Huge disparity in income distribution:
Vicious social system, root cause of problems - MP Anura Kumara
JVP Leader MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that during the
Presidential Election campaign, President Maithripala Sirisena presented
some proposals to strengthen the country's democratic process.
The JVP Leader in an interview with the Sunday Observer said that
this democratic process was vital for the country and they will
intervene to strengthen this democratic process in 100 days.
We are not partners of the Cabinet and the Government, but will
contribute to translate the Government's program of strengthening
democracy into a reality.
He said that they were interested in constitutional and legal reform,
relief measures to the people and to bring to book those who have
committed fraud and malpractices. These are the main tasks which have to
be fulfilled in these 100 days.
It was the JVP which proposed to set up a National Executive Council
to supervise this task. Dissanayake said that even though the people
don't vote for the JVP, the vast majority favoured the JVP.
While voting for the UNP and the SLFP, people say the JVP should be
in Parliament and they appreciate our role.
Today most of the people have realised the JVP is the most
trustworthy, anti-corrupt and honest political movement which represents
the people's aspirations. Those who looked at us from afar were now
looking at us closely. We call upon the people to study us closely so
that they can understand our policies better.
Q: Has the strategy of not joining the Government and having
portfolios become successful? What is the aim of your party?
A: The former Rajapaksa regime pruned democratic institutions
and headed towards dictatorship. Under their destructive economic
policies, a huge debt burden was put on the people and the country was
turned into a concrete forest while economic benefits were enjoyed only
by a small coterie of henchmen while denying benefits to the masses.
Instead of promoting unity among the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslims,
avenues were opened for extremist forces to promote hatred among the
communities. This aggravated the national question.
Fraud, waste and corruption were rampant while the Rajapaksa regime
defended those engaged in fraud and corruption demolishing all
democratic institutions such as parliament, the judiciary, Cabinet and
even the Bribery and Corruption Commission. They also attempted to
isolate Sri Lanka internationally.
The JVP's first step was to defeat this corrupt family rule on
In a situation where the Rajapaksa regime had posed a threat to all
institutions and silenced the media, Police and the judiciary, the JVP
revealed all such vices committed by the Rajapaksa regime and their
small coterie and created a strong public opposition against them.
This led to even creating a division within the SLFP itself. Finally
we defeated the Rajapaksa regime.
During the Presidential Election campaign, President Maithripala
Sirisena presented some proposals to strengthen the country's democratic
process. This democratic process is vital for the country.
We will also intervene to strengthen this democratic process within
100 days. We are not partners of the Cabinet and the Government. But we
are making our contribution to make the Government's program of
strengthening democracy into a reality.
Q: Sometimes this Government may also follow a neo-liberal
economic policy. In such a scenario what would be the policy of your
A: At this moment, we don't consider the Government's long-
term economic plans and their strategies to solve the national problem.
Because we don't have high expectations.
We want to bring an amendment to the Constitution to abolish the
executive presidency which has become an impediment to our country and
To make the public service, Police and the judiciary independent to
some extent, we hope the Government would set up independent
The Right to Information Act should also be passed in Parliament to
ensure the rights of the media and the people to obtain information. In
addition to these constitutional and legal reforms, a code of ethics
should also be introduced to Parliamentarians while corrupt elements
should be brought before the law.
We expect a limited task to be fulfilled by this administration. We
don't expect anything beyond this. We believe it is time for a complete
The crisis in society cannot be sorted out by mere patchwork to the
Constitution or through interim budgets.
It is only a short- term solution. Our long- term strategy is to
create a massive political movement against the present political and
Q: Many intellectuals believe that it was the 1970 Sirimavo
Bandaranaike Government which created the precedent of providing
politicians the opportunity to access public funds which the Rajapaksa
Government later exploited to the full?
A: At present politics is a business in our country. Today
politics is the most profitable business venture.
When you look at the gem mining areas in the country, most of the
mine owners are politicians while drug peddling and ganja cultivation
are also done by politicians. Likewise owners of quarries, liquor shops,
casinos, distilleries and hotels are also politicians.
