Pension for Politicians in this country? For what service they have done to the nation
Posted on December 10th, 2021

Dr Sudath Gunasekara. Mahanuwara.

Pension for Politicians in this country? For what service they have done to the nation for the past 73 years after 1948 (with the rare exception of 12 isolated cases) * Or for what they are repeatedly doing even at present to this Paradise on earth, once hailed as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean and the Granary of the East? Or is it for making it second only to Afghanistan in the global poverty index and reducing it to a country that is going round the world with a begging bowl on head?

Members of Parliament (MP) have to serve 10 years hereafter to qualify for pension as opposed to five years at present. ( A news item: 2022 Budget speech)

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 what it should do is to abolished immediately, this time bomb and the fatal noose imposed by India to divide and destroy this land of the Sinhala nation, particularly in view of the present hard times the country is going through at the moment, as Canada had done it in 1995, without robbing the nation any more without continuing it as a  bonanza to trap politicians cunningly used as a bait by party leaders, that bleed 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 in recognition of his /her distinguished service to the nation 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 on the contrary rob and destroy the entire nation after they come to power. It is to hoodwink

The Government in its Budget speech has proposed that MPP will be eligible for a pension only after completing 10 years continuous service” This too in my view is not warranted and justified at all, particularly in this country where they come to politics for unusual power and amaze wealth and rob public assets and moneys in unproper ways. They don’t even declare their assets before nomination or even after deliberately to make room to justify their illegal earnings if someone questions their assets afterwards. What is more ludicrous is their claim for a pension also in spite of the enormous financial benefits and privileges they get from the day the get elected compared with what the politicians in pre 1970 period got. For example, an MP those days got only an allowance of 5oo Rupees, a Junio Minister Rs 750 and a Minister Rs 1000 a month. They also did not get official vehicles or any other allowance or duty-free vehicle permits or official residences in Colombo or other payments like attendance and other extra packages like special allocations for their seats (in spite of the fact none of these people have and electorate as they are only District MPP which has made representative democracy a big fast)  

My question is under these circumstances 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.  Those days it was public service and not self -service as it has come to stay today.

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 to their employees in their old age for the dedicated service they had rendered to the Empire. Subsequently it was extended to retired public servants 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 feezed until he.she 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 that so-called Democratic Socialist Government of JR. passed by Act No 1 of his government as a priority, 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 those of the people.

 in a country that inherited a rich legacy of public good 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 or even more if his or her son or daughter had been appointed as the Private Secretary, Public Relation Officer etc which has now become a rule of the day.

the day, 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 at that time 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. This Accord that conceded 1/3 of the land and 2/3rd of the coastal belt with all its marine resources as the Historical Traditional Home land of the Tamils of South India who were the eternal enemies of this Sinhala nation, in short was the biggest betrayal by any politician in the entire history of this Island Nation from the beginning of history. The only relief is that this Accord as well as the !3th Amendment were illegally entered in to under emergency by the blessing of the Gods, fortunately that could be annulled at any moment by a patriotic leader blessed with a strong spine and the courage to do it as it was an absolute travesty of history.

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. If the provisions of the Provincial council are implemented to the letter that will be the death-knell of territorial integrity and the Ekathchatra status of this land nation

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,( as it was once stated by A.J. Wilson the Son-in-Law of Chelvanaayagam),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 and a hotch-potch of International conflicts in view of it’s strategic geo=political importance 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 these superfluous new political creations for nor benefit to the country but benefited 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, 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 ruined by separatists Tamils and Muslims with their Tamil and Muslim dream lands on this Land of the Sinhala nation from the dawn of history.

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 all other extra 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 the noble wove of any honest politician should be.

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 agai restore the ancient glory of the Sinhala nation.

*Rare exceptions: D.S. Senanayaka, C.W.W. Kannagara, S.W.R.D. Bandaranayaka, Sirimavo Bandaranayaka, Philip Gunawardana, T.B.Ilanagratna, Hector Kobbekaduwa, Lalith Atulathmudali, Gamini Disanayaka , Luxma Kadiragamar and Mahinda Rajapaksa.

2 Responses to “Pension for Politicians in this country? For what service they have done to the nation”

  1. aloy Says:

    Pensions to politician was enacted by JRJ as a result of Mr. CWW K who did a yeoman service to the nation as a helpless poor man on a government hospital bed. I remember reading one worthwhile journalist’s report in Dinamina ews paper way back in 60s.

    But certainly it was JR himself who set the tone to misuse the judicial system in this country introducing the concept of pre-signed letters of resignation from his law makers. Lawyers are a necessary evil for a society, but, the less you deal with them the better. You can see how they are being misused by giving them well decorated appointment letters at different times. There will be a day when they will have to burn them and apply the ash on their foreheads, as they will be a symbol of disgrace even to their children.

  2. Sarath W Says:

    Pensions and all the other perks like luxury vehicles and body guards attracts uneducated, crooks and thugs to the parliament. What we need is decent, honest and educated professionals as law makers, not law breakers and their kith and kin.

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