20 September, 2020

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The 19A: Did Maithripala Sell Out?

By Hilmy Ahamed

Hilmy Ahamed

Hilmy Ahamed

The historic passage of the watered down 19th amendment on 28th April 2015 is probably the single most successful parliamentary endevour, undertaken by our legislators in many years. It augurs well for Sri Lanka and its democracy that was reestablished after a decade of Rajapaksa tyranny on the 9th of January 2015. Whatever barriers the opposition mustered during the last one hundred and seven days against the passage of the 19th amendment by the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government fell apart under President Maithripala Sirisena’s resolve to ensure its smooth passage. It also brought out the strong leadership and diplomatic skills of President Sirisena. This would also probably ensure the successful trial of the national government concept under the Maithripala Sirisena presidency.

There is no doubt that the President would have shown that he is capable of an iron grip and probably used some strong-armed tactics with the renegade MPs of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, who still harbor dreams of brining the rejected Mahinda Rajapaksa back to the driving seat of power, but did he compromise on the pledges of his campaign? Did he offer safe passage to these criminals from prosecution? Will they be spared the rod? That would go against the good governance pledge that was given to the six million odd voters who voted the common opposition’s candidate as President.

Chamal Maithripala NimalWhatever the deals the political mafia of the former regime negotiated with the President, it is time for the fireworks to begin. If the President and Prime Minister cannot ensure that the perpetrators of crime under the former regime would be prosecuted, it is civil society’s responsibility to initiate action in courts of law and other fora. With the passage of the 19th amendment, there is hope for citizen’s action. There is a need to inquire in to corruption, drug dealing, illegal ethanol importation, abuse of state resources and human rights violations. The citizens of this country need not fear the white van or other forms of disappearances. That era is hopefully gone from Sri Lanka. It is time that the people’s power is brought out, on to the streets so that the loot that has been stolen from Sri Lanka by political criminals could be brought back to the people of Sri Lanka.

The misconceived and concocted notion that Ranil Wickremesinghe was trying to transfer executive powers to himself was the campaign slogan of the WeerawanasaGunawardena cartel that tried to muster opposition to the 19th amendment. They did not hide their dreams of bringing back the despotic Mahinda Rajapaksa as an executive Prime Minister so that they would be spared the guillotine for their excesses during the Rajapaksa era. The fear that they would be stacked away in the dustbins of politics under a democratic leadership was also their biggest concern. There would be no chance that they would be re-elected at the next general elections if they do not contest from a recognized political party.

The 19th Amendment is not about Ranil or the United National Party (UNP), but about empowering parliament and the independent commissions that would investigate and prosecute those found guilty of corruption, abuse of power and misuse of state resources. A large number of parliamentarians who held office in the former government of Mahinda Rajapaksa are liable for punishment. Did Maithipala Sirisena cut deals with them to pass the 19th Amendment? He would not be forgiven if found guilty. Bringing to justice perpetrators of crime was the main campaign slogan of the common opposition that elected Maithripala Sirisena to the presidency.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the United National Party compromised on quite a few of the important amendments that were initially proposed, probably to strength to the bargaining power of President Sirisena. Many who supported the common opposition would have been proud of the Prime Minister and President if they had stood firm even if it meant that the 19th would not have gone through. The Prime Minister could have forced a general elections and gone back to the people asking for a mandate to change the constitution, even if it meant that Sri Lanka would have had to waste valuable resources on a referendum.

The 20th amendment is sure to be another pickle in the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe-Siripala dinner menu. The demands and counter demands for the 19th would be seen again with the Government giving the opposition a taste of their own medicine of the 19th. Ranil and Maithripala should stand firm against the self-interests of small groups that would attempt to highjack the discussion on the 20th. Minority parties as well as smaller parties represented in parliament would ensure their numbers by increasing the representation to the 250 mark, but what would be most important is to establish the need for higher representation in parliament. Delimitation processes should be undertaken as a priority to ensure justice to the large number of electorates with huge voter bases. It would be unfair if parliamentary representation for a candidate who gets 5000 votes in one district is the same as for representation in a district that has a very large voter population. This disparity needs to be addressed. Certain electorates in urban centers too may need to be merged and made in to electorates with multi representation to ensure justice to the large voting population. There is no doubt that some who have been elected with less than 10,000 preference votes will want to be reelected under the same flawed system, but justice must prevail and true peoples representation reinforced.

