SLMC DECIDED. Ranil tells Rauf not to support.
Posted on August 28th, 2010

By Noor Nizam, Sri Lankan Peace Activist & Political Communication Researcher, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada,

 Friday 27th., August 2010.The leader of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) Rauff Hakeem said on August 27th., Friday evening that they have decided to support the UPFA government to make the necessary amendments to the existing constitution. When asked whether SLMC is ready to extend their unconditional support to the present government by becoming a partner of the UPFA Govt., he said that has to be discussed deeply within the party before making any comment. The party hierarchy was summoned to the party head quarters at “Darusalam” to discuss the decision.

 The answer –  support the government and HE.Mahinda Rajapaksa.

 But it has also been reported through reliable press sources that Hon. Ranil Wickremasinghe, Leader of the opposition has advised Hon. Rauf Hakeem when the SLMC leader indicated his willingness to support the government when he met Ranil to inform of the SLMC stand. The treachery of the UNP and it’s leader Hon. Ranil Wickremasinghe to deprive the Muslims, specially of the North and East from benefiting from working with the present government of HE. Mahinda Rajapaksa is a naked action that the Muslims should never forgive this selfish politician and completely distance ourselves from him in all our political activitiesd in the future. This has been the driving for since the Eastern Provincial Council elections by some of the party stalwarts from the East, but was not heeded by the leader. Rauf Kakeems decision to support HE. Mahinda Rajapaksa on Constitutional reforms on an invitation extended by the President, draws a curtain between the UNP and the SLMC and turns a new chapter of hope for the Muslim Polity in Sri Lanka.

 Did Hon. Rauf Hakeem listen to the grass root “poraaligals and pamaramakal” call from the electorates of the Eastern Provinces or was his conscious guilty of his disobedience to the vision of his late leader Hon. M.H.M. Ashraff who stood for the continuity of the Executive Presidency because an Executive President had to have all the communities to govern since his success of any  presidential Election more depended considerably on the support of the minorities. Ashraff was also of opinion that the balance of power in the parliament on crucial voting was indeed in the hands of the minority group representative.

 Sources of the Government state, the President is planning to present the the first draft of the new constitutional reforms the draft will be submitted to the Cabinet of Ministers on August 30.. Hence, the ministers and the MPs of the government have been told not to leave the country until the September 15. 

 The proposed amendments to the constitution are to be presented to the parliament as an urgent bill, which includes the clauses to increase the number of times a person could hold the office as the President of Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, together with the appointment of independent commissions, and strengthening powers devolved to the Provincial Councils under the 13 Amendment. The President wishes to contest the next presidential elections too, but that need a constitution change by a 2/3 majority in Parliament. This is what the President will get to make it happen, and the SLMC will be proud to have given those votes to keep the fire of political vision of the late leader of the SLMC, Marhoom M.H.M. Ashraff  who stood for the continuity of the Executive Presidency.

 Even Hon. Rauf Hakeem has been an ardent supporter and strong believer in the political ideology and the constitutionally formulated Executive Office of President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka “”…” Chapter V11 Section (30.1) and (30.2) of the 1978. It has been recorded in many documents, media reports, lectures and foreign presentation made by Hon. Rauf Hakeem to this fact.

Hon. Rauf Hakeem started to deviate from this stand since he publicly made a joint statement with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) in ) October 2009 that the office of the Executive Presidency should be abolished. This change was to support presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka whose campaign was to change the Executive Presidency system.

In August 2009, Hon. Hassenali, General Secretary of the party, a very senior and respected Eastern Province matured SLMC stalwart and PILLAR of the party who holds a very senior and highly responsible officially elected position within the SLMC stated this to the Muslim Guardian:

 “The SLMC, which had always advocated for the Executive Presidency, is of the view that it should not be abolished. “We don’t have a “ƒ”¹…”hard and fast rule’ with regard to joining the United Peoples Freedom Alliance government, and in such an event, we could consider joining on policy basis. However, grievances of Sri Lanka’s Muslims have not been addressed at all,” he said. This politician from the Eastern Province added that his party never stood for the division of the country, but aspired for a viable power-sharing arrangement”.

