19 September, 2020

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We Participated In This Constitutional Reform Process With Honesty & An Open Mind

By Mahinda Rajapaksa

Mahinda Rajapaksa

There is the widespread suspicion that the government may try to get the new constitution passed in Parliament through the same means adopted to change the system of elections to the local government institutions and the provincial councils in the recent past. There are over 40 MPs who contested and won the last Parliamentary elections under my leadership and who now hold portfolios under this government. They can defeat this constitution in Parliament by not voting for it.There was an immediate and dramatic improvement in the quality of life, the availability of employment and education in the north in the wake of the development projects launched by my government in that area after the war ended. However today we see that the needs of the people have been cast aside and the needs of the politicians in the north are being given priority. This I believe is a payoff for the contribution made by certain internal and external forces towards the change of government in January 2015.

English translation of the text of the speech made by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Thursday the 2nd November 2017, at the Constitutional Assembly in Parliament:

Hon Chairman,

The Constitutional Assembly began the process of drafting a new constitution nearly 20 months ago. Six sub-committee reports containing various proposals were released in November 2016and in September this year the interim report that we are debating now,was tabled in Parliament. I have issued detailed statements commenting on the specific proposals made in the various documents that have been released by the Constitutional Assembly up to now and I do not intend repeating myself here. We participated in this constitutional reform process with honesty and an open mind. When the political parties were asked to submit their views, the Joint Opposition sent in written submissions. We participated in the various sub-committees. It’s not that we didn’t have our doubts about the bona fides of the government. We saw the blatant fraud perpetrated on the people of this country through the 19th Amendment which the government introduced for the purpose of abolishing the executive presidency. But we participated in the constitution making process in order to look after the national interest.

Yahapalana manipulation is glaringly obvious in this whole process. The views that our MPs expressed in the various sub-committees were dropped when the reports were published. Look at the manner in which the debate on this interim report has been conducted in the past three days. First a UNP minister speaks on behalf of the government. Then a TNA member speaks on behalf of the opposition. Once again an SLFP minister speaks on behalf of the government. Then a JVP member speaks on behalf of the opposition. All these parties are yahapalana stakeholders, they are all in the constitutional conspiracy together. The genuine opposition force which is the Joint Opposition gets only two or three opportunities to speak a day.In order to justify their quest for a new constitution, members of the government have been claiming that I too had pledged in my manifesto for the 2015 presidential election to bring in a new constitution. That is true, but the question here is that the present constitutional proposals seek to divide the country whereas what I had in mind was a constitution that would enhance the unity and togetherness of all the communities that live in this country.

In any event nobody obtained a mandate to bring in a completely new constitution at either the presidential or parliamentary elections held in 2015.According to the constitutional proposals that have been unveiled, every subject that is now on the central government list is to be evaluated and assigned to the provinces if the provinces can handle it. The concurrent list is to be abolished and the powers therein handed over to the provinces. Even the implementation of the few functions left to the central government are wherever possible, to be carried out by the provincial authorities.In formulating national policies and standards the central government will have to consult each and every provincial council separately. Land, police and finance powers are to be devolved to the provinces. Once all these powers are devolved to the provinces,the central government cannot take them back even with the combined authority of a two thirds majority in parliament plus a countrywide referendum.

A devolved power can be taken back only if each and every provincial council gives its assent to the proposed change. If these proposals are enacted, there will be no point in the present members of this house contesting for parliament next time. They will be better off contesting for the provincial councils because that is where real power will reside. A federal unit or an independent state in the northern and eastern provinces has been a political project pursued by northern politicians since the 1950s.In order to hide the chauvinism and exclusivism that underlies this demand for a separate Tamil state, the devolution of power has always been touted as an arrangement that will be of benefit to all provinces and not just the north and east.All this while, the leaders of other minority based political parties may have been passively and unthinkingly nodding their heads to the demand for more and more devolution of power orchestrated by the TNA lobby.

