Importing luxury vehicles for MPs
Posted on June 12th, 2021

S.AKURUGODA

As per the main news item that appeared in The Island dated 9/06/2021 under the title ‘Covid time bonanza: Luxury SUVs for MPs coming, after all!’, the government was not in a position to cancel the order placed for the import of luxury vehicles for the 225 MPs as the opening of Letters of Credit meant guaranteed payment and Letters of Credit had been opened through a State Banks, Sri Lanka faced the prospect of being blacklisted if a unilateral decision was taken on the matter.

The above reveals expressed by the Media Minister and co-Cabinet spokesperson Keheliya Rambukwella is in contrary to what we learned earlier after reading a statement issued from The Prime Minister’s Office in the last week of May which stated that the previous cabinet paper for the import of 399 vehicles at a cost of Rs 3.7bn had been withdrawn as the financial situation was not conducive to import vehicles. It is also in contrary to the SLPP’s 2019 presidential election manifesto which assured that vehicles wouldn’t be imported for members of parliament for a period of three years.

It is interesting to note how the current opposition politicians who were barking at every and each move made by the government, since its inception, have gone dumb and deaf when the government move on vehicles made at a time the country was struggling to cope with Covid-19 fallout.

It is hard to believe that a single MP, including new MPs, in the current Parliament does not possess his/her own vehicles.  Unlike during 1950s, it is also hard to believe that any one of the current MPs uses public transport or hire vehicles to attend parliamentary sessions or any of their activities. We remember how the government Ministers like D.S. Gunasekera , W. Dahanayake etc who were MPs in the 1956-1960 Parliament used public transport when attending Parliamentary sessions. We also remember, around 1959, how Minister Gunasekera was fined by the railway ticket checkers for his failure to show his railway pass issued for MPs.

On the other hand, as per media reports, the Government, including the Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi, has requested affluent locals, INGOs, local NGOs and Sri Lankan living in foreign countries to donate their allocated funds for the remaining quarters of the year for the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic which has surged to critical proportions in recent weeks.

While our politicians are attempting to import luxury vehicles costing billions of Rupees at this crucial stage, New Zealand’s Parliamentarians, including PM, ministers and public service chief executives made an example to the entire world by making a commitment to take a 20% pay cut lasting six months to show solidarity with those affected by the corona virus outbreak.

What the government should do at this stage, if the withdrawal of the said cabinet paper is not preventing the import of luxury vehicle for MPS and the Prime Minister’s office is really keen in avoiding the waste of money, is to auction the vehicles soon after arrival (or if already arrived) and use proceeds to counter the epidemic, as the death toll continues to rise.

S.AKURUGODA

2 Responses to “Importing luxury vehicles for MPs”

  1. Ratanapala Says:

    This is a clear indication that all Sri Lankan Political Party Leaders resort to bribing MPs to maintain power. What is most laughable is there is not a hum from the Opposition regarding the importation of luxury vehicles. Looks like this is one occassion they all agree with the party in power. All political leaders whether in government or in the opposition are not ready to ‘bell this cat’ for it is rather inimical to their slimy existence.Only those oppose the move are those not in the parliament!

    The perks given to parliamentarians are not worth the jobs they do. Especially at a time like the Covid-19 pandemic, it ts the politicians who should show their leadership by example how to ‘tighten their belts’ to bide over the difficult times.

    It is time that the people took collective affirmative action to show their displeasure for this move. As the writer suggests now that the LCs have been opened, it is best to auction these vehicles and the proceeds given to the Covid-19 funds, while the parliamentarians take a salary cut – for they are not doing any extra work during the pandemic, unlike the health workers and the members of the tri forces.

  2. Nimal Says:

    This why I maintain that we have a balu history and a balu culture.This kind of greed of politicians are common among the people as well but the innocent hardworking taxpayers have no choice but to pay for it.During ancient history, rulers of all countries only cared for them selves and the people close to them and the majority never mattered. Civilized values were first inculcated to many countries by the colonials.
    It was the radicals in the Oxford union like institutions that bred the radicals who first brought the divide and rule stories and a few days ago a similar group started their nonsense at Oxford union. They never have a realistic solution to the real problems of the people in the suffering countries. They are blind to corruption in the third world and G7 is another farce that ended today and they never proposed a plan to end poverty and corruption in the third world. But there are others who are watching and will urge authorities to take action.
    GSOL must tighten the button and spend what is there to support the businesses on lockdown and vaccinate EVERY ONE.

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