While the majority of the respondents in the RCB street poll were of the view that parliamentary elections should be held according to promised dates, they were also disappointed at the progress of taking action against corrupt politicians and officials. Here are excerpts of their comments: On corruption: = How can you reveal corruption when [...]

The Sunday Times Sri Lanka

Disappointment over slow progress on corruption issues, RCB poll respondents reveal


While the majority of the respondents in the RCB street poll were of the view that parliamentary elections should be held according to promised dates, they were also disappointed at the progress of taking action against corrupt politicians and officials. Here are excerpts of their comments:
On corruption:

= How can you reveal corruption when the corrupt are in the system? The JVP possesses evidence of the corruption so why can’t the Police make arrests based on the evidence?

=There are allegations against Rajitha of corruption and this may be the reason why corrupt practices are not investigated.

=The process is disappointing. They just show Wele Suda in the media and mislead the public. We did not hear this name before the election hence the major political culprits need to be caught.

=Politicians like Basil Rajapakse, allegedly involved in corruption, are hiding abroad, while criminals like Wele Suda are brought forward and shown to the people. Every administration is the same.

=There is some progress to arrest corruption but the mechanism is very slow.

=What guarantee is there on the investigations on corruption and action thereafter? Let Parliament be dissolved and hold an election.

=We know that all this cannot be done within 100 days. If the crooks are dealt with that is a good enough achievement.

=What is the action against corruption so far? They fool us always. Some ministers are involved and preventing the arrests of others.

=Where is the solution for corrupt practices? The promises have so far not been honoured. Arrest even Mahinda if there is enough evidence of corruption.

=The corruption drama is like a tele-drama. One alleged culprit is questioned for hours. No one has been arrested so far.
On abuse of power:

=The abuse of power misuse has not ended.

=The Police Media Spokesman has been changed but Ministry Secretaries are appointed haphazardly. The Central Bank Governor should be removed.

=There is little or no abuse of power. Police also seems to adhere to the rule of law.

=The rule of law was thrown to the dogs under the Rajapaksa’s now things have changed and that is what the people want.

On cost of living:

=The benefit of the price reduction has not reached all the people; only the middlemen have benefited. Fixed price items like oil, milk powder have been reduced but items like rice need to be addressed.

=Cost of living has come down. We can be happy on that.

=We are happy about the cost of living. People can prepare positively for the New Year as they have received concessions in the budget.

=The benefit of the oil price reduction has to go to consumers. A plain tea is sold at Rs.12 while a plate of rice is Rs. 120 or more. A price limit has not been enforced.

On elections:

=As promised the election should be held in June and select decent people to Parliament.

=There is no use of holding elections without changing the election system.

=No use of conducting elections unless the Executive Presidency, the Election system and the amendments to the Constitution have been approved.

=Elections will not give a majority to any party in the next election. Hence there will be the need for a National Government.

=People are likely to reject the present regime at the next election if promises are not kept.

=The next election will bring back Mahinda and the UNP will be defeated.

=The national government concept is good as minority parties have no bargaining power to rule. There will be harmony among various ethnic groups. It is good if this trend prevails after the election.

=250 Members of Parliament, under the new reforms, is a burden to the nation. Increasing the total by another 225 is unwise since the burden goes to the people.

On miscellaneous issues:

=It’s hard to trust any Government. The President is silent. They must get to the job or people will lose faith. The opposition has become silent after they got ministerial portfolios.

=Ranil is an intelligence person. He needs to be made Prime Minister after the election.

=This regime is on the fence.

=All these ruling politicians are power hungry and they don’t have the will to develop the country.

=It seems that although a lot was promised within 100 days very little has been accomplished.

=Precise steps have been explained in the media on how the Executive Presidency will be abolished. These are good developments … specially the appointment of the new Chief Justice. Furthermore the limitation of office held by persons is mostly welcome.

=The JVP objective is to increase their vote bank. They have no honest love for the country.

=I don’t understand what Mahinda is up to – going from place to place.

=We know that all this cannot be done within 100 days but much could have been accomplished.

=People voted this Government to find solutions to corrupt practices but so far that hasn’t happened.

=It is difficult to grasp what is happening in the country. We cannot predict what will happen next.

=The PR system is good. What has failed is that the wrong persons are in the nomination list. Political parties are at fault in this process.Parliament needs honest and wise individuals.

=The 19th Amendment will not be approved. This is like the 18th amendment rushed by the previous regime to enhance power. The present 19th amendment is to create an Executive Premier. It has proved that nobody is honest.

=We cannot predict what would happen in the next legislature. It is again likely that a weak government will emerge.

Tracking the performance  of the new Government”For the third successive month, the Business Times (BT) along with the Research & Consultancy Bureau (RCB) conducted an opinion poll, this week, tracking the progress of the new Sri Lankan Government and its 100-day programme.
The first poll published on February 8, revealed “inordinate delays in either filing action or prosecuting key figures in the former regime including close associates of the President may have led to a slump in public confidence in the new Government”.
In the second poll published on March 8, most Sri Lankans gave the thumbs-up to the new transitional Government agreeing that there has been little or no abuse of power during its 2- month existence.
It also revealed that most people were in favour of parliamentary polls being held as scheduled in or around June, instead of a postponement as suggested by some political parties.
Some respondents feared that if electoral and constitution reforms are not implemented before the next poll, some of the corrupt elements would re-contest the election which should be avoided at all costs.


