Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 21 December 2014





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

JHU loyalists will take a decision based on Gammanpila's thinking :

Sirisena on the pretext of good governance will exploit votes:

A progressive Govt, need of the hour - Minister Wimal Weerawansa

Government has reduced the debt burden:

Sirisena and his colleagues are local agents of an international conspiracy:

Construction, Engineering Services, Housing and Common Amenities Minister Wimal Weerawansa said incidents which have happened in the limited time frame of the run-up to the presidential elections bears ample testimony that presidential aspirant of the New Democratic Front(NDF), Maithripala Sirisena lacks leadership qualities and dances to the whims and fancies of various segments.

The Minister in an interview with the Sunday Observer said that Sirisena had signed one MoU with the JHU and another with the UNP.

Besides he won't reveal the contents of the MoU with the TNA. All these moves would lead to destabilising the country.

People don't need a change in government that will drag the country backwards. Instead it should be one that is progressive by rectifying existing errors. It is only President Mahinda Rajapaksa who can successfully accomplish this task, he said.

Minister Weerawansa said Maithripala Sirisena came out of the Government to sort out his personal problems, such a person will never be sensitive to other people's problems. Anyway who doesn't have problems?

This shows that Sirisena is not only unsuitable to lead the country and was even incapable of handling his previous portfolios. When a decision is taken to resign from his portfolio, there is a way to get about it.

If somebody resigns even from an institution, he should notify the head of the institution a month prior to tendering his resignation. We have that kind of morality in our society. Even Sarath Fonseka before he contested the 2010 presidential election intimated to the President of his desire to do so.

Tissa Attanayake also followed the same procedure. But Sirisena on the night before had a hopper diet with the President with no intimation whatsoever and on the following afternoon he left the Government even without informing the President.

Q:What is the impact on the Government on account of the JHU crossover?

A: Udaya Gammanpila was the human face and the public figure of the JHU. The JHU was represented by Gammanpila.

Most of the JHU politicians such as Udaya Gammanpila have joined the Government.

Only a few high level JHU leaders of the likes of Champika Ranawaka have joined hands with the UNP and the TNA.

Champika Ranawaka has told the Udayan and Veerakesari newspapers that there is militarisation in the North and the presidential election is the only opportunity to get rid of that.

This is contradictory compared to previous statements made by Ranawaka. These were the allegations levelled by the TNA earlier.

Is this the same Champika Ranawaka that we saw in the past? What is the reason for this massive transformation of ideology?Sometimes there may be a mega political deal behind this.

Because a small faction of the JHU such as Champika Ranawaka stand for the Eelam ideology, those who preserve the JHU ideology will not follow them.

That is why JHU member and former Western Provincial Council Minister Udaya Gammanpila took the decision to re-join the Government.

The people who are loyal to the JHU will take a decision based on Udaya Gammanpila's thinking and not Champika Ranawaka's.

Q: JHU Deputy General Secretary Udaya Gammanpila's U- turn underlines the fact that he is politically secure so long as he remains with the UPFA. Should this not apply to others who crossed over?

A: Udaya Gammanpila rejoining the Government does not mean that he is politically secure so long as he remains with the Government.

He can foresee what is going to happen. We signalled a warning. Maithripala Sirisena under the pretext of good governance wants to exploit the votes of the people.

He will not ensure good governance. Finally what the pro-LTTE elements want will be fulfilled.

This was the main reason why Gammanpila rejoined the Government. He foresaw the danger after being in that same camp for sometime.

Whatever shortcomings are there, he knows that it is only the incumbent Government which can ensure security and preserve the hard-earned peace.

He also is of the view that only by being in this Government can he exert pressure with regard to good governance. I think what he did was right.

Q: The UPFA defectors habit of washing dirty linen in public is politically suicidal. Your comments?

A: A Cabinet paper is submitted to Cabinet on each foreign loan obtained for a project. I haven't seen the JHU opposed to any such loan.

I don't know whether it happened on a day when I was absent at a Cabinet meeting.