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Latest comments

  • 11
    45

    Hilmy your enmity towards Mahinda clouds your touch on reality. The fact remains Mahinda is popular and will come back as Prime Minister at the next election. The very fact all detractors like you try to equate him to a thief is leaving a bad foul feeling among the majority. There are things he did to this country that needs to be appreciated. On the other hand during the Premadasa time people were burnt on the road and taken in white vans. Since they are Sinhalese no one shed a tear perhaps Ranil was in Mars during that beeshanya time. Shame on you for polarising the society so much.

    • 31
      7

      It was Sarath Fonseka who won the war, but strongly backed by MR and GR. It was RW who was responsible for splitting the LTTE, otherwise war could not have been won.
      In the name of winning the war he did so much damage to the country. Of course he was a a big time rogue who stole money from the public. He supported drug lords like Lansa. He spent public money for his glory and also as part of the election campaign.

      This does not mean that crimes of Premadasa could be washed away, if he had faced the election, he would face more problems than MR.
      Don’t forget that MR won the crucial 2005 election by bribing LTTE. He could have lost the right to be a President if not for his former friend Sarath N Silva’s judgement on ” Helping Hambantota” case. Sarath Silva shamelessly admits now that it was a wrong judgement.

      • 4
        2

        Hilmy Ahamed

        RE: The 19A: Did Maithripala Sell Out?

        Mahinda Rajapaksa Family Duictatorship wanted, to remove all the competitors to the glory of defeating LTTE.

        1. Sarath Fonseka

        2. Ranilw Wivkramasinghe

        3. CBK, if applicable

        Make SLFP forget SWRD Name from SLFP, and replace with Mahinda Raja Name.

        “He thought he was the Shahanshah (King of all Kings)! ”

        Mahinda Rajapaksha 2015 Election official theme song

        Raja, Raja, Raja,

        Published on Nov 21, 2014 [Edited out]

    • 17
      4

      The fact remains that Mahinda is greedy, corrupted, unlawful and criminal. He was never be a popular among people and there is no chance that he will come back in any form legally and democraticaaly. It is a fact he is a thief,murderer, and criminal. People were under constant threat and they feared for their life and they didn’t have any option other than voting for him. People have appreciated his contribution towards jungle law, white van abductions & murders, unlawfully sending Sarath Fonseka to the Prison, removal of former chief justice, violence against Muslims and their relegious freedom and corrupting the nation and cheating the people and the world. Yes under Premadasa, people were burnt by both armed forces and JVP terrorists. Yes Mahinda went to UN asking for international investigation against Srilanka. But Mahinda ordered to do the same under his rule and massacred thousands of innocent civilians. Since they are Tamils no one shed the tears. Same on you. Now Mahinda and his crimes have gone. People enjoy freedom. Tamils and Sinhalese are together for better Srilanka.

    • 7
      3

      Not only Hilmy, but the entire Muslim community discarded the Rajapaksa’s because of their racism. So, don’t blame the Muslims because the guardian of the Muslims that massacred the Muslims were the rajapaksas.

      You just be living in Wimal Weerawansa’s planet to even think that MR could come back as PM. Yes, he will certainly win an electorate if he contests, but he cannot become a PM with 5 members to his coalition. With all state power and peoples money and total conrol of the pubic servants, he lost. So there is no chance that he can come back. Do not forget, he has to fall at Maithripala’s feet to get nomination from SLFP. He is unlikely to do that and if he conests on his on, he wouldn’t even muster a million votes across the country

      • 2
        4

        When MR has the last laugh at the next election you will see who falls on whose feet. Get a grip on reality. The majority in this country wants Mahinda back trying to hide him behind Wimal Weerawansa’s back and Mithree’s slippers is just a derogatory way of showing your hatred towards MR.

  • 24
    3

    Corruption,Drug deals,Illegal Ethanol Importation,abuse of State Resources and Human Rights violations are non-negotiable;Besides,the Mandate given to President Sirisena,apart from the 19th Amendment is to prosecute all those involved in the aforesaid crimes,big or small,Friend or Foe!

  • 13
    4

    Ceylon had laws before. The problem was in its implementation. If a rule of law cannot be observed then the legislators need to amend it.

    I think what happened was after Tamil shenanigan with 13th amendment we had a set of laws that essentially not endorsed by the Parliament. There was no urgency to follow laws that is not our own.

    The 19th amendment is different. There is widespread support for it. The laws must be followed in the spirit it was written.

    We know the CC works best if its apolitical. The MPs who participate must not observe party political rules but work according to their own conscience.

    Westminster does not have written rules. They simply observe tradition. They innately know what is best for their country. That tradition needs to be imbued into Parliamentarians in Ceylon.

    G L Peris needs to be sacked too.