But now when confronted with the moment of truth,the leaders of political parties based on other ethnic groups and religions may be having second thoughts due to the clear danger that these proposals pose to their own interests.This may be why this process has not progressed beyond the “collecting and publishing of ideas and suggestions” as the government likes to put it.The devolution of power in the manner proposed may be in the interests of northern Tamil politicians but it will place all other minority community based political parties at a disadvantage.The Muslim community cannot possibly agree to the proposal in this interim report that the northern and eastern provinces be considered one province. In 1987, the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress was formed in protest against the merger of the northern and eastern provinces.It is unlikely that the Muslims of the north have forgotten how they were treated when Tamil chauvinists held unfettered power. What prevented the Muslims of the east from being similarly treated at that time, was the presence of the Sri Lanka army.

If by some chance the Northern and Eastern provinces are not merged, it will be interesting to see whether the Tamil people of the East believe their interests will be served through the further devolution of power.How do the Up-country Tamil leaders regard the idea of a new constitution that would place their population under two or three different all-powerful provincial councils with a central government that has no power to intervene on their behalf even in the case of disputes and complaints?Up to now, all leaders of the various ethnic and religious communities other than the Tamil politicians of the north have always sought power at the centre. If the current proposals are implemented, the centre will lose all power. In order to justify their constitutional proposals, members of the government has been saying that I too had mooted a concept called ‘thirteen plus’. What the present government means by thirteen plus is the division of the country. But what I meant by thirteen plus was the closer unification and integration of all communities living in this country through mechanisms like a second chamber of Parliament.

In India, the vast majority of Indian Tamils live in Tamil Nadu. In Sri Lanka however, the majority of the Tamil people are permanently resident outside the north and east. Even though there is a significant concentration of Muslims in the east, the vast majority of the Muslims are permanently resident outside the east. The creation of ethnic or religion based federal units with powers akin to sovereign states, will place the minorities living in those federal units at a disadvantage.I request the government to give up this quest for a new constitution which serves only the interests of northern Tamil politicians and places virtually everyone else at a disadvantage and to concentrate instead on fulfilling the original constitutional pledges they gave the people at the 2015 presidential elections. For a start, the government should let the public know their collective decision on the abolition or otherwise of the executive presidency.The other important matter that needs the attention of this house is the reform of the elections system. The way the elections laws for the local government institutions and the provincial councils were changed was haphazard and arbitrary and this will pose a grave danger to the stability of the governing institutions of the country.

There is the widespread suspicion that the government may try to get the new constitution passed in Parliament through the same means adopted to change the system of elections to the local government institutions and the provincial councils in the recent past. There are over 40 MPs who contested and won the last Parliamentary elections under my leadership and who now hold portfolios under this government. They can defeat this constitution in Parliament by not voting for it.There was an immediate and dramatic improvement in the quality of life, the availability of employment and education in the north in the wake of the development projects launched by my government in that area after the war ended. However today we see that the needs of the people have been cast aside and the needs of the politicians in the north are being given priority. This I believe is a payoff for the contribution made by certain internal and external forces towards the change of government in January 2015.

Thank you

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Latest comments

  • 12
    6

    Despicable, greedy, corrupt, traitor is getting ready to destroy this country. Once again. In order to stay out of jail for massive crimes committed. For personal gain. To find a way to grab at least a certain degree of power again. This guy will burn this country again, if he has to, in the process. Backstabbing, Yahapalanaya monkeys, please if you have any backbone, put this guy, his criminal clan, cronies and henchmen behind bars. Cases against them are so overwhelming. What are you waiting for?
    Cheers!

    • 5
      0

      “There was an immediate and dramatic improvement in the quality of life”

      Yeah ……. for the Rajapakses.