I know the JHU didn't have any issue with regard to obtaining loans. Another complaint levelled by the JHU is that the Government has granted permission to open new casinos.

This Government has not given any license to promote casinos.

Permission has not been granted to open a single new casino during the tenure of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The casino king is Sirisena's brother.

His brother Dudley Sirisena won a car as a prize which was offered to the best casino punter by a leading night club in Colombo.

Fielding a casino king's brother as the common candidate, the joint Opposition levels allegations against the incumbent Government for promoting casinos.

They also accuse the Government of obtaining loans at high interest rates. But the Government has not obtained any loan exceeding seven percent interest as claimed by the Opposition.

Governments which ruled the country from 1977 to 1994 have obtained loans for high interest rates ranging from 7 to 10 percent.

The Nilwala Ganga, Samanala Wewa and some other projects are examples.This is clear testimony as to who has obtained loans on high interest rates and who was engaged in mega deals.

The allegations relevant to those who are in the opposition camp are levelled against the Government due to the fear that the Government would level those allegations against them.

Q: What really made former SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena to leave the Government? How do you look at this scenario?

A: He has clearly stated that he left the Government for personal reasons and not being able fulfill his duties as a Minister of Health.

He said he lost the draft of the National Drugs Policy while the 80 percent pictorial warnings on cigarette packs was reduced to 60 percent. He quit the Government expressing his grievances.

That is why he is requesting the people to elect him as the President to redress his grievances.

Do the people want to elect someone shedding tears in front of the people? He should come forward on behalf of the people. Has he quit from the Government on behalf of the people?

He has left the Government to sort out his own problems. A person who leaves the Government due to personal problems will never be sensitive to the problems of the people.

Who doesn't have problems? This clearly shows that Sirisena is not only unsuitable for to lead the country but was inefficient in his earlier capacity as the Minister of Health. When a decision is taken to resign from there is a method to follow.

If somebody resigns even from an institution, he should inform the Head of the institution a month prior to tendering his resignation. We have that kind of morality in our society.

Even before Sarath Fonseka contested the 2010 presidential election, he informed the President. Tissa Attanayake also followed the same procedure unlike Sirisena who on the previous night had a hopper diet with the President and on the following afternoon he left the Government even without informing to the President.

It was Sirisena who proposed President's name to the SLFP Central Committee as the presidential candidate and he also handed over that proposal to the UPFA in writing.

He didn't have the gumption to tell the President that he was quitting the Government. Even Fonseka and TissaAttanayake had that confidence.

Here Sirisena followed a primitive methodology which is unsuitable to a politician. What would be the plight if the country's leadership goes to this kind of immature person?

We should also look at the statements made by him. At a recent election rally, he said that he will close all the gates of the Bandaranaike International Airport by 12 midnight of January 8, 2015.

On the following day, Sirisena at Champika Ranawaka's book launch said that he is not insane to make that kind of statement.

Denying a statement made the previous day shows that all other statements made by him should also be considered in the same manner.

Q: With what President Mahinda Rajapaksa has done for the country, could one entertain any misgivings about his victory?

A: In 2005, President Rajapaksa took over a country and an economy which had collapsed due to terrorist activity.

The President put an end to war against terrorism in four years. In the next five years, he took the country forward by successfully overcoming economic challenges.

The Opposition alleges that the country's debt burden has increased, but the Government has reduced the debt burden to 70 percent as a percentage of the GDP. During the tenure of Ranil Wickremesinghe ,this was 101 percent.

The economy was a minus growth during former President ChandrikaBandaranaike Kumaratunga's tenure.

At present, the GDP has increased and all our economic indicators are good.

As the Opposition divides the debt with the number of people, why can't they divide income with the number of people?

The Opposition through making such false analyses undermine the massive development that has taken place in the country.

We have completed only five years after the end of the war against terrorism. The President has developed the economy and taken the country forward from that decisive juncture.

