By Dayan Jayatilleka –
Mangala Samaraweera is clearly the ideologue of the Yahapalana administration. This does not mean that he speaks for the entirety of the government. He certainly does not speak for the majority of the SLFP Minority tendency that is in the government. Nor does he speak for the majority of the UNP MPs. However he does speak for the dominant faction of the government. To paraphrase Marx, the ideology of the dominant faction of the government is the dominant ideology of the government.
Samaraweera delivered the keynote speech at the inauguration of the “Sri Lanka Investment & Business Conclave 2017: Growth through Partnerships”, organized by the CCC. (‘Mangala Maps Way Forward’, Daily FT)
Mangala’s policy design for Sri Lanka, includes an ideology going beyond the subject matter of his specific portfolio(s) and presents a perspective which would have been warranted only if he were the President. If the changes he outlines are implemented, Sri Lanka will shrink and become a playground of external political, military and economic forces.
The Mangala model would have been legitimate, if undesirable, had the UNP won a mandate on its own. Instead, President Sirisena did in January 2015, precisely because the ideas, ideology and project of Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe and Mrs. Chandrika Kumaratunga, of which Mangala is the spokesperson, could not obtain a popular mandate under the candidacy and leadership of either one of them. At the parliamentary election too, in August 2015, the UNP ran on the platform of a bipartisan consensus. Thus the problem of legitimacy arises from the fact that the UNP’s leadership, or more specifically the Ranil-CBK axis, is seeking to push through drastic policies for which they do not enjoy bipartisan consensus within the government or the endorsement of the President.
While he has been removed from the Foreign Ministry for the second time (the first being by President Sirisena’s predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa), Mangala thinks that what has been appointed to do is to extend that which he did as Foreign Minister.
As the Daily FT reported, he made his speech “keeping a foot in his previous portfolio as Foreign Minister…”
This is the way Mangala Samaraweera understands or recounts his main achievement during his tenure as Foreign Minister: “To support these efforts, together with my Cabinet colleagues I have worked, during the last two years or so as the Foreign Affairs Minister, to create the best possible enabling environment for Sri Lanka to attract more business, trade and investment.”
But going by an outstandingly liberal international figure, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a poster boy of cosmopolitans the world over, Mr. Samaraweera is either dangerously delusional or a liar. The only alternative interpretation is that Prime Minister Trudeau lied, but if the reader will pardon me, much as disagree with some aspects of some policies of Mr. Trudeau, I would trust Justin Trudeau rather than Mangala Samaraweera any day of the week!
This message issued from Ottawa on May 18th, to mark the 8th anniversary of the end of Sri Lanka’s war, this is what Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau had to say, about what Mangala did as Foreign Minister:
“I reiterate my call to the Government of Sri Lanka to ensure that a process of accountability is established that will have the trust and confidence of the victims of this war. To this end, Sri Lanka should fulfill its international commitments by ensuring the involvement of Commonwealth and international investigators, prosecutors and judges.” (My emphasis-DJ)
So it is very plain to anyone with the most basic literacy in the English language, that what Mangala Samaraweera did as Foreign Minister, on the instructions of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe or with his blessings, and completely contrary to President Sirisena (and the official SLFP’s) clear, publicly stated and oft-repeated position on international judges, is precisely to enter into “international commitments…ensuring the involvement of Commonwealth and international investigators, prosecutors and judges…”!
Now he says that his work as Finance Minister will be on a continuum with his work as Foreign Minister and that both these are part of the same grand vision for Sri Lanka!
Mangala’s speech repeats his lamentation about Sri Lanka’s performance over the last 69 years. Samaraweera indicates that Sri Lanka’s development since independence has been a failure and that he as Finance Minister will force through the new paradigm of Ranil Wickremesinghe that will change all that by—wait for it—next year, the 70th anniversary of Sri Lanka’s independence:
“Samaraweera recalled the potential Sri Lanka had at Independence but expressed hope that the country still has the chance to turn things around and use its 70th Independence to chart a new beginning. The economic policy plan presented by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe last October was referred to as a blueprint the government would follow.”
