21 June, 2024


The Political Tug-O-War In Sri Lanka Is Cockeyed & Absurd: Only Ranil Talks Of Economic Goals

By Shyamon Jayasinghe

Shyamon Jayasinghe

The electorate has to crowd around these useless and headless blokes and swell their meetings in order to collect the morsels of food and drink and dole-outs from the ill-gotten money of the political class that rules.

The discourse is: “dooshanaya! dooshanaya!dooshanaya!” What a bloody harangue! It bores me to anything short of death. Maitripala Sirisena has nothing to pronounce except cry, “dooshanaya.” He is the new swordsman against dooshanaya and he talks as though dooshanaya is something new in his four decades of political experience and, therefore, intolerable. The JVP cannot be a Third Force as long as it talks only about dooshanaya; it cannot offer any positive program for the economic upliftment of the country. Its vast energy wasted for the dooshanaya  critique only goes to help one of the  two competing mainstream parties to garner more votes against the other. This is the crisis of the JVP.

Of course, the main proponents of dooshanaya – the Rajapaksa clan – is also vociferously attacking the ruling party of this disease and comically trying to wash their hands off their ten year-old dooshanaya circus.

This is the outcome when a whole political class of a country walks and talks in a realm of reality different and irrelevant to the needs of the people. The electorate has to crowd around these useless and headless blokes and swell their meetings in order to collect the morsels of food and drink and dole-outs from the ill-gotten money of the political class. 

The media simply follows the political class-looking for opportunities to survive. One never observes any printed or online media  that tries to balance the imbalance and put things in perspective. They take some side or the other in the dooshanaya Vs dooshanaya battle.

This is current Sri Lanka’s plight. The only political leader talking and walking the economy is Prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. I will not be doing my duty as a writer if I do not point out this exception  to the rule. The reason is that the exception, at least, should be mentioned in order to try and encourage a solitary example to spread at least to the level of a forming a critical mass.

I remember reading Nobel laureate in economics, Gunnar Myrdal, arguing that in Third World countries bribery and corruption acts as the lubricant to propel the economic engine in Third World countries.

Sri Lanka has  two key problems and dooshanaya isn’t one of them. The first issue is the urgent need to overhaul the economy and restructure it from its current profile of a debt economy where debt drives it, to an export-led economy. The second is reconciliation. Let’ talk her about economics.

We have to increase exports and, with that, direct foreign investment if we are to grow our economy. Economic growth means the increase in the capacity of an economy to produce goods and services within a specific period of time. It represents the longterm expansion of capacity of an economy and such expansion has been measured by the GNP.

It is only with such an expansion that the needs of the public can be met – the needs for employment, need for increase in the per capital income of the individual so that the latter can do his own, the need for public hard infrastructure and soft infrastructure, needs in public health, in education and, generally of the need for the betterment and prosperity of the average household. The rational economic cake must be big enough for the state to distribute its largesse equitably and in the right direction.

Economic growth will  stimulate government finances by enhancing tax revenues. This is how the public needs can be met. An economy snowballs this way into higher and higher growth as capital accumulates both in the treasury of the government and the coffers of the private entrepreneur. It is encouraging to hear the Finance Minister labelling his budges as the entrepreneurs’ budget. Entrepreneurs are the agents that drive an economy; not beggars. Not political thugs

Here, in Australia, the economy has grown considerably and successively over the last twenty-five years and see what amount of public needs are being met! How the disabled and the vulnerable in society are cared for! In Scandinavian countries the situation is even better. The whole Western World is ahead because of economic growth. Is there any point demanding a government to do anything for the people when the national economy-cake is so small? In these Western lands it is the private sector that has been the active dynamo of growth. Profit incentives act as the primary motivating force.

Successive governments since 1956 ruined the path of private enterprise by taking over every business enterprise that came their way. The SLFP has been the principal offender having been the party that sucked into a creed of populism. Keep giving free as much as possible -everything under the sun. That everything must be budgeted for isn’t the concern. Take-over and give. Mrs B famously said she would bring rice from even the moon and distribute free to the people. We used to go to the co-op, carrying our bags and collect free rice. People began believing that any government is possessed of a magic money-delivering kapruka or tree to give very dash thing fee like this. Hence, demanding and protesting is the only thing for the public to do.

The country ran broke and this is how the debt economy was born. It is critical for our nation’s survival to rectify this situation and revolutionise the country’s economy. The introduction of liberalised trading and the open economy in 1977 was one of our best economic decisions of our recent past. So were the Free Trade Zones to attract foreign direct investment-done at the same time.

One must applaud our Prime Minister for trying to reconnect with that path. Good signs are already showing. Foreign direct investment is impressive. Debt management and fiscal management is improving and the economy is slowly looking up. PM goes all over the world on economic missions with little gratitude from even the President  who now says he will take over the running of the economy! Oh my God! What is to come? I see Maitri waving at crowds with the typical old SLFP populism- promising price cuts and  tax cuts at his will. Like bringing rice from the moon. If tax cuts are made, the lost revenue must be found to avoid a gap. On the other hand, the President thinks the money will “just flow down.”

A few Bodhi Poojas will do the job-he probably thinks.

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Latest comments

  • 3

    Not that Ranil isn’t interested in talking corruption. It’s high risk for him & buddies.

    He seems to have been advised not to because of his loose lip.

    So he’s selected to utter insanely development, investment, job creating, success as salesman of national assets etc.

    What people know is right that if we have zero corruption there’s no need of extra effort for development.