He further stated:

“We never ever want the country to be divided, but there should be an acceptable power-sharing mechanism, even in predominantly Muslim areas. Only such an arrangement will fulfill the aspirations of the Muslims. Only the government can give us an assurance that our aspirations too, would be fulfilled.”

Responding to the question, as what grievances the Muslims are faced with, this “”…”

The SLMC party official said that there were many problems unresolved in the EP.

“We have many grievances, especially in the East. If you take the land issue, over 600,000 acres of land in the EP, which earlier belonged to Muslims, have been illegally taken over. In the Northern Province, the entire Muslim population of more than 100,000 was expelled by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE) in 1990. Those expelled are still languishing in camps for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and in temporary houses in the Puttalam district, for the last 20 years. They have lost everything they had, and should receive adequate compensation. We have got everything on record in detail. As such, they should be resettled immediately and paid sufficient compensation.”

 The issue for HE. Mahinda Rajapaksa is to commit an honest undertaking and a “REASONABLE” resolution to the above issues of the Muslims as Sri Lankans to win their votes.  Without the SLMC asking for Cabinet position or deputy ministry slots or like Hon. Ranil asking for a brand new Rs. 50 Million government vehicle, the SLMC should begin immediate and serious discussions with HE. Mahinda Rajapaksa to move forward with faith and trust to resolve the land issues of the Muslims prevailing in the North and East. The King Asoka attitude of governance that the President has been practicing since Presidential election victory January 2010, is an assured guarantee that the President will listen to the SLMC this time and may consider finding solutions to the grievances of the Muslims and provide redress, under Presidential power in his second term of governance.

Moreover, the simple fact remains that, both HE. Mahinda Rajapaksa and UPFA cannot deny the truth that they have wholeheartedly acknowledged the fact that the Muslims are a force to reckon in the Eastern Province . They have also realized that, that “this force” is represented by the SLMC, be it any of the “so-called” Muslim groups or parties that were represented by dissident SLMC MP’s, who were Ministers/Deputy Ministers in the last UPFA government or SLMC break-away groups or Muslim civil society organizations or mosque trustee groups in the East, before the last presidential elections and the recent general elections. The main vote bank that has been split and shared by the “ƒ”¹…”so-called” selfish Muslim politicians and individuals are actually the vote bank of the SLMC that remains intact in the North Eastern and Eastern Provinces since the advent of the SLMC on September 11th., 1981 when the SLMC was established at Kathankudy in the Batticaloa district under the Chairmanship of Marhoom A. L. Ahmed and when Marhoom M H M Ashraff was elected its Founder President. This Party was formed by a small group of Eastern province political leaders. In November 1986 the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress – SLMC was formally inaugurated as a political party at the “badsha” festival held in Colombo with the late Ashraff, as its Leader, a National Muslim Brokerage Party that has grown from a small group of Eastern political activists to what it is today. After the demise of M.H.M.Ashraff, the leadership of the SLMC was destined to Hon. Rauf Hakeem, after a bitter internal struggle for power within the SLMC. Former Minister of Housing Ferial Ashraff was the other contender to the leadership.

The call by the president was timely and the SLMC that was in the wilderness has been given the best opportunity to stretch itself out from the political mesmerisation of the UNP and come out to be a partner of progress in the Mahinda Chinthanaya, Idiri Dakma governance of Sri Lanka, our Maathruboomiya.

The Sri Lankan Muslims have been throughout history a passive and peace loving community. Respect of the Rule-of-Law, belief in the democratic institutions and their functions and the judiciary have been their way of life, while national feelings have been at the highest level when the integrity of the nation and the sovereignty of the State has been challenged. As a community with a heritage in trade and commerce during the 18th., and 19th., century, today the Muslims of Sri Lankan have branched into many competitive professions to serve the cause of the Nation fully and with dedication and commitment. The biggest foreign exchange earner to the country are the Muslim women working as housemaids in the Middle East and the expatriate Muslim sons who toil in the middle east, not the garment exports or the tea trade that Sri Lankan can anymore boast of. What we lack to prove these arguments are statistical information and economical research studies that are the instruments of supporting evidence needed professionally in the modern world of commerce, trade and economics. This should be a challenge to the Muslim Peace Secretariat to take a look at if within their mandate.