He thinks his task as Finance Minister is to drive the Ranil-CBK project through in a policy coup d’état.
In the equivalent of a comprehensive policy speech, Mr. Samaraweera spelt out at the CCC, a total vision for Sri Lanka, from economic policy to foreign affairs, reconciliation and Constitutional change. On each of these sectors, the views that were articulated were either questionable, half-truths, or dangerous assumptions. Taken together they add up to a dystopian vision of and for Sri Lanka.
Samaraweera pronounced that “…Sri Lanka’s aspirations to become a regional hub for financial services for international trade” adding, in a slightly contradictory fashion, that “the growth model Sri Lanka evolves would need to be private sector driven with exports and FDI as key pillars.”
Who decided that Sri Lanka would give priority to converting itself into “a regional hub for financial services”? That may be the Singaporean niche but our country has always had greater factor endowments and has always aspired to a better rounded development in the sectors of agriculture and industry, rather than mere finances. In that sense our model should be far more Malaysia and South Korea than Singapore. And who decided that our growth model would be “private sector driven”, rather than “state-driven” or “state-private” driven as in the spectacularly successful East Asian model?
Samaraweera’s pronouncement that “the growth model Sri Lanka evolves would need to be private sector driven with exports and FDI as key pillars” poses another obvious question: Has the SLFP part of the government agreed to this growth model that would be “private sector driven”, rather than “state-driven” or “state-private” driven, as in the spectacularly successful East Asian model? If they did, that would be contrary to the ideology of the SLFP which is currently being headed by President Sirisena. Has a change in the SLFP’s fundamental principles taken place under his leadership or have they decided that such a compromise is necessary to sustain the unity government?
The Finance Minister proclaimed that “Without reconciliation and a stable foundation economic progress would once again evade our nation. In fact this is why a new Constitution in important, a Constitution that would celebrate the diversity of Sri Lanka as a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-lingual country.”
He elaborated in his remarks to the Mass Media Ministry which he has just assumed control of: “The Government has already started the process of giving executive powers to Parliament, said Samaraweera…” (Daily FT, June 3rd 2017)
This reiteration of the UNP’s position on a new Constitution comes precisely when the SLFP subcommittee on Constitutional reform has not yet endorsed the option of a new Constitution, and that party’s chief representative on the Steering Committee for drafting Constitutional change, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva made amply clear that the SLFP was opposed to any change that would require a referendum, and that the government had not obtained a mandate for such a full spectrum change over. He did so contradicting both Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and “Opposition Leader” Mr. Sampanthan. Thus the Finance Minister was representing only one wing of the Government in his address, rather than the “consolidated position” (as Mahinda Samarasinghe was fond of saying) of the Government.
What’s really going on here is that Ranil and CBK think that the PM has the power to lead the country. CBK also thinks that she is Sonia Gandhi and that President Sirisena is Manmohan Singh. The question that is of concern to the citizens of this country is whether she is right. What they are now trying to do is to bring in a new constitution that would give concrete form, not to the reality on the ground, but to the political and sociocultural world they currently live in.
In their world the TNA is more important than the SLFP and reconciliation with the minority inhabiting the Northern periphery is more important than reconciliation with and within the majority in the southern heartland and “non-recurrence” of the Southern turmoil that beset us in two successive decades.
The Samaraweera strategy is an unintended suicide bomb. A healthy business climate rests not on reckless policy reform but on sociopolitical stability, continuity and harmony. The attempt at a new Constitution will not only damage and destabilize a fragile coalition, it will divert and divide the state apparatus itself (bureaucracy, judiciary, military). Above all it will necessitate a polarizing and convulsive Referendum—all of which will gravely harm the business climate which the Finance Minister is duty-bound to protect and foster.