    • 4
      4

      Bullshit. You, former President, you shamefully betrayed us by taking part in the Constitutional Assembly which formulated the treacherous Federal Constitution.
      .
      You never said a word against the Federal Constitution in the Parliament.
      You and your Jackal Pack (except Wimal & NFF) actively took part in formulating a Federal Constitution.
      You betrayed the entire country.
      You betrayed all Sinhalese who placed immense trust in you to fight against Yapahalanaya and save the country from being divided.
      That is why people sent you to Parliament amidst immeasurable difficulties.
      Poor day-workers sacrificed their day’s wages to come to “Mahinda Sulanga” to give you strength.
      People took leave from work, skipped meals, ignored numerous personal obligations, withstood extreme sun and pounding rain on behalf of you to take part in rallies all over the country, to show people’s strength to the government.
      Wimal risked his life, sacrificed his time 24/7, suffered untold miseries and subject to political witch-hunt in 2015 to bring you back. He is still under political witch-hunt for being instrumental to bring you back.
      You shamefully betrayed Wimal.
      You misused people’s patriotism to come to Parliament and once you were there, you deliberately disregarded people’s voice.
      Your thirsty for power returned, putting the country behind which made you looking for quick ways to come back to power. You thought taking part in the Constitutional Assembly to support the Federal Constitution, bargaining your share, is one such quick way to come back to power.
      You betrayed all those who voted for you.
      If you think you or another Rajapaksa can come back to power, you are very much mistaken. Sinhalese never forgive traitors.
      You betrayed all fallen, wounded, served and serving soldiers of the Army. My anger is turning to a rage. So I stop here for the moment.

      • 8
        0

        Champa,
        Going by your theory, Wimal & NFF are the only “HOPE” for our nation’s future.
        LOL!
        PS: What about all the criminality Wimal & NFF have committed against SL though? Don’t they have like a 100 court cases pending? Shall we kick all that under the carpet? For the sake of DJ’s “Smart Patriotism”?

        • 5
          0

          Ben Hurling

          “Going by your theory, Wimal & NFF are the only “HOPE” for our nation’s future.
          LOL!”

          Are you hoping/wishing for a tsunami to wipe out the entire island?

      • 4
        0

        Champawathi you may be just fron the venerologist… anyways, we can understand your pains.
        I really dont htink you will succeed making efforts to work on Wimalawathie.

        His days are numbered and we are sure of it.
        Man had abused all facets. So there are no leaders to please the bugger to the manner MR did, there again.
        A man whose IQ is below to that of a street monger to allow rabble rouse the nation will end up soon. We are more than sure.

      • 3
        0

        Champa,

        MR is thirsty for power alright but you are completely consumed with bigotry left, right and centre. You need to chill and comprehend that the war was won with the logistical and intelligence support from the international community on the premiss that SL will grant a political solution for the Tamils! MR repeatedly promised this too.

        So, you take a deep breath and think of the country as a whole; the Sinhalese are part of the fabric along with the rest constituting a country. You need to learn and accept the plain Truth!

        • 0
          1

          Burning issue
          .
          You say “..logistical and intelligence support from the international community on the premiss that SL will grant a political solution for the Tamils!..”
          .
          List the countries which provided logistical and intelligence support and the type, on the premise that MR should grant a political solution to Tamils. This is the first time I heard something like that so I would like to know.
          .
          MR was able to win the war by evoking nationalism and patriotism among Sinhalese, especially in the Army. Wimal played a pivotal role in arousing patriotism by visiting camp to camp and conducting seminars for the Army.It was patriotism that evoked sacrificial spirit among young soldiers to fight terrorists and lay down their lives willingly. It helped spreading a streak of patriotism over the country to join the Army, which went to such an extent, when families in villages received dead bodies of soldiers in closed coffins, their fathers gallantly announced that they were proud of their sons who sacrificed their lives to save the motherland from terrorists, and, therefore, they were not hesitant to send their other sons also to the Army to take the place of their dead sons. That is how MR won the war. Otherwise, if our Army was a regular Army, MR would never be able to win the war within such a short span of time. It was in the same spirit, people voted him for the second time in 2010. Blast all politicians who took part in Constitutional Assembly forgetting all sacrifices made by fallen and wounded soldiers in the Army and over 400k of their loved ones/immediate family members, knowing very well that Ranil’s ultimate goal is granting full secession to the North/East.!

      • 5
        0

        Hu huu… coming colour is no good to NFF.

        Surely, Wimal led groups have to see other alternative if they have to parasite the nation further.

        SO long the mafia king stayed hallozinated, he thought NFF ballige putha would be the only option to outreach the grass eating folks.
        Now they have cut their neck by their own.

        No doubt Champawathi and her pocket will become empty next days. She would not have the merry days as had been sofar.
        Best would be to check you through venerologists.
        Good luck Chamapa wathie.

        Enough is enough.

      • 5
        0

        At least today you got to know that Mafia King is born hypocrite.

