By Balan Moses –
Envoys are almost never sacked by home governments except in the event of a change of regime in the home country or if they are guilty of an exceptionally nasty faux pas in their host country.
Both do not seem to apply to outgoing Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Malaysia Kalyananda Godage, who will make an ignominious exit in a fortnight after a mere eight months of trying to further the Sri Lankan cause here.
And the offence that precipitated his recall by External Affairs minister, Prof G. L. Peiris, who just months ago was hailed by Godage as bringing a breath of fresh air into Sri Lankan foreign relations?
Asking the minister at a meeting of 59 Sri Lankan envoys at the army cantonment hall at Diyatalawa last month for answers to questions raised by Malaysian Sri Lankan Tamil groups on efforts to rehabilitate and empower Tamils in the Northern and Eastern parts of the republic after the end of the civil war.
It was enough to rile Peiris into taking the matter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa to urge Godage’s immediate ouster.
An ironical turn of events, as Godage was ostensibly recalled into service after a 15-year-retirement to handle the affluent and educated Malaysian Sri Lankan community which, at the best of times, can be testy and difficult when it comes to its countrymen on the island.
Since his arrival in Malaysia, the career diplomat with 36 years of experience in government under his belt began engaging local Sri Lankan Tamil groups favourable to efforts undertaken by Rajapaksa’s government in relation to the Tamil community in Sri Lanka.
Primary among them was the Federation of Malaysian Sri Lankan Organisations (FOMSO), an umbrella body for Tamil and Sinhalese groups in Malaysia, which very much wanted to do its bit for its countrymen on the island.
He steered clear, as he would probably have been advised by Colombo, of a handful of other Sri Lankan Tamil groups in Malaysia that did not even want to engage the Rajapaksa regime.
But even FOMSO officials, who had made several trips to the Tamil homeland with Sri Lankan government assistance to identify areas where they could offer help, were not totally satisfied with the paucity of answers from Colombo.
It is understood that a recent meeting between Godage and FOMSO representatives saw pointed questions being asked about the pace of the rehabilitation of displaced Sri Lankan Tamils.
While FOMSO president Datuk S. Kulasegaran declined to comment on Godage’s recall on grounds that the organisation was apolitical, its advisor Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam was surprised that “the messenger” had been shot.
Colombo should be ready with answers for questions from Malaysians of Sri Lankan descent on the welfare of Tamils in Sri Lanka and not punish Godage for raising the matter, the head of the Asian Strategy & Leadership Institute said.
“I regret Godage’s recall by the Sri Lankan External Affairs Ministry. A lot had been promised by the Sri Lankan government but little seems to be done for the Tamils there.”
Godage’s predecessor, Dr Don Dayananda Ranasinghe, was a political appointee who left hands-on diplomacy to his deputy, Maj Gen Udaya Perera, the much-applauded former Director of Army Operations, who began engaging FOMSO as soon as he arrived in Malaysia.
One would have thought that the Ministry would have realised that Godage, a political columnist in the past for The Island newspaper, would continue pushing for active Tamil participation in their rehabilitation as he had in the past.
So where does this sorry affair leave the complicated issue of engagement between the Sri Lankan Government and Sri Lankan Tamils in Malaysia?
The Sri Lankan government may find itself sacrificing much of the goodwill it cultivated here in recent years with Malaysian Tamil groups with what may be seen as a hardening of its stance on its Tamil population.
Godage’s recall also leaves doubt as to how well his successor will be able to engage Sri Lankan Tamil groups here who want to see justice done for their brethren on the island.
On a bilateral level, however, his unceremonious return will hardly cause a ripple as Malaysia proceeds to maintain its position as the largest investor in Sri Lanka with hundreds of millions ploughed into an island starved for development.
Is Godage a nascent fifth columnist as he appears to be made out to be by his superiors, or merely a misunderstood patriot? Only time will tell.
Source New Straits Times
gamini / August 16, 2012
This man Godage took the high ground with MR lambasting Ranil in filth, ofcourse in private, one day at a funeral where Ranil was present. He went on to blame Ranil for the CFA and praised MR for defeating the LTTE. Ranil Wickremasinghe was a Traitor in his eyes and he never hesitated to state so openly in public. I thought to myself, to what lengths people go to, to seek favours from the system with false pretences. His new found allegiance helped him to return to the Diplomatic Cor, but for how long? I wonder what his stand now is, reference the Tamil Issue? and most of all regards RW?
Donald J Gnanakone / August 16, 2012
@Gamini..Godage is an ungrateful……four legged… He betrayed Ranil several times, although Ranil was the PM who appointed him to the Peace Secretariat.
Godage was in Milinda Moragoda’s payroll, who was getting funds for “peace work” and humanitarian work (lol), including demining while he was a Minister from 2001… MMPE.