  • 6
    11

    Potta Naufer is no Rajapaksa man.. Is he?…

    He controlled the whole drug trade and the Mafia in Colombo until Rajapaksa came to power.

    The Mafia then, who were working hand in hand with the Terrorists were untouchables.

    Potta even dispatched a High Court Judge , a good one for that matter to Nirwana in broad daylight, in front of the Judge’s own residence.

    Even Ranil’s old mate Prabakaran couldn’t match that.

    Potta Naufer and his buddies used to run the Drug trade even from inside Welikada and Bogambara.

    So is it fair to pin the Drug dealer cum Mafia tag on our SLFP supporters who are Sinhala Buddhist rural folks?.

    Imagine Ranil getting full executive powers?.

    His mates would have robbed the daylight out of our public institutions like the Central Bank.

    Ranil must have formed that Finance CID aftere his mate fixed the 30 year Lankan Rupee Bond Issue.

    That is probably why Bodhi Sira now wants to know how Ranil formed the FCID with out the former’s knowledge…

    So much for Yahapalnaya.

    The main worry of our inhabitants now , I mean the 5,8 Million of them is whether Ranil will fix the Elections too, like his Uncle did in the 80s.

    My Elders tell me that the Uncle gave our inhabitants the mother of all Elections to decide not have the election so the Parliament of course the UNP then, could continue for extra 5 years..

    How cool is that ?…..

    • 16
      4

      Sumanasekara

      Your statement about Ranil as a friend of Prabakaran. Are you insane. It was MR who paid money to the LTTE to stop the Tamils voting for RW. According to the reports in the Press, it was Tiran Allas who was the go between. Don’t write lies and lies

      • 11
        1

        Lies enough times told becomes the truth in our holy land.

      • 3
        2

        Ranil signed a ‘peace deal’ with VP which would have lead to partition if not for VP’s stupidity.

        It was necessary for MR to pay VP to stop the Tamils voting for RW. MR knew that if he was President he could take on VP and destroy him while RW could not.

        Give the devil his due. MR was a great leader in wartime but a disaster in peacetime.

        • 2
          0

          Taraki

          “It was necessary for MR to pay VP to stop the Tamils voting for RW. “

          Didn’t he violate the election laws?

          Where did he get the cash from, which violated the international convention on money laundering. MR should have been put in prison for both crimes.

          The cash was given to Basil by one of our neighbors. In return what did MR barter? It seems like his Tamil brethren VP MR too was at the service of foreigners.

          What service did MR perform for the foreigners?

          • 1
            1

            Dear Native,

            Are you accusing your great Thavilar as a corrupt Santhosam taker?.

            How would the ginormous Diaspora would feel when you say such bad things about their hero, and idol , who sacrificed his life for the Eelaam, which has even made it in to the Great British Conservative Party Election Manifesto.

            Isn’t it an outright insult to accuse great Praba taking Medumulana Moolay when the remittences to his treasury in Swiss Francs, Euro, Norwegian Croners and of course Pounds and Dollars both US and Aussie amounted to several Million each month.

            May be the Elite, and the Anglicans believe you…

    • 5
      1

      You have gone bonkers. We (the people) know better who is RW and know more about the robber baron MR than you can imagine. One is looking to serve the needs of the country and its people, whilst the other only served his own interests and the needs of his and his wife’s family. Going out as a President who lost an election will never rest easy on MR and he will want to make amends by pushing Namal baby to stake a claim for the high post. If our new Prez. MS plays his cards right, it will take a while for MR to realize that dream, since he is already of a known quantity.

    • 1
      0

      Sumanasekera, What you fail to comprehend is that it was the Silva’s (Mervin and Dunminda) Lansa, and many other Sinhala officers of the police, customs and intelligence units that controlled the drug trade. The street distributors were, yes some Muslims who have been deprived of even education up to their ols in schools in maligawatte and dematagoda. Why don’t you take a walk in these areas and check the schools. Some of them are short of over 50% of the teaching staff. Does this happen at Ananda, Nalanda, Isipathana, DS or Thurstan? The Muslim youth are forced to drop out of schools and are recruited by the drug lords to end up as couriers who are pay 10,000 for a days flight out and in with the contraband. You should know there are no senior officers in the customs, police or narcotic control board who are Muslims. It is the SINHALA BUDDHISTS who control the drug trade. Even Mahinda Rajapaksa was accused of providing safe passage to Lansa’s drug haul when it was busted by the commandos. What do you have to say to that, my Sinhala brother from the dark ages

      • 1
        0

        Samsudeen,

        It is all about Elite and the Dalits, mate.I am glad you got the gist of it.

