The Sunday Times on the Web Letters to the Editor

8th August 1999


Double standards

It is contemptible that the government and opposition are both indulging in petty politics. All this is at a time when this nation is embroiled in a national crisis. Isn't this dirty politics?

Every month, political parties shout and make their presence felt over something. This time the bone of contention is the executive presidency. Though it is not a new issue to the people, it emerged once again in the form of a violent agitation.

Ironically, the crusader is the UNP the very party which fathered the system, but is now calling for the government to abolish, while still standing behind it. What is this double standard?

Are they opposing everything just because they are in the Opposition - a result of confrontational politics, as pointed out in the Sinhala Commission report. If Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe is genuine and keen to abolish the executive presidency, why doesn't he extend his co-operation to the government which has promised to do away with this system?

If he does, it will push the government into an embarrassing situation, compelling it to keep to its promise. As things stand today, what the UNP is doing is helping the government to retain the system indirectly while hoodwinking the people. The country's common enemy, Prabhakaran, must be wondering why he should deplete his manpower on creating chaos, when the politicians are doing it themselves. The police are attacked, vehicles damaged, civil life disrupted, leaders slandered and effigies burnt - what a way to mark black July!

In dirty politics, everyone is a loser - the voter, the politician and the nation as a whole.

Sajendra Kumara

The great house hoax

If you are dreaming of owning a house constructed by a property developer at the dawn of the new millennium please accept my condolences. People are discovering much too late that certain high profile property developers adopt schemes to ensure that dreams turn into nightmares.

An attractive advertisement offering a bouquet of bonus benefits entices people to visit their plush office. A vision of something ideal then begins when a marketing representative produces attractive brochures, enumerates sophisticated infrastructural facilities on offer and then indicates an apparently reasonable all-inclusive price range. Their intentions appear to be honourable so there are no misgivings at the time clients decide to part with a non-refundable reservation fee of 20% of the sale price.

After the initial deposit is made, it does not take long for the hapless client to realise that the total financial commitment is far in excess of the price indicated at the outset. Too late it becomes clear that the realtors are not building houses to suit the lifestyle and budgets of clients, but that their sole desire is extorting enough and more to suit their extravagant lifestyle!

Much to their dismay clients then realise that the agreement, which is produced after the initial deposit is made, does not guarantee a fixed sales price.

In addition they have to bear the cost of obtaining even basic facilities like electricity and water and worse still, trudge from pillar to post to obtain them from the local authority.

Further, all local authority charges, transfer fees, legal expenses etc., have to be borne by the clients.

The other facilities like roads within the housing scheme, electricity posts, drainage, garbage disposal, and street lighting would not be the responsibility of the property developer, according to the agreement.

Specifications of the proposed construction are not disclosed and clients are expected to hope and pray that the finished product would not be like the house one little piggy built which failed to keep the predator at bay.

A time-frame for completion of construction of a particular house is also not stipulated in the agreement. Perhaps, clients would be afforded the opportunity of occupying their houses when the new millennium begins to fade away.

I wonder whether there are many naive enough to make unlimited financial commitments for something so very intangible?

Too many confidence tricksters have invaded the real estate arena.

Errol Crutchley

Don't create disharmony

Your column 'Kumbakarana' (July 11) has stoutly defended the actions of the Veera Vidhana without knowing the facts. He has not tried to study the ulterior motives of this movement. We do not mind if its objectives are only to protect and safeguard the interests of the Buddhists, without trying to inflame the whole country with another internationally condemned "Black July" which sapped the country's vitality and put it back several decades.

This ugly incident was the main cause for the suffering of the people. It will be a great betrayal if this movement gets encouragement and support.

What Kumbakarana says about the brutal LTTE is true, but the vast majority of the minorities, the Tamils and Muslims does not support them.

The Muslims detest the LTTE as much as the Sinhalese do because they have not forgotten the sufferings they underwent at their hands. But it does not mean that just because the LTTE committed atrocities, the Veera Vidhana should be supported.

I am personally an admirer of your esteemed paper because of its impartial and courageous reporting, but that impartiality would be doubted if the chauvinistic cause of this Veera Vidhana organisation is espoused unhesitatingly.

The Matara branch of Veera Vidhana consists of a few bankrupt traders, who are out to cause communal animosity between unsuspecting Sinhalese and Muslims who have lived together peacefully for generations.

This group has visited almost all the Sinhalese houses and requested them to boycott Muslim shops and also refrain from selling land to them. Is this the way to foster harmony between these two communities? The Sinhalese in Matara are good people and will not fall into this trap. Communalism is not the panacea for all the economic ills of this country. The solutions should be in national unity, peace and accelerated economic development.

M. Mohamed

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