After the Parliament was dissolved Godage changed and started attacking Ranil, and the CFA like Bernard Goonetileke and even Austin Fernando. With friends like this Ranil did not need enemies and the 3 peace negotiators are now with the Rajapakses attacking the CFA and Ranil… That clearly shows why the Peace talks failed with these saboteurs and the Mother of All – Lakshman Kadirgamar and President Chandrika.
The Rajapakses were totally out of the loop, and even after becoming President, they had 3 talks but all failed because there was no sincerity from the GOSL side…
Now Godage has to go back to writing in the island Newspaper!!!!
He got his own medicine… lol…
Senguttuvan / August 16, 2012
Even the fastly eroding credibility of Nanda Godage was to entirely vanish when he began writing non-stop to the newspapers praising the Rajapakse regime and many of his ministers. Yes. He got his reward
via GLP with a diplomatic posting but is now thrown into the coals – ironically, for doing the right thing. There is little honour among
rogues probably is the lesson one draws from Godage’s expected downfall. His letter of appeal to GLP was pathetic and probably lost for him even some of his ardent friends and supporters.
Anti-Boru / August 16, 2012
Godage was a racist with a veneer of sophistication, unlike some of the other Rajapaksa acolytes.
No one of any decency will shed any tears over this half-baked diplomutt’s fate.
Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy!
When is it going to be Dayan Jayatilleka’s turn (again)?
gamini / August 16, 2012
Anti-Boru, I feel Dayan De Silva will return after March ’13, once he gets the Marching Orders after the next UNHCR sessions. What I find difficult to fathom is how the learned like the Grand Liar Peris, Former AG Mohan Peris, CJs Sarath N Silva, Asoka De Silva and a host of other Intellectuals, shamelessly compromise with the Corrupt Politicians for personal gain. They are no better than the Ordinary Mervyn Silvas, Duminda Silvas et al. I am sure a genetic study of these characters should reveal the commonality of thread that runs in their genes for all of them to behave in similar fashion. Of course as usual there are exceptions to the genetic factor where some with similar sounding names display a high degree of resentment to these Humbugs with posts in this blog who should be commended for upholding Truth, Honesty and Justice. I truely Respect and Honour them for their forthright comments.
kokuvil / August 16, 2012
THIS PISSU PROFESSOR LEG LICKING PIRIS WILL DO ANY THING TO KEEP HIS MINISTER POST BY LICKING THE LEGS OF PRISIDENT RAJAPAKSE.HE IS REAL TURN COAT.VERY SOON HE WILL BE RUNNING IN GALLE FACE GREEN ONLY IN HIS UNDER WEAR AFTER NEXT UNHCR RENEWAL MEETING IN SEPTEMBER.
Nihal De alwis / August 18, 2012
I have known Nanda godage as a profeional and as far as I know he is not a stooge but he is diplomatic in handling people and ahs been clean.Ofcourse in this instance he has made atactical error voicing his candid opinion to asuperior in the open in amanner to cause embrassment to the Hon Minister.He should have used his commonsense and spoke to him privately and voiced his views orthat of the Malaysians in a more tactical manner.Ofcourse i donot agree with his appeal requesting a withdrawal of the transfer as that is an act of demeaning himself.which he shouldnot HAVE DONE ndea
gamini / August 18, 2012
Nihal, I do not think you know Nanda closely, as otherwise you would not have made a statement to the effect that he is not a stooge, but is a Diplomat and has been clean. I do not want to heap more insult on him at this moment of time with a little more home truths as he must be repenting at leisure.
Romesh / August 18, 2012
If the Diyatalawa work shop meeting was held to educate the Ambassadors about the current state of affairs on Sri Lanka, Ambassadors have all the rights to express their problems, questions, views, opinions and criticism they face in respective countries. Otherwise what’s the use to spend such amount of money to get them down and have such a work shop. Actually Prof. G.L. Peiris should encourage them to bring their issue to the table so others are all in line when a similar question arise. Also Amb. Godage is a mature gentleman, his opinions and questions are justified. I still don’t know the real story behind this but If Pres. Rajapakse thinks that others views and opinions as threats or to undermine him, it is a sad situation. Prof. G.L.P. has to intervene and resolve this.
Nadesan / August 19, 2012
Perusal of the above posts clearly show the pathetic plight of Sri Lanka and how the country is being managed by a bunch of opportunistic crooks who will do any thing to get some favours. Mind you all these people referred to are the so called educated cream of the Sri Lankan society and if these guys are going to behave like this then what one could expect from the ordinary ignorant illiterate idiots who mostly run the political system. Where is the well determined unshakeable Ambassador Tamara who claimed that she is the best liar who could extricate Sri Lanka from all these mess?