The Proposed National Council in Parliament  
Posted on October 3rd, 2022

Dr.Sudath Gunasekara. Mahanuwara.

 I read the following news item in Newswire September 23, 2022 at 10:59

Leaders of the political parties representing the Ninth Parliament have proposed the names of their party representatives to the newly formed National Council.

Addressing the Parliament today, Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena announced the names of those appointed to serve the National Council.

The Speaker will Chair the National Council, while the Prime Minister, Leader of the House of Parliament, the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, the Chief Government Whip, and other Members of Parliament have been appointed to the Council.

The resolution proposed by the Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena to constitute the Parliamentary Committee called ‘National Council’ was passed in Parliament yesterday.

1.One of them is to determine the general priorities of Parliament to guide the [i]formulation[S1]  of short, medium, and long-term national policies, the Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said.

2.Another responsibility is to agree on short-term and medium-term common minimum programs related to economic stabilization.

3.It is also tasked with organizing special meetings with the Ministers of the Cabinet, the National Council, the Chairperson of Special Committees and Youth Observers of Youth Organizations.

4.The ‘National Council’ also has the power to summon reports from the Sectoral Oversight Committees, the Committee on Public Finance, the Committee on Public Accounts, the Committee on Public Enterprises and any committee that controls the public finance.

The members of the   National Council                                                                                                                                       Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena

    Dinesh Gunawardena

    Sajith Premadasa

    Prasanna Ranatunga

    Douglas Devananda

    Naseer Ahamed

    Tiran Alles

    Sisira Jayakody

    Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan

    Johnston Fernando

    Rauff Hakeem

    Pavithra Wanniarachchi

    Wajira Abeywardena

    L.A.L.M Athaulla

    Tissa Vitharana

    Rishad Bathiudeen

    Wimal Weerawansa

    Vasudeva Nanayakkara

    Palani Digambaram

    Mano Ganesan

    Udaya Gammanpila

    Rohitha Abeygunawardena

    Namal Rajapaksa

    Jeevan Thondaman

    G.G Ponnambalam

    Athuraleiya Rathana Thero

    Asanka Navaratne

    Ali Sabry Raheem

    C.V. Wigneswaran

    Weerasuma Weerasinghe

    Sagara Kariyawasam (NewsWi)

I would like to make few pertinent comments on this Proposed National Council in Parliament for the benefit of the helpless and bankrupt spectator citizens of this country.

Objectives

*To determine the general priorities of Parliament

*To agree on short-term and medium-term common minimum programs related to economic stabilization and

*To organizing special meetings with the Ministers of the Cabinet, the National Council, the Chairperson of Special Committees and Youth Observers of Youth Organizations.

With the power to summon reports from the Sectoral Oversight Committees, the Committee on Public Finance, the Committee on Public Accounts, the Committee on Public Enterprises and any committee that controls the public finance.

According to the Standing Orders, the Sri Lanka Parliament, apart from the Committee of whole Parliament, has the following types of Committees

Select Committees

Sectoral Oversight Committees

Ministerial Consultative Committees

Legislative Standing Committees

Committees for Special Purposes

Beside these Committees they also have the teethless COPA and COPE

But overall, going by the 74 years of history of this Parliament not only these Committees but the whole Parliament has miserably failed to do its duty by the country. Had they done their job properly the country would not have been in the present despicable situation. A country that had the second highest per-capita income in Asia in 1948 has become the Ethiopia od Asia.

Today we have Parliament with 225 Members and a bunch of Ministers of about 70 (30 Cabinet and 40 State) and already a long list of above Committees as given above. Therefore, the first question I would like to pause here is as to what is the necessity for another new appendage called a National Council when the Parliament as the highest Council in this country itself can do all this work without additional new appendages involving additional expenditure, when the country’s economy is already struggling to turn the wheels on its rim. Isn’t this another shrewd political invention by the politicians firstly, to hoodwink the people and distract the attention of the disgruntled masses temporally just to mark time until the next election and simultaneously to pacify the Parliamentarians who have not got any ministerial posts, with some additional perks, again at the expense of the suffering general public. The general public now is completely disgusted with all 225 and that is why they openly agitate for a change in the whole system. Therefore, it is high time that all the members of Parliament from the President down to the last MP realize and act accordingly with responsibility at least now to convince the masses that they fully understand the ground situation in the country and try their level best to arrest this unfortunate situation in the country. But you cannot hoodwink the angry masses by resorting to this kind of meaningless things.

 Why can’t the functions listed under item 1 assigned to this so-called National Committee be done by the existing Committees or by the whole House. What is more is items assigned to this Council under item 1are matters to be formulated by a National Planning Council of subject matter experts. In which none of the Council members are competent in.

Matters listed under 2,3 and 4, I think are subject that could be dealt with by the Cabinet or other Committees already available in Parliament. That also make this Council redundant and useless. What is even worse is some of the Party leaders are also not int as they have already nominated some other members from their parties to this council. That itself shows they are not so serious about this Council and they do not treat it as worthy of attending.

Therefore, the proposed National Committee in my opinion will be another duplication and an appendage like the Provincial Councils that will only incur additional expenditure by way of additional payment for Members and additional staff putting the ailing economy from the prying pan to the hearth. Setting up a superfluous Council like this will only complicate, confuse and more over delay the statutory and legislative work of Parliament incurring additional expenses and wastage. Therefore, it is advisable to drop this move immediately. Otherwise I am sure thit will also end up as an abortive step like the formation of the all party government

What is more is this Council can never be called a National Council as it is only another assortment of the members of rival political parties in the Parliament who are struggling to get the power to form their own governments. This committee in my opinion is big fast. As such it will definitely end up as another NATO subcommittee of the Members of Parliament and another venue for them to fight each other to pursue their own party interests and personal interests at the expense of the g public coffer. Furthermore, it can never be called a National Committee since it is only an assortment of men and women of different political, social and ethnic ideologies. It is like a gathering of foxes and chicken or snakes and frogs. This is particularly so with the Tamils and Muslims who have only their extremist communal agendas on their heads.

