By Shyamon Jayasinghe –
What’s wrong? Everybody with some concern for the country asks this question. Strangely, the Joint Opposition (JO), which is in the habit of crying “foul” for every move taken by the government is dead silent.
Probably this silence lets the cat out of the bag. The demand for super luxury cars would have been triggered by the JO’s former buddies who are now shamelessly in government enjoying cabinet portfolios. These guys are adept at playing hide and seek with Maitri and running into nooks and corners like rats. Recently, we had one of them demanding that Gota should be made SLFP Vice President or some such thing! This MP is disengaged from any notion of social justice-a perfect self server.
Maybe the strange luxury car deal was part of a bribe to get the backing of these corrupt-prone former official lackeys of Mahinda Rajapaksa. Mahinda built a Parliamentary support block by virtually franchising corruption among MPs. Like vultures, this cabal would get into seats of power (even as a ‘Supervising MP,” ) and look around for their prey. The prey is money – convertible – extracted from the impoverished nation of Sri Lankans who are direct and indirect taxpayers. Every institution was plundered and the plunder skilfully hidden away. Even monks in Parliament were bribed with luxury cars.
In Sri Lanka, a posh car is the symbol that one has “arrived.” Actually luxury high-powered cars are an anomaly in a country like Sri Lanka where road conditions cannot accomodate them. Where can one drive at 280 Km/hour?
On the other hand, any outside observer of the Indian Parliament would see top Ministers going about in the Indian-made Ambassador or Fiat. The same observer in Sri Lanka will see our ordinary MPs,with their necks and waists fattened, going about in luxury cars. During the former regime these fellows would get the meek and humble cops to forcefully move out crowds of poor pedestrians away to have the paths for these MPs to cleared. When VIP Ministers like Gota came pedestrians had to face the nearest wall and show their backs.
Under Yahapalanaya the luxury car craze unfortunately continues unabated although we haven’t yet come to the stage of moving the commoner to run a mile when the MPs are on the car-run.
This time Rs 1200 million has been set apart by special legislation! What a national emergency this car shortage has been!
Our University students should do their protesting against this kind of obscenity instead of shouting about student leaders who are guilty of violating the laws of the land in a brutal ragging process. How wonky our values have gone off shape!
I have a theory, namely, that if the car facility is shrunk into Indian proportions much fewer blokes would find a Parliamentary career attractive. This, together with the checks and balances set up by way of Independent Commissions would make life pretty nasty and gloomy for our politico rats.
But why, again, I ask does Yahapalanaya do this? The most benign interpretation is that yahapalanaya leaders, Maitri and Ranil, have realised that to achieve the final goal of the yahapalana nibbana they have to resort to corruption themselves. This is due to the simple statistic that the government does not get enough numbers in Parliament at the last general Elections. Maybe the recent special legislation was to motivate the cross-overs to vote against the no-confidence motion. By this token, the next controversial legislation may require another inducement.
To be honest, yahapalanaya is still on track in many areas of governance. But more honest leadership and backbone muscle is called for. It seems the forces of evil are ready to engulf the forces of good within this government. The duality in leadership may also be a tricky problem. It is time for Professor Sarath Wijeysooriya to muster his forces and start the next stage in the revolution that was achieved on January 8th. The big offenders of the previous regime are still at large going about in confidence. Bassy’s wide smile is good for a Signal toothpaste advertisement. The mobilisation of the civilian population is very important. Professor Wijeysooriya impressed his TV viewers during election time with his brilliant presentations. He needs more backing by well-meaning citizens. For the next revolution (Eelanga Satana) must come!
*The writer can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org