There is of course Ranil’s Plan B—namely to bring the abolition of the executive Presidency before Parliament as a separate amendment which does not require a referendum, and secure the votes of Basil-GL’s “Pohottuwa”. It will be a double-cross, a trap: (A) Gotabaya will be eliminated from the running in 2019 by abolishing the executive presidency, while Mahinda, whose loyalist MPs will be used for the abolition, will be knocked out of ‘the Premier stakes’ in 2020 by briefly removing his civic rights by means of a war crimes or financial accountability trial. (B) The ‘Pohottuwa’ faction will be tapped by Ranil to secure the abolition of the Executive Presidency, while the ‘official’ SLFP will be leveraged by CBK to get the enhanced devolution package through Parliament.
The proposed abolition rejects/ignores the axiom of a former Finance Minister, JR Jayewardene, based on experience of the island’s politics since the 1930s, that sustained high growth is impossible in our society within a Westminster model and requires an Executive outside/above Parliament. Even an Executive Prime Minister would not suffice.
As the powers of the Provincial Councils expand, and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe’s MoU with India including ECTA opens the floodgates for the five Southern Indian states to enter our economy unimpeded, the abolition of the Executive Presidency and dissolution of the Presidency-economy nexus will devastate any prospects for stability and sustained growth and wreck any chance of an island-wide national development policy, a single island-wide division of labor and a single market.
The geopolitical reality is that the parliamentary model in this small island (where the minority parties will wield a de facto veto) cannot control autonomous provinces with a huge ethnic ‘kin-state’ across 18 miles of water and a behemoth of a subcontinent as neighbor. What India successfully does to keep itself united with the PM/parliamentary system and quasi-federalism, a little island dwarfed by its neighbor cannot do to keep itself together as a single sovereign state.
Mangala Samaraweera’s hubris is sourced in what he knows is Ranil’s grand design: sell or pawn Trincomalee and Hambantota; federalize the North and East and secure Tamil Diaspora funds; liberalize the financial controls and launder Tamil Diaspora money; use the combined proceeds to stay afloat politically and buy votes including those of MPs to abolish the Executive Presidency with a parliamentary two-thirds (and ‘Pohottuwa’ backing) and grab the power that he couldn’t win electorally; cede the North and East to the India-USA-Japan cartel and secure their backing (including military interventionism) to entrench satellite status and puppet (i.e. one’s) rule.
Reading his policy outline one is struck by the black irony that Mangala wishes to celebrate 70 years of Sri Lanka’s Independence by rendering Sri Lanka unprecedentedly dependent in every conceivable economic realm!
The smooch that Mangala has planted on the face of the Sri Lankan policy agenda, is a Judas kiss.
Native Vedda / June 8, 2017
Old Codger ——–I very often hear this poem being recited among MR’s supporters in praise of him :————— The winter’s passed, The summer’s here. For this we thank Our party and our dear leader. ————Do you hear our people reciting at party rallies? I am told this poem was found in the archives of former Soviet Union.
old codger / June 8, 2017
——————————- Be thankful for small mercies. At least we got a piece with no mention of Fidel , Gramsci , or some paper published by DJ in some obscure university journal. But he did manage to mention his perfidious Indian ancestors.
Simon De Silva / June 9, 2017
One thing is clear so as HLD cant close his eyes, DJ too cant do so since both have much in common, that is but rabblerousing. These men have been the most knowin charactors to have the GENE to do the job for former KALAKNNI MUSALAYA MR – the leader provably looted as nothing can go. Today, things reveal even CEB has proved the gravity of the corruption have been established in those institutions.
nimal fernando / June 8, 2017
Dayan, ……………….. Man, time to get over this daily drivel. ………………. many punters bet on the wrong horse, when their horse can’t win they go and bet on another horse. ……………. Only imbeciles get stuck on the same horse. – Karl Marx (or was it Harpo?)
Native Vedda / June 8, 2017
nimal fernando————-“Karl Marx (or was it Harpo?)”————-He is looking forward having a few whiplashes from dominatrix on a regular basis. —————Dominatrix — A dominating woman/Gota, especially one who takes the sadistic role in sadomasochistic sexual activities.
