Economic issues and corruption have taken over the focus of many Sri Lankans, polled in an opinion survey on the war, who believe that the country is yet to reach absolute peace. An analysis of the results of joint poll by the Business Times (BT) and the Research and Consultancy Bureau (RCB) on the 5th [...]

The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

Praise for the President, criticism on corruption and economic issues


Economic issues and corruption have taken over the focus of many Sri Lankans, polled in an opinion survey on the war, who believe that the country is yet to reach absolute peace.

An analysis of the results of joint poll by the Business Times (BT) and the Research and Consultancy Bureau (RCB) on the 5th anniversary of the end of the war, revealed that while Sri Lankans like to believe that peace has finally dawned on the country, the absence of war doesn’t mean the conflict is over.

Results of the email cum street poll in which five questions were asked are shown in the graphic on Page 1.
Here is a cross-section of the comments received during both polls.

RCB street poll

Sri Lankans can freely travel to any part of the country

- We can now live without any fear of bomb attacks, and people can travel from the South to North by train. This shows the peaceful atmosphere in every nook and corner of the country.
- The President has brought peace to the country through his tireless efforts.
- Western nations, the United States and the Tamil Diaspora are inciting flames of racism. They are trying to make us dance to their tune. These people are attempting stop international assistance for us by creating unnecessary problems. But the government is facing such conspiracies fearlessly.
- South India is trying to create terrorism in the country by feeding the “Tigers with milk”. But Sri Lanka’s army will not allow them to carry out such disruptive activities.
- Public and private sector instructions provide services to people without any hassle or delay irrespective of racial or religious differences. Therefore there is no discrimination for any community in the country.
- The government implements development activities throughout the country including the North and East.
- Countries like Australia and the United States consider the diversity among communities as wealth for them. They are using it for development in their countries. Everyone respect each others’ rights. This is how Sri Lanka should develop.
- Expressways have paved the way for us to travel long distances in a short time. It helps the country’s development immensely.
- Colombo has been transformed into a beautiful city.
- The country’s crime rate could have increased with youth frustration if the government sent the soldiers home after the war. But using them in productive work has helped make them useful citizens.
Law is partial
- Political victimisation Law in partial has been increased everywhere.
- Police enforces the law in a very partial manner and therefore peace, law and order in the country is diminishing.
- Although liberated from terrorism, Sri Lanka has become a lawless state with corruption and malpractices everywhere.
- The dictatorship is raising its ugly head in Sri Lanka destroying democracy.
- The rights of all families in the country are vanishing under the rule of one family. The one-party rule has now changed to a one-family rule.
- People are living in fear due to a crime wave spreading countrywide.
- War heroes who fought to protect the country are now working as labourers on roads. Politicians are enjoying life while policemen scrape coconut in houses of MPs.
Issues will explode
- The Government is creating new problems for the Tamils by forcibly taking over their lands.
- The country is now facing racism after the elimination of terrorism. Ravana Balaya and Bodu Balaya have been allegedly created by the state. These activities are aimed at hiding widespread corrupt practices from the people.
- The country is going to be engulfed with Buddhist – Islam religious conflicts instead of Sinhala- Tamil racism in the near future. The government will adopt a wait and see tactic and act (only) once the problem gets out of control. This would be like the July 1983 situation.
- There is a grave problem in the North although the government is trying to hide it from the public. The issues there will explode like a volcano. Before that happens we should rise as a Sinhala nation by reconciling with all communities.
- The gap between the poor and rich has widened under the present regime. Rich are getting richer while the middle class people and the poor are becoming poorer by the day.
- The government should provide facilities to SMEs and encourage them to increase production, instead of spending money on unnecessary things.
n This government is carrying out unproductive activities as showpieces burdening the people with taxes.
COL rises
- People will get more relief if the government channels the massive sum of money which was earlier spent for the war. What happens now is the escalating price of goods and taxes, burdening the people.
- The government does everything to boost its image through the “Deyata Kirula” exhibition, war heroes commemorations, ceremonies to celebrate the anniversaries of assumption of the president in high office, world youth conferences and the Commonwealth Summit.


Email poll by the Business Times

Sri Lanka is safe but concerns over crime wave grow

- The war was over five years ago but now the Muslims are also being harassed.

- We have not been able to set up modern industries to increase our growth. War-torn countries like Vietnam and Cambodia increased their industrial production rapidly after the wars which killed tens of thousands.

