Most people in this country are certain to wholeheartedly endorse JVP MP K.D. Lalkantha`s appeal to the ministers of this Government to voluntarily relinquish their positions, enabling the development programmes of the Government to be carried out. We hope that there will at least be a few among the ministers who will heed this appeal and act accordingly.
This, indeed, is an opportunity offered to show the honesty and genuineness of these politicians, who have avowedly come forward to serve the country and the people. Some, of course, will offer the usual excuse that the power and authority of office is necessary to offer their services effectively. It must be conceded that there is some validity in this claim, because today the state of the administrative services is such that most of those in these services have to be pushed and pulled by political heads to get them to perform their duties efficiently.
Ironically, the reason for this deterioration in public service has been the years of politicization it was subjected to in recent times. Political supervision of administrative activity, though not bad?in fact, it is necessary in developing countries such as ours?became an intolerable bugbear in this country, when politicians` intervention and interference in administrative functions became a customary practice, for achieving their personal or party objectives.
So, if the administrative duties are left in the hands of those responsible for them, while the political authorities begin to do their main duty of spelling out policies and exercising judicious supervision on their activities, there will be little need for political heads to waste their time and energy on these matters. And the need for maintaining a huge galaxy of politicians, at great expense to the State, to ensure expeditious implementation of Government programmes, will not arise.
Moreover, the country`s urgent need today is for utilizing every cent to alleviate the people`s suffering and not, to provide perks and privileges to politicians and their supporters. The suffering that many sections of people undergo, for want of funds to attend to their bare needs, cannot be a secret to these privileged politicos, who hanker after expensive limousines and refurbished offices and apartments. The perks and privileges are liberally dispersed, whether a person is a Cabinet or non-Cabinet minister. According to MP Lalkantha, the non-Cabinet ministers lose only the plate of short-eats served at Cabinet meetings.
Apart from those in the Government parliamentary group, who have received their rewards for the good work they have done during the presidential election campaign, to ensure President Mahinda Rajapakse`s victory, there are many others who have been rewarded for assiduously campaigning for his victory. They have received positions as chairmen of State institutions, advisers, consultants and so on. Among these persons are those who have avowed during the election campaign that their sole concern is the good of the country and welfare of the people, and not for any personal gain. Some of them have already got their appointments, while others are waiting on the wings to receive them. These are the depths to which our political art and culture has descended.
We have yet to hear of any government politician, except that exemplary politician from the south, Dallas Allahapperuma, declining any position offered. On the contrary, some not only grab whatever offered, but ask for better ones. We are yet to hear about a politician choosing to go about in small vehicles, to work in small offices or to live in modest apartments. Their simplicity and purity in public life do not go beyond the confines of the white national dress they wear.
Even those who are vociferous about the ill-effects of the open economy which, they accuse of promoting conspicuous consumerism, are observed succumbing to the temptations of extravagance brought home by the open economy. What this conduct amply demonstrates is the rate at which the gap between the politicians` precept and practice keeps widening today.
Then, where does the solution lie? It lies in the adoption of stringent laws that impose restrictions in areas of administration, that are likely to be exploited by the authorities for political gain. These areas have to be correctly identified through a collective effort of all political parties, before the required laws are framed.