Politics has turned into a business which can earn huge amounts of
money. Political power grabs the ownership of all legal and illegal
Late Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike opened avenues to use state
funds and the open economy introduced by late President J.R.Jayewardena
may have led to this situation. But today politics is a business.
The need of the hour is to create a massive transformation in our
political structure to turn politics into a public service.
Most politicians when they meet in the parliament lobby discuss their
businesses. When a politician gets a portfolio, he somehow attempts to
earn money exploiting his position.
Without changing the prevailing nature of politics which has turned
into a business today , we don't believe fraud, waste and corruption can
be eliminated from our society or good governance could be restored in
It would be preferable if we can introduce some legal and
constitutional reforms during the 100 days to prevent these wrongdoings.
Q: Will your party contest separately at the General Election
or join hands with any political party?
A: Even though the people don't vote for the JVP , the vast
majority favours the JVP. While voting for the UNP and the SLFP, the
people say the JVP should be in Parliament and they appreciate our role.
Today most of the people have realised the JVP is the most
trustworthy, anti-corrupt, and honest political movement which
represents people's aspirations. Those who looked at us from afar are
now looking at us closely.
We call upon the people to study us closely so that they can
understand our policies better. The people should understand which
political movement in the country has the skill to rebuild the country.
I think the people's confidence in the JVP is increasing rapidly. We
call upon the people to vote for us if they sincerely believe that we
should be in Parliament in the larger interest of the country.
We have commenced discussions to explore the possibility of creating
a powerful third force at the next election. If it fails the JVP will
contest alone for the election.
Q: For the first time a JVP Leader has been appointed to the
National Executive Council to advise the Cabinet. Do you think your
credibility and your party led to this?
A: The Cabinet cannot do everything within these 100 days.
Neither is it sufficient for the Education Minister or Agriculture
Minister or Construction Minister to launch any program and evaluate its
Our primary proposal was to appoint a small caretaker Cabinet for
these 100 days. It is obvious that there are some MPs who cannot wait
even for 100 days.
We are not responsible for all what the Government does. What we are
interested in are constitutional and legal reforms, relief measures to
the people and to bring those guilty of fraud and malpractices to book.
This is the main task which has to be fulfilled within these 100
days. It was we who proposed to set up a National Executive Council to
supervise this task.
President Maitri Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasingha
agreed to set up this council. We believe the Council would bring in
constitutional and legal amendments to Parliament and get them passed as
soon as possible.
There is very limited scope to be covered within the 100 days. We are
representing the National Executive Council to ensure that this is done.
Q: Most of the people are of the view that the executive
presidency with its unlimited power is the root cause for all
socio-economic and other national catastrophes. How do you look at this
A: The executive presidency is only one reason but the
contention that it is the root cause for all these socio-economic ills
The true issue is the existence of this socio-economic structure.
What kind of society is this? Nearly 55.1 percent of the country's
national wealth is enjoyed by 20 percent of those who are in the upper
segment of the society.
Twenty percent of those who are at the bottom get only 3.6 percent of
the national wealth.
There is a huge disparity in the distribution of income among the
people. Instead of expanding production, our economy is based on
Education, health and the law have been formulated to cater to the
interests of a particular class. This vicious social system is the root
cause for all these crises.
There is a need to change this social structure and the JVP appears
for that. But we the people need not tolerate everything until this
social system is changed.
There are some social reforms to be achieved before we reach this
final goal. We see the abolition of the Executive Presidency as one of
The Executive Presidency has complicated our political system with
its unlimited powers.
The abolition of the Executive Presidency would help strengthen the
country's democracy to some extent. If somebody thinks, the abolition of
Executive Presidency is a panacea for all our ills, it is misleading.
Because the executive presidency is just only one factor.
Q: It is not a secret even the intellectuals raised their
hands in favour of the 18th Amendment introduced by the Rajapaksa
Government which became controversial. What led these so called
intellectuals to extend their support to this kind of anti-democratic
A: Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa ruled the country with a
supine Cabinet. His Cabinet consisted of unscrupulous elements.
You may remember those who kowtowed and knelt down before former
President when he was at the zenith of power, today treat him as a
Mervyn Silva who praised the Rajapaksa 's to the hilt, betrayed him
by complaining against him to the CID.