        He would not know mercy when it comes to his personal gains.

        No any other leaders but this bastard has still been fighting for come back since last 2.5 years.

        Former leaders in general concentrate on other things THAT they have missed while being in the office.
        Instead, this greedy man to be stuck on his agendas thinking that only wayout for him would be getting back to power ?

    • 6
      0

      This is U turn reaction from former Mafia boss.

      He would not touch anything without and ulterior motives. The kind of culprits will have to face it if not today tomorrow.

      In a crucial era of the country, where all walks of folks can work together for a better future, bringing a suitable constitution, the kind of criminals to treat it with sinister acts should be condemened by anyone with little brains.

      Hope more wisdom to former Mafia boss et al. then this nation will be saved.

      Now the reactions of this particular man, is becoming clear, even if the war victory was firmly painted as if MR himself mastered it. If he mastered it, why not he himself to go for common plan for all folks by date ?

    • 6
      0

      Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa,

      RE: We Participated In This Constitutional Reform Process With Honesty & An Open Mind

      You have never been honest, and never had an open mind. Ir was all about you, MaRa.MaRa ChaTu MaRa.
      .
      A culture that was founded on the serene teachings of Siddhartha Gautama the Buddha- who claimed to be a common man although born to royalty- is being defaced and debased, by the Pra-Sinhala Buddhist and Para-Sinhala like you.

      Para-Sinhala Buddhism , is not Buddhism.

      Mahawamsa is an insult to the Buddha.

      Mahinda Rajapaksa, MaRa , is an insult to the Paras with common sense, not to the idiots.

      MaRa MaRa ChaTu MaRa
      MaRa MaRa AmaNa MaRa
      MaRa MaRa HoRa MaRa
      MaRa MaRa DhuShaNa MaRa

      • 6
        0

        Any criminal of that nature would never sense it. That is the reason MR to behave so.

        Even his wife would not know how devious the man has been.

        Else, he would not allow wife to run LTTE gold businesses calling though it by the name SIRALIYA :::

        All in all, the man adds to history lanken politics to be the most abusive leader we ever had in this country.

        No matter anything would have been jeopardised, but selfish gains should gain its place.

        So is Mara !

  • 5
    1

    It is unlikely that the Muslims of the North have forgotten how they were treated when Tamil chauvinists held unfettered power ….So says MaRa.
    Crocodile Halal Tears for the Muslims eh?
    Southern Muslims will also never forget how MaRa and GoRa treated them at Alutgama and Beruwela.etc etc etc!

  • 5
    0

    Honesty you SOB? What does honesty got to do with you?

    • 1
      0

      There is a donkey who can only bray. did you ever write anything meaningful except uttering ?

  • 3
    0

    Honesty and Open Mind! Well well, lets see first about HONESTY. Mahinda is the person who amended the contitution over night for his own benefit. Why did’t he make the changes that he is now complaining about. 13th Amendment is now part of the constitution, if he did not agree for land and police powers being given to PCs then he should have amended it he did not. How HONEST is he ?

    OPEN MIND? Well if he is open minded first he will not call the paper the Constitutional Proposal, he would call it a discussion paper in all public meetings.

  • 0
    0

    Mr. MR: You stress that the TNL; SLFP; UNP; JVP all speak on behalf of their parties and on what they perceive as policies akin to them. Let me know on whose behalf you speak? I, from what you say and see how you move around and with whom, you speak for and on behalf of the “Joint Opposition”. Since the commencement of this debate on the Constitution making, I have heard and seen what all the main figures of that “JO” says and do. At least two of them (Wimal & Rambukwella) have “Proposed” to “Bomb” the Parliament while another (your own brother GR) goes around the country with his “Viyath Maga Clan” declaring to “Shoot” down any who who favours the “Constitution Making”. Then again there are many others affiliated to your “JO” who go around the country and explaining to the people how the country would be divided, thus pushing the “Sinhala” people and their “Religion” (Buddhism) to a “equal” or “secondary” position than what has been given so far. This “Army” is embraced and composed of the “Buddhist Clergy” too. That “Ethnocentric” and “Religious” tribalism and cultism are the main perceived policies of your “JO”. So, I believe, when you classed all those political parties speak on their own political ideologies, YOU should have told at the opening statement, you represent and speak for and on behalf of that “JO” and its “Affiliates” whose declared policies are as described above. However, you have given that clue of representing that “JO” and thank you for being “Honest” and “Open Minded” of the stand you have taken. Yet another “REQUEST”. Please be present in Parliament to “CAST” your VOTE at least on this matter of “Constitution” subject; because so far you have never executed that RIGHT & RESPONSIBILITY by the people you represent.

