Members of Parliament (MP) have to serve 10 years to qualify for pension as opposed to five years at present. (2022 Budget speech)
Posted on November 23rd, 2021

Dr Sudath Gunasekara. Mahanuwara. 

While welcoming that policy decision of the Government who can say that this is not another election gundu to deceive the people aimed at the proposed Provincial Council Elections? If the Government was really honest and concerned about public good it should have abolished this joke as Canada had done it in 1995, without continuing an unwanted bonanza to trap politicians cunningly used as bait by party leaders, that blead the nation.

The Mike Harris government eliminated MPPs’ pension plans following the 1995 provincial election. Even it is allowed in exceptional cases like in Canada a pension to a politician should be paid only after 65 years when they are disabled to earn a living.

Why pay pensions to politicians at all who volunteer and swear to serve the people at elections and rob and destroy the entire nation

The Government in its Budget speech has proposed that MPP will be eligible for a pension only after completing 10 years continuous service”

My question is why pay a pension at all to any politician in this country Because paying a pension to any politician is contrary to all basic principles related to the principle of paying pensions accepted all over the world. Because the origin of the idea of paying a pension has begun in the world first for people over 70 years in old age for the continuous service, they have rendered to the nation who are disabled to make their living, as a mark of gratitude for the devoted service they have rendered to the nation or the company for life.

The man behind the initiative called The Old Age and Disability Bill” was Otto von Bismarck.  of the German Empire. Germany was thus the first European country to establish a fully-fledged pensions system for workers aged 70 or more. The limit was lowered to 65 in 1916.June.

In 1875, The American Express Co. created the first private pension plan in the U.S. for the elderly and workers with disabilities. Early pension benefits were designed to pay out a relatively low percentage of the employee’s pay at retirement and were not designed to replace the employee’s full final income.

In this country it was started by the colonial Government to make a payment in their old age for the dedicated service they had rendered to the Empire. Subsequently it was extended to retired public servant who had completed 35 years of satisfactory service in the public service. As such there was full justification for a man or a woman who has devoted his or her service to the nation in her or his whole life while debarring any other job while one is in engaged in public service as his or her only income for living comes to an end the day he/she retires. But it should be noted that to get that benefit they had also to contribute a certain percentage monthly from their salary for which the Government contributed a certain percentage. Therefore, in fact they are paid from a reserve fund maintained by the Government out of funds they have contributed throughout their service. What is more is they have to complete 35 years of service to get qualified to get that pension. When someone retires prematurely the pension is freeze until he reaches the age of 55. This clearly shows that there is a very sound rationale for paying a pension to a retired public servant and it is fully justified both rationally and ethically.

 Now let us examine the rationale of paying a pension to a politician in this country. Paying pensions to politicians in this country was started in 1977 by the JR Jayawardhana Government. Curiously it was the first legal enactment of the so-called Democratic Socialist Government of JR. passed by Act No 1 of his government as if it was the most burning public issue his government had to solve. Doesn’t this show the degree of concern and commitment our politicians have towards the welfare of the people who elevate them to high position by electing them with a 5/6th majority in 1977 hoping to get a better deal than from the previous Government of Mrs Bandaranayaka. What is more hilarious and despicable is this piece of legislation marked the turning point in Sri Lankan political culture where the interests of the politicians overtook that of the subjects in a country that inherited a rich legacy of public goo enshrined in the concept of the Buddhist teaching Bahujana hitaaya Bahujana sukhaaya” (for the good of the many and for their happiness at large) for 2500 years.

What is even more despicable is that it was awarded to all politicians who complete 5 years service” irrespective of whether they served the people or not. The funniest part of it was the payment of that pension to his /her spouse after the death of the MP. Further his family will get another pension if his or her son or daughter had been appointed as the Private Secretary a tradition that had come to stay as a political privilege. Payment of pensions under this scheme was made with retrospective effect and it was payable even to politicians who served in the State Council if they were living with arrears.

Only one man refused to accept this blood money in the history of Parliament. He returned it to Speaker. The man mentioned here was my good friend M.S. Themis the 3rd MP for Colombo Central in 1956.He was the first person and perhaps the only man to return it. I know it for certain as I was the one who prepared the covering letter to the Speaker.  

This piece of legislation was also a complete violation   of the Pension minute which nobody dared to challenge or even question up to date either in a court of law or Parliament that is said to be the Supreme lawmaking body in the country. Isn’t it interesting to note how our Law makers make laws and for whose benefit they make them in this so-called supreme legislature of the country expected to make laws for good governance for the good of the people and the good of the country at large?

JR did not stop at that. He did everything to enhance the fabulous benefit package to MPP with immediate effect. He dramatically increased salaries, increase payments for attending Parliament, official vehicles with duty free vehicle permits were also provided, which they could sell in the open market and make a fabulous fortune. Official quarters in Colombo were also given where as they had to be in Colombo only for 8 days a month. Unlimited job permits for MPP to give employment for their party supporters only, monopoly of tavern license, business permits and government contracts, LRC land nationalized by Mrs B for a song and government Import permits.  The sky was the limit to such privileges. Here I stop the list for brevity and lack of space. All this was done to buy over the MPP to maintain the majority in Parliament to embellish and consolidate his dictatorial position as the Executive President which perhaps he thought is a lifetime job, but unfortunately not.

