W.A.Wijewardene’s article “Ministerial Aspirants …” published in CT yesterday:

    Quote:

    There is a simple way to curtail or even eliminate the corruption that flows into the System of Government through the Head of Government, who is currently the Fountain of Corruption. It is like this:

    1. Appoint a permanent panel of Judges, Experts, and those with Judicial experience, referred to as Judicial Authority, to hear by a panel from among them, any charges of corruption against any politician including the Head of State. They are by law absolutely independent of any politician after their appointment and are accorded security of tenure and remuneration.

    2. By legislation, enable any citizen, corporation, Private Business, Government Dept, or other interested entity to lodge complaints with the Authority against any member of the Government. The panel will be authorized to independently employ expert investigators and prosecutors at their discretion. Citizens, and other categories of informants, will be rewarded and protected by the State for their help to indentify the corrupt act and responsible person(s) and provide proof of corruption.

    3. Severe punishment will be prescribed by law for corruption by politicians, the higher the grade, more severe the punishment. A crime that will cost a junior minister five years in jail, for example, will cost a Minister ten years. Only one appeal is allowed, and that, only to a panel of 3 judges of the Supreme Court. Swift justice is a must. It is easy to see then how the corruption will disappear. A side benefit is that persons who adopt politics as a profession to enrich themselves will cease to do so.

    Unquote.

    In this comment I predicted, Sirisena, PM and Parliamentarians will never agree to pass legislation to enable an anti-corruption program such as described above.

    Sirisena has a brother who the media alleged, is plundering SLT left and right. They are now silent. Has Sirisena muzzled that media outlet? There may be numerous similar cases unknown to us.

    There are mega projects being mooted. It looks like the goundwork is already completed to enable all politicians to gorge themselves. They will make Caligula blush in shame. If Sirisena threatens to put a spoke in the works, the enabling legislations will not be passed.

    Do you think a President who wants eventually to remain President for life will enact legislation to eliminate corruption? Does he not know that only a corrupt bunch of Parliamentarians will make it possible for him to remain in power, in exchange for their own unfettered freedom to amass “sky is the limit” kind of filthy lucre? Does it make any sense for the President to throttle his own life line?

    The President being the Fountain of Corruption per se, he and the legislature work hand in hand to perpetuate the corrupt sytem of Government.

    Sirisena has forfeited the presumption of innocence. The burden of proof has shifted to him to demonstrate within the next seven days that he can be trusted to install Corruption Free Government. Otherwise let’s prepare to chase him out without his sudu redda, like we did to the Medamulana Gang.

    The only way available now is to mobilize People Power on the streets to chase out the corrupt Parliamentarians though constitutional or extra judicial means.

  • 0
    0

    Dr Ameer Ali

    You finished your piece with this call:

    “Please act Mr. President!”

    You seem to appeal to Maithri as if somebody else was responsible for appointing these defeated UPFA candidates. But the fact is that it is this very same ‘yahapalanaya’ fame Maithri who got these very fellows appointed through the UPFA list.

    Your arguments and that of Nagananda are all valid. The intention of the Parliament in making this provision had been made clear in Premadasa’s speech as mentioned by Nagananda. But unfortunately there is no morality or ethics in Sri Lankan politics these days.
    These defeated candidates should themselves be ashamed to sit as nominated back door MPs knowing well that people never gave them a mandate to become their representatives. These fellows will crawl at the feet of anyone to become MPs and Ministers.

    It is regrettble that people of the calibre of Dr GL Peiris, Professor Vithanage, DEW Gunasekara and Rajiva Wijesinghe had been denied UPFA nominated MP positions by this despicable act of Maithri. Take the case of Professor Peiris. He is indisputably an authority on Constitutional Law and is an experienced legislator. Professor Vithanage and DEW Gunasekera are educated and experienced legislators. And who gets appointed in their places – that foul mouthed despicable SB Dissanayake and the Kattankudy thug Hisbullah and others of similar character.