When the SLFP General Secretary contested as the Common Opposition
Presidential Candidate, he was shown as a puppet and imperialist lackey.
After he became victorious, the same people who vehemently criticised
him are praising him today as their General Secretary and the President.
When you scan the recent political developments over the past three
weeks, you will realise the kind of Cabinet and Parliament that prevails
Ministers and politicians were mere effigies whose conscience was
destroyed and their hopes and aspirations were deprived .
We were also in the Cabinet of former President Chandrika
Bandaranaike Kumaratunga. She had a pet poodle. It precedes the
President. Then everybody knows the President is coming.
We saw how Ministers treated that dog. In Sri Lanka, Governments or
Cabinets are formed for the well -being of political families and a
small coterie surrounding them. They not only raised their hands in
support of the 18th Amendment but also voted for the removal of then
Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake and passed the Casino bills.
Therefore, all such politicians were of base demeanour who indulged in
anything sordid for the sake of power. You need not be a politician even
a peasant has some dignity about his profession and conscience. But
these Ministers and MPs don't have any of that. They are a group of
empty people who have broken their spine for power.
Under these circumstances, if somebody has a PhD or doctorate, these
qualifications are of no consequence. That is why they raised their
hands for the 18th Amendment. If the 18th Amendment was presented a to
100 times by the former President, definitely these people would have
supported it over ad over again.. These are the people who are
representing the people in parliament.
Q:Unlike in the past, many in the minority voted in an
unprecedented manner for President Maithripala Sirisena at the
Presidential Election . This can be described as an ideal opportunity
for reconciliation. What is your view regarding this? What led to this
new direction in the Tamil and Muslim voting pattern?
A: The war ended in our country on May 19, 2009. The country
was territorially integrated after the war ended. But a country does not
remain united territorially alone. The country's unitary state and
stability will only prevail if equal rights are guaranteed to all
communities and national unity is built.
The Rajapaksa regime could not build national unity. Their entire
process and the election campaign was based on racism. Even after his
electoral defeat, he is whispering racist slogans.
This Presidential Election was held to elect the national leader. In
most of the previous Presidential Elections, a Tamil candidate was also
fielded. Otherwise the people in the North wouldn't go to the polling
For example, the voter turnout in the Kilinochchi district in the
2010 election was 14 percent. In the 1994 Presidential Election, then
President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga received only 16,000 votes
from Jaffna and 18,000 votes from the Vanni.
Because Tamil racist movements had created an ideology among the
Tamil people that the election of the President was not a duty entrusted
upon them and that it was an issue confined to the people in the South.
Their intention was to create a separate Government in their
province. But for the first time, the Tamil people have contributed to
elect the country's national leader which is a positive development for
The Maithri administration and all political parties have a huge
responsibility to realise the hopes and aspirations of the forces who
rallied round them without distancing ourselves once again.
We should get to the next step of building national unity. The
challenge before the Government is to guide the communities which
rallied round them to build national harmony by accepting their rights.
This Presidential Election has given a strong signal to build
national harmony in the country.
However, the former President saw it as Eelam. Because whether it be
victory or defeat he gets angry and practices hatred.
Q: Generally decisions made by the UNHRC cannot be considered
fair and impartial because of its silence over US and British
intervention in Iraq and Libya which was not justified. How do you look
at the allegations levelled against Sri Lanka by the UNHRC?
A: The UNHRC has been formed to cater to the political
interests of imperialists. But we accept the requirement of such a
In a world which has been connected with communication, technology
and trade, there is a tendency to create conflicts and confrontation.
There should be an organisation which can oversee these issues in an
The world needs an organisation such as the UN.
At present its functions have been subjected to US dominated Western
agenda. We have a criticism regarding that. With regard to the Sri
Lankan issue, it was the Rajapaksa regime which systematically dragged
this issue to the UNHRC.
It is a task entrusted upon the incumbent Government to get rid of
this issue. We have a clear political stance. Our country is an
independent and sovereign state. When our political and economic
decisions are taken, we should not be pressurised by any other country.
We should deal with every country with mutual understanding by
safeguarding our sovereignty.