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Huge disparity in income distribution:

Vicious social system, root cause of problems - MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake

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 January 8.

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 party?

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 democracy.

To make the public service, Police and the judiciary independent to some extent, we hope the Government would set up independent commissions.

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 social transformation.

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 economic order.

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 businesses.

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 our country.

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 results.

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 scenario?

A: The executive presidency is only one reason but the contention that it is the root cause for all these socio-economic ills is wrong.

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 services.

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 these reforms.

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 constitutional amendment?

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 decomposed carcass.

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 today.

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 station.

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 national unity.

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 commission.

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 impartial manner.

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.

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