  • 2

    Shyamon in first para refers to a ‘political class that rules’. It took us 70 years to realise that the tug-of-war is between ‘home vs home’ teams. Are/were the anchormen headless? Past anchors like SWRD, JRJ, MR had heads!
    Shyamon recalls the Nobel Laureate in Economics, Gunnar Myrdal, arguing that in Third World countries, bribery and corruption acts as the lubricant to propel the economic engine. Few years back Thailand was a rising rising economic miracle but the lubricant (corruption) was so caustic as to bring subsistence level existence and army rule.
    RW talks economics – so what? He must tackle corruption. Unfortunately he is not in a position to do this.
    RW & MS need each other for survival. This indicates that a coalition of power share is the answer.

  • 3

    It is only a childish talk saying Ranil only taking about Economy and attempting masks Ranil with a holy face. Lankawe politicians are limitlessly corrupted. If a man hiding these to public, but not openly telling to public, is that one a gentleman?

    Mr. Clean in corruption is now changing the color as Mr. Polite, by not attacking political opponents. His blunder is saying that Old King has been recommended in PRECIFAC report to Civic Right removal and has brought back to lime light his own recommendation in Batalanada Commission to have his Civic rights removed. The father of the nation who introduce the impunity as the culture of Sinhala Buddhism, ” the King of impunity granting”, after the boomerang he throw had come back and hit his head, is avoiding labelling others and not be labeled. One of the 2015 election motto was, though “No Leader, Commander, No Soldier will be investigated” was there, Rule by law, Law and Order, Corruption free government. I guess Ranil completed all those, so now his election motto is evolving to economy and selling lands to China. Many Colombo Media rigidly demanding Ranil be impeached, if New King is not removing for his obvious involvement in CB looting. One would be an idiot if not avoiding attacking others and be safe out of more exposers.

  • 3

    Ranil’s main goal is power, and was for long time known to patiently waiting for it. He cleaned UNP including, Senarath Attanayake, to be contest free. In early 2010s, Ranil was working hard with Old King to form a national Unity government after losing 3/4 of his MPs to Old King. Then he gave up EP to New King hoping to bring constitutional change and remove EP. On the night of Jan 8th he went to Temple Tree House and gave all the promises needed to save Old King. When he was handing over Hangbangtota to China, he used Admiral Ravindra to suppress all the protests. He did the same thing, when he was handing over the land to China, as per the request of the Chinese Ambassador. His free trade with Singapore is meaningless. (He has successfully pulled out of ETCA) . Basically 1/5 of the Lankawe population will not vote for UNP if they understand what are these Megalis, Colombo Pong Cing, Chinese Industrial Zone in Hangbangtota……..So far many UNP projects like Car Factory are open cheat to the voters.
    He was bearing all the American pressure until he signed and secured the Land Sale Deal with China. Once he received the cardboard Check, he proudly displayed it to TV. After that American Ambassador went to him to explain about the Jerusalem Embassy. Ranil sternly told him forget about his support for America. If China wants to occupy Taiwan, Ranil will be the first to raise his hand.

    Ranil is patiently taking all the insults of the opposition. He is holding his teeth tightly until the February 10th. He knows that UNP can win time, so that he doesn’t want to spoil anything. He will show who he is after the 10th.

  • 6

    Ranil never wears a costume. He speaks honestly and thinks honestly. Does not visit homes and kiss babies. Plain shirt and trouser or unpretentious suit. No nationalism and the kaput suit. This is Ranil. Sri Lanka does not deserve a leader like this. The suit is best for him . Why? He is cut above all ordinary politicians in Lanka

    • 5

      Absolutely right! Watch the interviews on media, how Ranil and Maithree answers questions. Ranil is genuine and answers with facts. He focuses on the long term. Maithree has the look of a “fox” and tackles questions to win the sympathy of the people. His sole objective is the party and not the country nor the people. But he knows how to play around with the theme “corruption”….and to act as if he is “Mr. Clean”!

    • 0

      Does not kiss babies but kissess boys older than that! OKyoudont like the national dress. Fine. But does the lounge suit make a good leader? Lounge suits make good lounge lizards like DudleySenanayake notorious for his lethargy and for his two passions food and women.In your book people like Gandhi, Nehru,and of courseBanda are useless aren’t they!. You may need a little injection of grey matter Wimalasuriya.

  • 0

    Yes Ranil talking of economic goals. All he does is talk, talk,talk. Three years as PM and has ruined the country. The country is bankrupt thanks to an idiot with economic goals.No thanks to a senile commentator who does not know whther he is living in this world, or in the great beyond.

    • 0

      Percy the dated and pathetic

      The country is still in a deep pit that Dr Mahinda (LLD + PhD X 3) dug with his Mahinda Chintana. It took Dr Mahinda (LLD + PhD X 3) 10 years to dig the pit and it won’t be easy to fill it in three years. The Mahinda pit is so deep I wonder whether the country would ever be able to fill it and then build a sound economy.

      There is no vacancy for an official b***s carrier to Dr Mahinda or even to his present b***s carrier KASmaalam Kalu Albert K A Sumanasekere. Not that he needs one.

      • 0

        Stupid Tamil Vedda
        The only deep pit that Mahinda dug was to bury your fricking sun god. Velu. You buggers can’t still get over that. Go get a life or join Velu in the deep pit where there will be a lot of BS for you or better still if you are allowed near your high caste Tamils to try eating at the same table.

  • 0

    There are only a very few people with a vision in the Political stage of Srilanka now. There are a few young educated Politicians. My personal view is that the Present UNP has quite a few of them, as against SLPP (Thieves) SLFP men without vision. We need to take Srilankan Politics to post 1948 era, Then only Then we will develop the country. Law and order must prevail to develop the country . So let us put all the fraudsters behind bars if they are found guilty

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