Earlier a huge amount of money was spent on the war. Now the Government is making a huge investment on socio-economic development.

We should move forward with stability. The Government prevented the division of the North and the East.

Some elements attempt to get police and land power for the Northern Provincial Council and appoint their own Governor and pass legislation and drag the country towards the separatist trap once again.

There is no other leader such as President Mahinda Rajapaksa who can prevent such a threat and take the economy forward.

Only the incumbent President has that personality and the ability to do so. The incidents which have occured in this short time frame of the run-up to the presidential election campaign is enough proof that Maithripala Sirisena does not have any leadership quality and dances to the whims and fancies of various segments.

He has signed one MoU with the JHU and another onewith the UNP. He does not reveal the content of the MoU that he reached upon with the TNA.

All these moves would finally lead to destabilise the country. Actually the people don't need a change which will drag the country towards backwards.

They need a change to take the country forward by rectifying the existing errors. It is only President Rajapaksa who can successfully accomplish that task.

Q: There is media speculations that the TNA would also extend support to the NDF Candidate. In this context how would a party such as the JHU with a nationalistic outlook stand together with them?

A: The final week of the election campaign, the TNA will make a statement asking the people in the North to vote for the common candidate. Because they think when they make such a statement in the final week of the campaign, it would not cause any damage on Sinhala voters.

This is the consensus they have reached. On the other hand, they have agreed to remove the Northern Province Governor and withdraw the Security Forces from the North by fulfilling the request made by Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran.

This would open avenues for the LTTE to resume their terrorist activities in those areas. Today the JHU has also undertaken this contract.

A question has arisen as to whether the JHU over the past few years was a genuine national movement or not.

Can a national movement such as the JHU support this kind of vicious contract? The Common Candidate's claim to ensure good governance within 100 days would finally lead to creating an Eelam governance within100 days.

These are mega political deals. Otherwise, a political party cannot change in this manner and shift positions.

Q: How do you analyse the decision taken by UNP General Secretary to quit his party and join the Government?

A: If the incumbent Government is going to be toppled, no Opposition member would join the Government at this juncture.

If the impression created that the Government will collapse due to Maithripala Sirisena and a few others leaving the Government, nobody will cross over to the Government from the Opposition.

But the UNP General Secretary quit his party and joined the Government. There will be more crossovers from the Opposition to the Government.

At present, UNPers have come to the conclusion that no change will be made and this is Maithripala Sirisena's game to cater to the interest of former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga.

Tissa Attanayake took this decision as he understood the situation.

Q: The Opposition often questions as to what this 'foreign conspiracy' that is being hatched against the UPFA Government. Could you elaborate on this?

A: We have responded to this query on many occasions. If there is no need to destabilise this Government, resolutions are not brought against the Government by the US at the UNHRC in Geneva.

For this resolution to be moved to punish the President, their prerequisite is that President Rajapaksa should be defeated at the election. These are interconnected.

That international conspiracy is in operation now. Sirisena and his colleagues are the local agents of that international conspiracy.

Q: Could you explain what is this“political double dutch speak” of the JVP. Is it supporting the President or the Opposition Candidate?

A: The JVP is a party which makes self-criticism and agreed that it was a wrong decision to extended their support to President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Sarath Fonseka. They are not ready to directly support Sirisena, that is why they are talking in “political double dutch".

That is to vote anybody to defeat Mahinda Rajapaksa.

When the people ask them is it Sirisena who can defeat President? The answer that the JVP trots out is: The JVP wants to defeat President Rajapaksa but can't take the responsibility on the common opposition candidate.

Because they fear that he would be worse than all former leaders. If the JVP has confidence in Sirisena, they would not behave in this manner.

Q: Do you see the amendments to the Constitution as an urgent need at this particular juncture as claimed by some politicians and certain sections of society?

A: The country should go for a new Constitution by obtaining the views of the people.

The UPFA manifesto will also include necessary proposals for that.

When the proposals are submitted, we can commence extensive discussions on what changes should be made.


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