- Corruption is at an all time high and basic needs like electricity rates are very high. Cash is scarce and many businesses in the SMB sector are struggling …its good if the Business Times does a survey of SMB’s to see the real situation.
On a return to peace:

- Most urban middle classes in Colombo and suburbs and those in Eastern border villages should feel safe, but certainly not at “peace”. Peace has many more ingredients than just the absence of bombs. In a society where no woman can ever hope she would not be the next victim of rape and murder, in a society no child can expect to be safe from abuse, in a society no Christian pastor could guarantee his flock they’d be safe from extreme forces, in a country where a Muslim can’t think of engaging in a business with “peace of mind” and in a society where no Muslim religious place can be guaranteed safe even by their own elected MP/Minister, I wonder how one could compare pre and post 2005/2009 in terms of peace.

- To a great extent, as there is an absence of terror attacks, people can travel and move about without fear of a bomb exploding.

- The attacks directed against the Muslims and Christians are worsening.

On ethnic tensions easing

- A significant number is not at peace in their lives, especially those who lost near and dear ones and still do not have closure as to the circumstances of their loss; others due to the uncertain future regarding their livelihoods; still others waiting to return home to their native land but uncertain as to what conditions will prevail.

- The TNA is equally to blame for the continuation of ethnic tensions, for pursuing an adversarial course, at the behest of the Tamil Diaspora. And as long as this prevails, reconciliation will be impossible.

- While some rehabilitation and integration of former LTTE combatants has been accomplished, the underlying reasons for the disillusion of moderate Tamils are yet to be addressed.

On Sri Lanka not being able to achieve greater economic success:

- Yes we could have reached much higher levels of achievement

- I am not sure whether progress was the same during the war years or after.

- Economic progress in which direction? Accumulation of wealth at the top levels of population has widened the gap between the rich and the poor. Per capita income figures are a farce. Even state employed graduates don’t earn that per capita income. Urban beautification that’s projected as “development” even in media, adds absolutely nothing to the quality of life of ordinary city dwellers who cannot afford to go for a jog in those beautified tracks. Let’s be honest. These cosmetic additions to urban life are not the economic progress of a nation.

- We kept missing the plot from May 2009. The peace dividend needed to be cherished and worked on by all Government arms including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We did nothing to put issues to bed, get the support of the international community of all shades and stripes and create a sustained climate for FDIs. We say one thing one day and recant the next.

On ‘overspending’ by the Government using high taxes:

- Overspending is putting it mildly. There is plunder and blunder with impunity.

- There is overspending but it’s through taxes and unsustainable borrowings.

- There is no track of waste by the administration and the word corruption is no more valid.

- Borrowings are heavy while printing money causes currency depreciation.

- The Government needs to release to the people its ACTUAL Balance Sheet, Profit and Loss A/C statements.

On Sri Lanka’s progress to being the “Miracle of Asia”:

- Physical infrastructure has been improved and the beautification of Colombo and other cities is commendable. However Sri Lanka is no way towards being a miracle. It is performing below potential and public expenditure is not prioritized towards long term development

- We could soon be described as the debacle of Asia. Snatching defeat from victory. We had a wonderful opportunity to correct past mistakes in 2009 which we learnt with the noble sacrifice of many lives of our citizens but we opted to celebrate with the wrong emphasis to earn the condemnation of a world which sees grave injustice in our actions.

- Infrastructure development does not make us a miracle. All we are doing is trying to catch up with some of the others in Asia.

- We can see a “Miracle of Asia” not from infrastructure development but from unethical practices.

- Infrastructure development and beautification do not a miracle make! True the city and many other areas look really nice and modern and some aspects of city life have transformed…will facilitate tourism, etc. However, we have huge social failings – crime, vulgar displays of wealth and huge disparity in wealth distribution. People must be able to earn a decent days’ wage and lift their heads and live in dignity. That is certainly not to be seen across all social strata and regions of the country. By-the-way (BTW) how do people earn the money they seem to have to run such impossibly expensive luxury cars we see on the roads today like the Porsche, Jaguar, BMW, Mercs and a couple of Lambos and Ferraris? Do these owners have tax files? Look around the business firmament…the jobs on offer…the perks on offer and it is not possible for that many people to earn legitimately and have such vehicles on our roads! If corporate fat cats are treating themselves to these goodies we need Obama to come here and tax their incomes! The disparity between rich and poor is huge.

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