        Poor kids in rural areas are no better.And they are the great majority who I care about.

        Rajapaksa started 1000 Central Colleges program with the same level of facilities as in Ananda, Nalanda and the others which you mentiond..

        They all gone down the gurgler, now because your mate Ranil and his gang couldn’t give a shit about the poor.

        Look at their record. Fuqed up CWE, CTB, and gave the Mudalalis a free hand to rip off the poor.

        Guaranteed that will happen again if not for the President.

        That is why Ranil wants to castrate Sira , But it didn’t work.

        • 1
          1

          K.A Sumanasekera

          This is between you and me.

          Do you support 19A?

          • 0
            0

            Dear Native,

            What is in there for the Dalits?…

            Please spell it out and I will tell you…

        • 0
          0

          AND HE NAMED THEM MAINDAODAYA – WHO THE F… names anything after himself when he is alive. It is the Rajapakayas who started hsi stupidity

          • 0
            0

            Do you want to call them Sumedaodaya?…

    • 3
      0

      K.A Sumanasekera

      “The Mafia then, who were working hand in hand with the Terrorists were untouchables.”

      So they were not Vellala Christian after all.

  • 4
    1

    Maithripala, along with Ranil, has done the best he can with the much touted 19th Amendment which though emasculated by politicisation of the Constitutional Council, is still workable, to ensure justice and Rule of Law to most citizens, except for those in the north and east where the Prevention of Terrorism Act overwhelms the constitution.

    Gota who had ‘powers of life and death’ via the PTA is no more, but his replacement appears to carry on in the same manner.

    Will the UNHRC Report be “outlawed” in September, to prop up the PTA in the future too?

  • 0
    6

    The real reason why MS worked so hard to pass 19 is because he is weak and cannot handle responsibilities that accompany the position of Executive Presidency. Now he can have a cushy life.

    • 6
      0

      Lame excuse towards a man who has everything to gain with Executive powers to put the country right and take credit to himself, but instead chose to delegate and share that responsibility and let everyone be a stakeholder in this momentous task. Couldn’t you come up with a better excuse to criticize MS for doing what everyone wants from him, or wants him to do? Another case of ‘sour grapes’ loser.

  • 2
    0

    Mahinda should not even think of coming back to parliament if he wants to retain any dignity and gratitude from the people for providing political leadership to the war efforts in defeating terrorism. Should he dare to even address public political meetings on behalf of others, he should be hauled in for helping Hambantota and millions of other corruption charges and sent to the gallows. If they cannot find a hangman by that time, I volunteer. Love to hang him for his crimes to humanity. The lives of Lasantha, taraki, ekneligoda and hundreds of other journalists were murdered by this devil. If he wants to come back and restart his murderous adventure again, he needs to be stopped any any cost

  • 1
    0

    Maithripala is no spring chicken. He could end up as a bigger dictator than Mahinda. Thank god for atleast reducing the powers of the executive menace. Maithripala, who talks like an angel now has enough skeletons in the cupboard. His siblings were a bigger menace than the Rajapaksa’s in the North western province. The small rice millers in the polonnaruwa district were eliminated, Mahinda Rajapaksa encouraged him because the rice milling was in the hands of Muslims from Kandy

  • 0
    0

    SLFP and UPFA bulldozed RW and got
    the majority Parliament members to CC so that
    all commissions can be made a tool
    of Parlianent and avoid being prosecuted
    when they Rob the country.
    How many politicians have declared their
    assets as reqd by Law. They have a
    different Law from rest.
    Not a single of these UPFA had anything to
    Say when 18 was introduced giving
    Them a blank cheque to Rob.
    As RW says those who were brought
    down from the Throne to carpet
    Should be swept out of at next election.

  • 0
    0

    Let us see MS handling a crisis situation such as the last war before we decide, shall we?

  • 2
    0

    Corruption ?? The most audacious and corrupt is the current Central Bank Governer (insider dealing) and Finance Minister (money laundering). In any other decent country, they would be behind bars for five to ten years, like the Finance Minister’s former business partner, Raj Rajaratnam, – who is currently enjoying the prison cells of New York.

  • 0
    0

    Thanks Upul for enlightening us on that. I too feel that this silent and small guy could be more dangerous than MR.

    MR is an idiot but was a lesser danger.

  • 0
    0

    Maithri has shed atleast 50% of his executive powers, so the would be good for the country. Let us make sure that he doesn’t become a tyrant with balance 50%. The rethinking of the constitution would need to be done after the general election and a national government formed without the BOOOOOORUWANSA mafia

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