  • 0
    0

    As a two times President, one expects much more positive and responsible contribution from you.

    You have well informed experts by your side to advice and guide you to follow an enlightened path for the good of the country.

    If you are honest and sincere about your concerns , why not express them truthfully and honestly, there is no need to distort, malign and lie and attribute bad motives on your opponents.

    Do you want to use this for your patrician agenda without any concern for the suffering masses?

    This is only an Interim Report and provides an array of options on each issue. Nothing seems to be analysed.

    why cry wolf wolf at this juncture!

    Unlike the first and second Republican Constitutions, a bipartisan support is absolutely crucial for this proposal to overcome the two gigantic barriers, both formidable- two third majority in Parliament and a referendum,
    Why not wait and see or engage as a .partner in an all inclusive exercise!

    Why not engage constructively and improve the contents and help in building up a consensus constitution.

    If you try hard enough a win- win situation is not that impossible

    Grow up and be a good buddhist and a statesman!

  • 0
    0

    Whatever said and whatever disputed ..
    This government is ready to go for election with the intention of not giving any chance to MR groups any power…UNP And M&s groups are contesting election under one symbol…good Now it is unity governments..so that MR groups can not win.
    What a crafty move .
    Do or die situation to all

  • 0
    0

    Tamil political party of that TNA proposed ‘secular’ and ‘power devolution of political Federalism’ is not that going work with Democracy of Sri lanka. We an opposed that TNA proposal is not suited to own national conditions.

    On going federalism political system is proposed by UNP-TNA+JVP democracy that having large discrepancies between majority voters want and what political system of federalism going to delivered.
    The unitary State needed one center of power.
    But current UNP governances of undermined democracy mistrust is ascendant.
    An Island democracy which survival on territorial Integrity and sovereignty of Republic …HAS NO MAJOR FAILURE IN Sri lanka.

  • 0
    0

    Mahinda Rajapaksa claims ~ “We Participated In This Constitutional Reform Process With Honesty & An Open Mind”
    So MR started with a closed mind?
    MR’s open-mind is so open that fresh ideas just passed through. There was no chewing or assimilation.
    Honesty of MR? The people told him what they thought on 08 January 2015.

  • 0
    0

    Mahinda Rajapaksa [MR] knows what will happen to him and his family and other crooks who were back liking him in the near future. He should have been taken into custody a long time ago. It is Ranil who is blocking his arrest. MR is the greatest robber in Sri Lanka. He started even before he got elected to the Presidency with the help of Prabakaran, robbing 82 million Tsunami monies with assistance from Sarath Silva the disgraceful former CJ. Anyone who even think of robbing monies donated to Lanka by foreign countries to the people who got caught in the unfortunate Tsunami is a bastard. Can any right thinking man rob such monies unless he is a low third grade dog. Later his brother Kamal was in a hora pohora deal in 2006. Then there was the greatest robbery in the MiG deal by Gota. MR busted the Central Bank by getting it to invest in bankrupt Greek Bonds, the Commonwealth Games bid [8 million dollars], faulty investment of EPF monies in Mihin Lanka, Sri Lankan Airlines, The Finance, Lobby Payments in billions, 6 billion Sri Lanka Cricket monies. He played out Lalith Kotalawala for Rs. 100 million and made him go bankrupt.He shot dead Lasantha Wickrematunga, made Eknaligoda to disappear. Got his brother Gota to rob the Securities & Exchange Commission with the help the crook Dilith Jayaweera, compelling two of its Chairmen to resign. His dirtiest acts were the castration of Sarath Fonseka and the expelling of Shirani Bandaranayake CJ with the help of Berawayas like Sankilige Wimalasena alias Wimal Weerawansa. I shall send details of other dirty tricks of his later.

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