Ajith / June 8, 2017
The real threat the nation faces is the ideology Buddhist Sinhala Fundamentalism against Muslims mastermine by Dr. Dayan Jelathike sponsored by Gotapaya Rajapkse headed by Mahindapakse. They want to create fear among Sinhala masses towards Muslims as they did against Tamils. Bandaranaike did with Sinhala only act and continued attack on Tamils that lead LTTE. They want similar from Muslim community. Once that fear is created with Sinhala masses then it is easy for them to bring back Mahinda & Gota dictatorship. That is the plan advised by Dr. Dayan Jeyatilake.
Thamilan / June 8, 2017
Why dont you appreciate what this government is doing regards reconciliation. Your government did nothing?
K.Pillai / June 8, 2017
Dayan, did not read your article. Atmosphere is ominous – Gnanasaro (May his Mr Universe muscles increase) is lose. Anura Senanayake on bail. Gota rattled by “rude” investigators. Namal indicted. Indications are we are in for a July 1983. This time UN may intervene. Dayan Dayan Dayan you are fiddling while we are about to burn.
Non PhD / June 8, 2017
Spot on Ajith.
Last night or tonight it is Poson Full Moon Day. The day Lankan natives got embraced to Buddhism ,by Arat Mahinda & his Venerable team members.
Look at Dr.DJ, he chose this Poson Day to spit his venom. Did he write this for the posterity of SrLanka or to bring back morally corrupted MaRa GoRa BaRa NaRa regime ?
In fact I had a disturbing dream about Gnanasara, DJ, HLDM, MaRa Bros & Co, GLP, W Vangsa, G Pilla, Dinesh G, Vasu, Prof Tissa and few others.
I’m thinking whether it is good for me to write about that dream for the pizterity of Lanka. I may
K A Sumanasekera / June 8, 2017
What would a Gay Man who studied Fashion Design and Dress Making know about Fiscal and Monetary matters… He only got a foul mouth, to insult Sinhala Buddhists and the their brave sons who saved the nation from Tamil Terrorists…….. Mangalan bend over to the West every time he meets them……….He is like a man possessed…. …. He has this ingrained hatred towards Sinhala Buddhists, and will go to any length to destroy them and their Nation…… He even called the great Srialankan Army ” Meeharakas”., for killing Tamil Terrorists…….What a pathetic person he is………Soon he will be ike the other Yahapalana Minister John Amaratunga who called the TV Media reporter to Go and F***** your M***** , when he was asked about his anti Inhabitant activities,,, which the locals are pissed about…,,,,,, ,It looked to me like Johnny was Drunk or he is close to a major stroke….. Wouldn’t be surprised if the inhabitant s push Mangalana in to the same sorry state like his Buddy Johnny……….
Native Vedda / June 8, 2017
KASmaalam K A Sumanasekera ——————–“Mangalan bend over to the West every time he meets them”———- Stupid man if Mangalan didn’t help regime change and didn’t bend over backwards to the west by now this island would have been subjected to severe form of sanctions hence Duminda and Mervyn would have changed their trade to bootlegging. Buddhasasana Ministry would be issuing letters authorising Customs to clear all bottles of illicit moonshines. ———————- It would have cost you an arm and a leg and a ball to pay to smell your malt. Hope you are grateful to RW, Sirisena, Mangalan, …………………..for preventing this island being subjected to sanctions.
max / June 9, 2017
Lol! NA, yes we now dont have Mervins, Dumindas etc., (By the way, isnt Mervin, a full supporter of the govt now?) but dont we have equally or better lunatics like Sampanthans, Sivajilinkams, Rishard Badudeens, Galagoda Attes, John Amares etc., etc., with the full blessings of your decaying ‘yahapalanaya’?
Dumb Mongal may be a hero to you since his pet project is to dash Sinhala Buddhists and their culture. In fact, he is a curse to this country. SL of course is better in the absence of him. May be Mongal is the ONLY FM in the world, who went to so called international bodies against to his own country! Such a dumb!
B S Perera / June 8, 2017
This man has no world without Rajapakses. If this family is not there, does he want all Sri Lankans to jump into the sea and commit suicide? Does his PhD means “Piles high with Disaster”?