Whatever false may be written about the Muslims in the East, the Muslims have always condoned violence and will never be influenced to take to arms as a way of struggle to win their legitimate fundamental rights. It is this tradition and culture of PEACE that has given the opportunity to the Muslim brokerage party “”…” the SLMC to thrive even in non-Muslim areas like the Sabaragamuwa, North Central, Central and the Southern Provinces where there are large numbers of Muslims living scattered in harmony with the Sinhalese community.

Contradictory to the JVP “”…” Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (the militant armed group of the Sinhalese, now turned democratic), PFLT – Peoples Front of Liberation Tigers ( the political party of the LTTE) and the TVMP “”…” Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (the political party of the breakaway armed/paramilitary group of the LTTE in the East), the Muslims and the SLMC is pure and clear in it’s political struggle and campaign of abstaining from practicing “arms culture” like the above mentioned Sinhalese and Tamil political representations. Yet, the cry of the Sri Lankan Muslims to be treated equal and to be respected as equal citizens as guaranteed under the constitution, has been a cry in the wilderness of democracy and good governance.

Hon. Rauf Hakeem will support the government unconditionally, but let it be said that it is indeed the voice of the SLMC grass root level supporters, the “pamaramakkal” and the voice of the SLMC  “poraaligal”who were agitating for this day to come, since the failure of the SLMC Leader to join with the UPFA to contest the Eastern Provincial Council elections.

                                                                 About the writer:

The writer is a longstanding political and Peace activist who has been a Senior Party Member and district Organizer of the SLFP and later the SLMC in the Trincomalee District for many years, till recently as May 2000.He was a very close confidant of the late Hon. Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike. In 1971, he was awarded a Norwegian Agency for International Development, NORAD-Fellowship offered by the Norwegian Government. This Fellowship was offered through the Ministry of Public Administration of the Government of Sri Lanka. He pursued higher education in Norway from 1971 to 1977. After a successful public and private sector career, he is now domiciled in Canada. At present he is engaged with a leading Canadian University. The agenda for Peace in Sri Lanka and concerns of the Muslim Factor are his primary engagements. Being a Tamil speaking minority Muslim, he is also very much concerned of the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka. At the last Presidential Election campaign, Mr. Noor Nizam was a Co-Leader of the Muslim Propaganda Unit at Temple Trees, working under the guidance of Hon. Basil Rajapaksa, Campaign Manager. During the recent General Elections Mr. Noor Nizam spearhead the campaign to harness the Muslim votes in Hambantota district in support of Hon. Namal Rajapaksa and Hon. Chamal Rajapaksa.

One Response to “SLMC DECIDED. Ranil tells Rauf not to support.”

  1. M.S.MUdali Says:

    I ask this SLFP Muslim the following:

    What is the action taken against the people who had beaten a 17 years old girl and a mother of two months old child in a Mosque, Gokkarella, Kerunagala? Are you telling every Mosque in Sri Lanka is part of Pakistan or S/Arabia where SHARIA (a babaric code of Islamic justice) is followed.?

    When do the SL Muslims start JIHAD ? In Canada Muslims already started JIHAD and many arrested.

    Will you ask Alawi Moulana, SLFP Trade Unionist and Hisbollah, Deputy Minister of women Affairs to take action in the case of Ariyawathi, the house maid tortured and packed back to Sri Lanka with 24 nails in her body?

    Or will you maintain, according to Islam, KAFFIRS must obey Muslims and the MASTER has all the rights over the SLAVES?

    Dont try to tell that I misunderstand Sharia or Islam. Many Arabs( non-muslims) are in Canada and they know well about Sharia and Islam than any Sri lankan Muslim!

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