The best for rejects: Rejects for the best
Posted on October 13th, 2017

Editorial Courtesy The Island

We thought Parliament was the only place where rejects were accommodated. We thought wrong. True, quite a few candidates, mostly from the UPFA, rejected by people at the last general election (2015), were brought in as National List MPs. It was a slap on the Sri Lankan voter across the face. Adding insult to injury, the yahapalana government elevated those rejects to Cabinet ranks. But, now, we are told that rejects from Parliament have been donated to the Dalada Maligawa! No, we don’t mean the political rejects in the garb of ministers.

It has been reported that a camera system, removed from Parliament for the installation of a new one, has been donated to the Dalada Maligawa. Meritorious as this act may seem on the face of it, the question is why the equipment found unfit to be used any longer in Parliament was considered fit enough to be gifted to the holiest Buddhist shrine in the country. The government may claim that the equipment is still in good condition. If so, why on earth has it been replaced?

Let it be repeated that anything considered unfit to be used in Parliament shouldn’t be donated to holy shrines, Buddhist or otherwise. Why couldn’t the government gift new equipment to the Maligawa? It cannot cite pecuniary difficulties as the reason. It is notorious for its profligacy. It has so far spent about two billion rupees on super luxury vehicles for ministers since 2015 and pays millions of rupees a month for a building as rent without using it.

Supplementary estimates, seeking funds to feather the nests of the ruling party potentates, are submitted to Parliament even in times of disasters. The Salawa township was still burning in the aftermath of the blast of the army’s central armoury when a supplementary estimate for ministerial vehicles was submitted. Another one was presented immediately after the Meethotamulla garbage dump tragedy. This is something to be expected when those who should be relegated to waste dumps are elected as lawmakers. Colossal sums of money, allocated for refurbishing the official residences of government leaders, from time to time, make one wonder whether they are living in palaces.

There have been nearly 50% and 41% increases in funds allocated for the President and the Prime Minister respectively from Budget 2018, according to the Appropriation Bill presented to Parliament recently. True, the previous regime indulged in criminal waste of public funds, but the present-day leaders, came to power, promising to cut down on their expenses and utilise the funds so saved for the benefit of the public.

Government leaders often visit foreign shrines, of course, at the expense of the Sri Lankan taxpayers. It looks as though the local deities were not good enough for them. One of the aging ministers recently went to the extent of tonsuring himself to redeem a vow at a foreign temple and made a spectacle of himself in Parliament, wearing a jet-black wig. Do these politicians offer used items to their favourite foreign shrines as well?

If ministers are made to continue to use their super luxury cars which are in excellent condition, for a few more years, instead of asking for new ones, the government will be able to save enough funds to donate cameras to main shrines belonging to all religions. There is no way it can justify purchasing new vehicles for ministers including the political rejects among them and donating second-hand cameras to the most venerated Buddhist shrine.

The government ought to learn from the poor people including the Veddhas how to make offerings to Sri Dalada Maligawa in the proper manner. They don’t consume the rice and honey they harvest without first offering part thereof to the sacred temple. They come all the way from their villages, covering long distances, to Kandy, for that purpose. Why can’t the self-righteous politicians emulate them?

One Response to “The best for rejects: Rejects for the best”

  1. NAK Says:

    No comment!
    (kiyanna wachana nehe)

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