 The same corrupt and highway robbery situation still continues in incremental scale without being openly questioned or challenged by anyone in the ‘People’s Parliament. So much so today the whole system of governance in this country has become a veritable national liability.

 JR also increased the number of MPP in Parliament from 196 to 225 by introducing a thing called a National list to provide a place in Parliament for their kith and kin and family friends as backdoor MPP bypassing the elections and thus making Representative Parliament a ”Non-representative thereby making representative democracy a big fast and a hilarious joke. Instead of reducing it to 165 the previous number that would have save billions for national development and reduced IMF and other foreign loans thereby reducing the annual budget deficits and avoiding bankruptcy.

On the top of this JR also signed an Agreement with Rajiv Ghandi completely handing over the North and East comprising 1/3 of the land of the country and 2/3rd of the coastal belt together with the maritime territory adjacent to it as the Traditional Historical Homeland of the Tamil people completely forgetting the fact that the only Traditional Historical Homeland of Tamil people on earth exists only in Tamilnadu South India. (See Rajiv /JR Indo Lanka Accord of 29th July 1987 for a full list of JR’S betrayal ) Thereby he committed an unpardonable criminal offence against the Sinhala Buddhist nation by selling 1/3 of the homeland of the Sinhala nation that had been their motherland from the inception of known human history and also thereby making the way for annihilating the Sinhala nation and the Mother  land of the Sinhala nation as he had once predicted in his public speeches where he said the Sinhala nation will be extinct  in another 25 years.  

What was even more traitorous was the Agreement to establish 9 Provincial Councils co-terminus with the British made Provinces to divide the country in to nine independent governing units making the way for the establishment of Future EELAM -the dream land of Prabhaharan to erase the 2500 year old Sinhala Kingdom from the surface of this earth.

Each of these Provinces to be governed by a Governor, a board of 5 Ministers headed by a Chief Minister and an army of Provincial councilors  of about 700 low grade politicians supported by a some 14,000 Pradesiya Sabha (double the number that was there before. Politically this system lead to quasi-Federal status leading to a Federal state to begin with, with (1) a Tamilnadu comprising the North, East, Central, Sabaragamuwa and Uva only for Tamils, amalgamated under the provisions in the Rajiv/JR Accord  for amalgamation  2 or more Provinces comprising 2/3 of the area of the Island, a mono Tamil state and the balance 1/3 for a multi racial community including Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and all others, leading to a virtual pickle and an eternal battle ground of ethnic, religious and social crises that will finally lead to the extinction of the  2500 year old Sinhala Buddhist civilization from the surface of this earth.

What is more depressing is already this provincial council system has wasted trillions (Koti- Prakoti) of public funds for the upkeep  of new political creations for no benefit to the country but benefiting only the politicians, from 1987 to date . It has been said that 85% of national tax collection is spent for the upkeep of politicians and so-called public officials in this country leaving only 15 % left for all other work concerning the country and 21millions citizens. I do not propose to say a word about the lawlessness, corruption and international debts to the tune of 56 billion US $ as at present dragging the country to the bottom of abject poverty and bankruptcy converting this once proud nation and second richest country in South East Asia second only to Japan by 1948 but now to a nation with a begging bowl going round the world and have already taken loans even from Bangladesh and Maldives the latest.

This is the pathetic situation in to which this proud and rich nation which gave Sterling loans even to the British Empire in early 1950s has been put by our politicians who are supposed to have ruled this Island nation from 1948 up to date.

And mind you it is to this kind of politicians who have robbed the nation hook, line and sinker and also those who continue to do the same game and jointly responsible for making this country a debt ridden and begging country this peracetic and good for nothing governments continue to give a fat pension extracting from the beggar’s bowl

In this back drop as for me, I strongly oppose a single scent been given to any politician as a pension. In addition, I also suggest that all extraordinary benefits like palatial official mansions and all other benefits like official vehicles, security and other benefits be withdrawn forthwith before the masses march in thousands and forcibly take over all these public assets as a protest against what they have done to this country and the Sinhala nation over the past 73 years.

 This includes all politicians including the ex-Presidents and their rich widows. However, I am not against for paying a pension to an honest politician like C W.W Kannangara who has devoted his entire life for the service to the people and the country and who had done an indelible and memorable service to the nation, after passing a resolution in Parliament to that effect. That will definitely prevent self- seeking wealth mongering people doing politics and limit it to men and women of outstanding character, dignity and commitment to the service of people.

Finally I propose first, the immediate abolition of the pension scheme to all politicians and second, appointment of a powerful Presidential or a public Commission to enquire in to the illicit and illegitimate earnings of all politicians at all levels starting from 1977 up to date and confiscate all illicitly earned assets proved, both at home and abroad such as Pandora assets and credit all that wealth to the General Treasury Account so that people will get back all their wealth robbed by politicians at least from 1977 onwards so that all those who aspire to be politicians in future in this country will begin with a new political vision opening the doors to a new political culture setting a Sri Lankan model for the entire world and once again restore the ancient glory of this Island nation.

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