    That is democracy in Sri Lanka. As an academic living in Australia you will naturally see this as undemocratic and unethical. Unfortunately that is way politicians behave and act in Sri Lanka. You cannot talk about morality or ethics with these fellows, particularly with this fellow Maithri. See what he had been doing to his own party SLFP. He and Chandrika have virtually destroyed SLFP, which, like the Labour Parties of UK and Australia, is the alternate party that can be called upon to form a government under a two-party Westminster system of government.

    • 1
      0

      I am generally in agreement with your statements.

      But not with this : “people of the calibre of Dr GL Peiris”. He is a total masochist, enjoying the tons of abuse and humiliation hurled at him by the Maha Jarano. He also enjoyed sucking up.

      The proof of the above statement is in the fact he was born into an educated, rich, influential family, was highly intelligent, has written several books on legal subjects, he can easily get a professor job in a respected university anywhere in the world, he could have been financially well off. He had no need to suffer this ignominy – unless he enjoyed it. He chose to be the door mat of an uncultured, uncouth, uncivilized family – yes, the entire bestial family, not only Mahinda. He used to address puppy Namal as ‘Sir’.

      What can you expect him to do with all his book knowledge?

    • 1
      0

      Bringing to the Parliament through back doors defeated candidates is deplorable under any circumstances.Further G.L. is no better than Hisbullah or S.B. How could he keep hopping from party to party. A person without any principle.

  • 0
    0

    Dr. Ameer Ali: Please analyze the voting by the people to some of the candidates whom they trust to be “ideal” to represent in the Legislature. Just imagine how a man remanded for murder receiving the highest number of preferential votes and get “elected” to Parliament. Isn’t more surprising and alarming to see how the political party that nominated him visits the prison to get the papers signed inside the cell? Compare that result with the number of votes received by the Leader of the JVP. Just see how some of those on whom investigations and inquiries are proceeding polled votes and registered to be in the front line as those who received the highest number of “Preferential Votes”. Also compare those results with that of Mrs. Rosy Senanayake who contested from Colombo District. What breach of trust she is questioned about compared to some who polled more than 300,000 from Colombo and adjoining Gampaha Districts? In addition to that, do you really, really, think that Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse should have been voted to enter Parliament with the type of Government machinery he installed since 2010 to 2014? If you say “YES”, I don’t think you should get involved in analyzing this election. In my opinion, considering his track record, he should have been voted out as an undesirable to be in the Legislature.

    A Democracy can only work if the voters are able to make their choices intelligently and responsibly. If not that Democracy will be an utter failure and as well bring disaster to the country and the people. That is what we underwent from 2010 to 2014. So at least for the moment, if some of those who must be in Parliament but defeated under this voting pattern could be brought back, I feel, it is worth the efforts.

  • 0
    1

    When there is constitutional change National list BS should be abolished! PERIOD.

    • 0
      0

      “….National list BS should be abolished! PERIOD. “

      Oh no. Just give Rosy one more chance to try to fulfill her dreams.

  • 1
    0

    Navin.

    Talking about G.L.I recall posting on these C.T.pages that G.L.was the most perfect example of a mountain spring flowing into mud.It is time for him to make an exit from public life and reflect on the circumstances that made him a Masochist.Like in Greek Mythology he flew up and up watching his wings glow in the sunlight,until he came crashing down when he got too close to the Sun.The wax on the wings melted.G.L.one time Greek scholar should revisit his salad days.The greatest victory that MaRa scored was not the defeat of the LTTE but how he was able to get G.L.to say Very Well Your Excellency!

  • 0
    0

    the ‘national list’ system has not served the people. all political parties have used it for their own purpose and serving their vested interests. i am doubtful about the original intentions of JRJ in introducing this system.one criteria so far missing was accommodation of intellectuals who do not like to contest elections. even people like GL after getting into the national list behaved like 3rd grade politicians and did not advice MR from a high moral ground. his performance was totally anti-intelectual and sometimes chavunistic . he was dancing to the tune of MR and wimal the racist. what is the substantial and rational ideas put forward by otherwise learned professor to solve the national and socio-economic problems of the country. GL is a good case study. my suggestion is to get rid of the national list system. dr.a.ali was my very good teacher half a century ago. very great that he is enlightning the masses on crucial issues of the country. he was an excelennt lecturer in tamil.
    -sandira

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