Lester / June 8, 2017
“As the powers of the Provincial Councils expand, and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe’s MoU with India including ECTA opens the floodgates for the five Southern Indian states to enter our economy unimpeded, the abolition of the Executive Presidency and dissolution of the Presidency-economy nexus will devastate any prospects for stability and sustained growth and wreck any chance of an island-wide national development policy, a single island-wide division of labor and a single market.”
On the bright side, Sri Lanka is still in one piece after a 30 year civil war. 40% of Afghanistan is controlled by the Taliban, the rest is a quasi-state that bends to NATO and its potpourri of Western colonial powers. Syria already resembles occupied Germany after World War II. The Executive Presidency served its purpose. It is not needed during peacetime as it was during the war.
Sriyani Mangalika / June 8, 2017
We select our Rulers by voting. They are our representatives for a period. Therefore they should act more responsibly with broad sense devoid of just implementing their views on seriously important matters in a some what close manner’
I feel our Rulers that have been in power forget their function as serving people after getting power and they act as shown to have omnipotent.So we are helpless.
JimHardy / June 8, 2017
Sri lanka is a playground for politicians some of whose, the ministerial portfolio is finance but still does the external affairs portfolio and represent LTTE rump and LGBT. I don’t know why Ravi Karunanyake had to be a part of that statement by getting a fake kiss from Managla. Probably, it was Ravi Karunanayke’s wife who was watching to ensure whether it was a kiss or a just a fake enactment. The new external affairs minister talks about expanding trade via embassies. So, how long Sri lanka waited for that. At least Mahinda Rajapakse did that appointing two of his relatives, one Tea businessman, another opened a sri lankan restaurent in Ukraine. DJ is cheering up for Mahinda Rajapakse who had nine years and boasted about 50 years of political experience, had 2/3rd power whether it was ethical or not. The whole extended fanily worked for him. Yet, he only cheated the country. He kept his family and his grandure first and foremost, the country and the people second. Another player is unofficial muslim affairs – minister Rajitha Senarathne. Ranil, Maithri, CBK, Mangala are exactly the same as MR, BF, NR, Jackal Opposition and the country will be always in trouble. DJ like people – I don’t know whether it is money or possible lucrative position – is favouring one group over the other. It looks MAtara voters are also dumb as they vote Mangala.
Rajash / June 9, 2017
oh Dayan Dayan you are now in the same class a Izeth Hussain and H.LD.Mahindapala …just repeatedly spitting out monotonous hatred
Buramphisincho / June 9, 2017
he has long been like IH and HLD for such a long time. I can compare his behaviiour to a dog who has long been kept in a cage- and makes every efforts to come out of it by making various efforts.
Yes, this article is lacking about Gramsci or the other usual citations, but he may be enjoying the article, even if many would not even overead them today.
This man has been made a joker by him since the day the guy got into the stage and behaved himself as if Wimal WEERAWANSE the low educated man was his twinbrother. : since then, this guy has lost his credibility if he had any.
soma / June 9, 2017
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Rajash / June 9, 2017
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Upali / June 9, 2017
Recommend that Dayan read Buddhist Scripts and try to understand Buddhism if he not a Buddhist. Buddha preached to get rid of all belongings and endeavor to cut short the journey in samsara. So the majority in Srilanka being Buddhists will not want to go against Buddhas teachings. Give away land police powers self government etc. they will not hesitate . All who went to Anuradhapura for Poson went with the idea of attaining Nibbana in the next birth giving up all earthly things. Dayans thinking goes against core values of Buddhism.
thecabaal / June 9, 2017
first of all how well have State owned enterprises performed?
Secondly its mostly the private sector and FDI investments that have kept us safe.
You and your while should read what an MoU is and then maybe leave the country too or stop writing cause people are fed up of yoru nonsense (see above) – i read only the first few paragraphs and realised im wating minutes of my life id never get back.
I forget your on bended knees
Upali / June 9, 2017
I agree. Its a real waste of time.