Among all the Sinhala parties on the other hand like SLPP.SLFP.UNP.JVP the most distinctive feature is none of them talk about his/her nationality. In the first place none of them are patriotic, none of them are committed to protect the Sinhala nation All of them are concerned only in political power the source of wealth and aggrandizement. What is more is none of them have a Jathiya or they are afraid to call themselves Sinhalese as they fear, then they want get the Tamil and Muslim votes, even though in reality they don’t get any Tamil or Muslim vote in reality. Because, Tamils vote only Tamils and Muslims votes only Muslims. The present system of voting on district basis and preferential system have laid the foundation for this system of mono ethnic voting. These are well thought out and very well-planned political intrigues to destroy the political power of the Sinhalese majority in Parliament and destroy the nation. In my experience none of the Sinhala politicians belonging to any party. is committed to protect the Sinhala people. They behave deaf, blind and blind when Tamil and Muslim extremist behave like bulls in a China shop. Added to this are the external interferences from neighboring India and the West driven by their own economic, geopolitical and strategic interest in world domination. Absence of visionary and patriotic leaders with integrity, competence and commitment among the Sinhala politicians for nation building to overcome this tragic situation is the main cause of our downfall.

The men who took over the country in 1948 never asked even to restore the name of the country, Sinhale, that was there in 1815. Instead, they used the word Lankaa/Lankaava. Tamil called it Ilankai and later it was commonly called Sri Lanka after adding the prefix Sri which mean prosperity. This name was legalized by the 1972 Constitution when it was declared an independent Republic. But even the British and all other countries in the world called it Ceylon up to 1972 meaning Sinhale, the land of the Sinhalese.  I wonder whether our politicians knew even this much. Still the majority who constitute nearly 75% of the total population are Sinhala.  At least 99% if it is not 100% of the whole country can speak and understand Sinhala. This proves the millennia old Sinhala Buddhist claim and legitimacy of the Sinhala nation to this land. The pristine Buddhist archaeological evidence found both on land and underground from Point Peduru to Devudara in the south and Thonigala in the west to Lankapatuna in the far east bare living testimony to this great civilization. The tragedy facing the nation is we don’t have a single Sinhala politician in any political party in Parliament who understand these hard facts and stand for the cause of their protection

So that until this hard fact is first understood by the Sinhala politician and the whole world is told about it and finally the Tamils and Muslims living in this country either accept this gospel truth voluntarily or compelled to accept it and are either prepared to accept the status quo, give up their claims of self-determination in somebody else’s country that does not belong to them and agree to live amicably with the Sinhala nation or else get back to their own motherlands from where they migrated, this cantankerous situation causing misery for everybody will continue.

In this backdrop this idea of a National Council of men and women who have no nationality or any national feeling on the one hand, with representatives from all the minority with extremist and divisive claims on the other and this silly political day dream should be dropped forthwith as it is not going to serve any purpose.

Even if you set it up It will only create a duplicate of 37 quarrelsome MPP of the same useless gang who are behaving like a bunch of monkeys in Parliament making cat call against each other and mudslinging across the floor just wasting the few coins left at the bottom of the national coffer.

 Instead, I propose the appointment of a National Council of national figures and professional experts in different fields from outside this monkey cage, if the government is really interested in nation building at least now. I should be an independent apolitical Supreme Advisory Council as stated below as I have suggested long ago and it should be above the Parliament and even above the President as given below.

Permanent Supreme National/ Rajya Advisory Council at the Centre

 The Mahanayaka Theros of Malwatta, Asgiriya, Amarapura and Ramanna Nikaya           4

    Mahanayaka Theras of Kotte, Ruhunu, Dambulu Sects                                                        3

    Two eminent scholarly monks nominated by the 7 Mahanayaka Theras                          2

    The three Religious leaders of Catholic, Hindu and Islam                                                    3

     Speaker Rajya Sabha                                                                                                                  1

     Governor of the Central Bank                                                                                                   1

Head of the Public Service (Secretary to the Treasury)                                                            1

Total                 & All ex officio)                                                                                                    15                                                                                                                                                                            

(The Secretary to the Treasury like in the Civil Service days should be the most senior and competent Public Servant from the Sri Lanka State Administrative Service. SLAS should also be fully upgraded and reorganized to the level of the unchallengeable Premier Public Service and the steel frame of the machinery of the State)

(To be appointed by the President of the country)

This will be a non-political Supreme National Advisory Council that stands above all state institutions and individuals in the country. It is an independent National Institution set up primarily and solely to protect and safeguard national interest and welfare of the people. It is expected that this Council will act as the guardian god to protect this country and the nation

Permanent Supreme National Planning Council

It is also proposed that we also set up a Permanent Supreme National Planning Council consisting of 10 or 15 eminent persons in fields like Economics, Finance Agriculture, Industry Education, Trade and Commerce, history and culture of this country etc, to prepare the overall National Plan so that politicians will have only to implement national policies after they get elected.

Every item in such plan has to be formally approved by the legislature and the President of the Republic in consultation with the Supreme National Advisory Council.

 [S1]Formulation of national policies is theduty of a National Planning Council of subject matter experts

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