Respondents in the Business Times email poll

Politicians are not the only culprits, as perceived by the people in failing to deliver the goods. Respondents in the Business Times email poll revealed that officials are equally to blame for poor administration and corruption. Here are excerpts of the comments:
On tackling corruption
• One cannot tackle corruption of 10 years in 100 days.
• They have made some efforts but the process has to be expedited.
• Whatever has been done is pure hogwash; only to pull wool over eyes of the public …. again!
• Tackling corruption is beyond the capacity of our political leaders unless they bring in laws to hold the ministers accountable for financial management of their ministries. We have ministers exercising power without being accountable under the law. This is why the present Government can’t punish the previous Government ministers or the former President except for theft of public property which is an offence under the law. Since 1956 our ministers have exercised power without accountability. The present government won’t bring in legislation either.
• There is progress, systems are in place. One must understand that trying to remove corruption entirely takes time.
• Unfortunately NO. A case in point is the Central Bank bond issue.
• Difficult to end corruption within the 100 day programme.
• There is progress. The Central Bank bond issue is a minor form of corruption which has been been blown out of proportion by supporters of the earlier regime.
• There is progress. Attempts have been made to bring in the independent commissions and Right to Information Act that will help reduce and control corruption to an extent in the times to come. Corruption is being exposed and the guilty will be tried in courts in the future, but, that will take time, as per the normal course of legal procedure.
• Progress is slow. Lack of enthusiasm on the part of some politicians, bureaucrats, investigating officials and institutional drawbacks and delays seem to be the issues.
On the cost of living
• It has reduced to some extent in fuel, travel and some items.
• Reduction or removal of taxes such as the Special Commodity levy on some essentials has helped.
• Inflation has fallen; petrol bills have reduced drastically; traders (I spoke to) say they have more business today.
• Reduced to some extent but paddy mafia needs to be controlled, if the farmers won’t get paid for their paddy before Avurudu.
• The intention was good. But consumers are not benefitting much because of the attitude of the service providers. Example 3-wheeler drivers are not changing their meters and restaurants have not reduced prices as much as expected.
• Doubtful, But I didn’t expect much of a change.
• This has come down to a certain extent by reducing petrol, gas and kerosene prices and the impact is now being felt.
Reducing presidential powers
• There is progress.
• Before that, professional standards of key institutions like the Central Bank need to be strengthened first.
• No. The UNP-led government has failed to understand that the vote was to reduce the concentration of power in one person

= Not yet. But the President has shown his willingness to reduce powers.

= There will be a big difference once the 19 Amendment is enacted. The President is already adopting a very low profile.
= Yet to be seen but the President doesn’t appear to be abusing or using his draconian executive authority.
= Credit should go to the President who seems to have no problem in giving up power.
Progress of electoral reforms
= This is not possible within 100 days.
= There doesn’t seem to be a bona fide initiative in this area.
= It is unlikely that all parties would agree to electoral reform by revising the PR system.
= Agreement has been reached (by all parties) and is expected to be presented to parliament. However its implementation needs time and this may not be possible before the dissolution of parliament.
On dissolving Parliament
= This is important as the current unsteady Government needs a more, clear mandate.
= Unclear whether this would help or not. There is a danger of a reduced majority (for the UNP) or even losing outright.
= This must be done if the Government wishes to minimise the possibility of former President Rajapaksa being elected as the Prime Minister!
= There should be electoral reforms before parliamentary polls. Otherwise the same corrupt group will get nominations from both sides.
= Parliament needs a new set of decent MPs. The voter must vote intelligently to get a better set of people – not parties – to the next parliament and to form a national government.
= If the 19th Amendment is passed and the electoral reforms put in place by end May, then dissolving parliament in end May and having elections in July which is a little later than planned, is acceptable. But, there shouldn’t be too long a delay, since the present makeshift Cabinet of Ministers and the Parliament are not tenable, not practical and uncertainty of continuity is not good for governance of the country.
= Before polls, the Government must fulfill the main promises given to the voter at the last presidential election i.e. reducing presidential powers, reintroduction of independent committees and electoral reforms. The 100 day timetable is not important. Achieving the most vital promises is the pressing need.
= Electoral reforms before elections should be the priority.

Tackling corruption of the past regime

= Doesn’t appear to be progress. The corrupt should be charged in courts for financial irregularities.
= Limited progress seen. We need a few significant victories (politicians/officials charged and convicted by the courts).
= There is movement. The new fraud investigation bureau is a step in right direction.
= While there is progress, all we hear at the moment are accusations. Corrupt elements should be charged, found guilty and given the strictest punishment.
= At least the SriLankan Airlines report has been made public and shows how corrupt these officials were. We need speedy action against the officials.
= Progress may be slow but that is understandable as this has never been done, to this extent, before in the country. This is an election pledge to the masses and should be given due focus and priority.
= Progress is slow as there are inherent difficulties and hidden obstacles. Other problems are the lack of proper organisation and experience among most of the responsible politicians and officials.

On abuse of power being reduced

= Definitely. Judges and the Police are free to act according to the law.
= The Government which was elected on the promise of good governance has failed to act on the abuse of power by the Minister in charge of police, the Governor of the Central Bank. The administration has also appointed their supporters to banks against Central Bank regulations pertaining to acting in collusion (or concert).
= This is happening but legal and constitutional changes have to come into place to make it more effective.

Advertising Rates

Please contact the advertising office on 011 - 2479521 for the advertising rates.