Letters to the Editor

4th May, 1997


Let’s give it a chance

A fair easy and equitable method of amalgamating first past the post, and the P.R.systems to the satisfaction of everybody is suggested below. The underlying basic democratic principle followed, is to provide each and every voter the right to have the representative of his choice in the legislature. This is carried out thus district wise’.

(a) All electorates in the district elect their respective Parliamentarians by the first-past-the post method, thus ensuring the voters of the successful candidates the basic right mentioned above.

(b) The voters of the defeated candidates are left without adequate representation in Parliament. This is rectified by applying the P.R. system, totalling up the voters of the defeated candidates and allocating seats accordingly.

(c) This combination may add seats to the district than what are already provided. But this can be adjusted to meet the requirements needed, by redemarcating the electorates.

This proposition is worth considering as this matter is under review now.

(d) Other amendments worthy of consideration are:

The abolition of the ‘Manapa’ preferential Voting System which has lead to much confusion and infighting amongst the party candidates themselves; and the reintroduction of the Multi-Member constituencies in those where the minorities will be benefited.

The abolition of the Executive President’s post, and the transferance of the Executive functions to the Executive Committee System headed by the Prime Minister in Parliament is a much desired change.

If these suggestions have a place in the new Constitution that is being drafted the country will stand to benefit.

(e) When working out the combination of the two systems, whatever ratio is adopted, if and when the votes of the winners of the first-past-the post system is included to calculate the P.R. system allocations, these voters get the benefit to elect two members with their single vote which in itself is an undesired outcome. This anomaly is overcome by the methods suggested above, namely to take into account the votes of the defeated candidates only to compute the P.R. system.

Dr.George R.Wijeguneratne


Taleban and historic monuments

It pains us and all fair-minded Muslims to read that the Taleban proposes to destroy historic Buddhist monuments presently situated in areas under the control of other militant groups in Afghanistan.

If the Taleban lays claim to be true followers of Islam, then they should harken to the Words of Allah “There is no compulsion in religion”.

The Caliph Hazrat Omar (Ral) who arrived in Jerusalem to accept the surrender of the Roman Governor, was invited by the latter to pray at the Church. The Caliph politely declined stating that it may provide an excuse for the Muslims at some later stage to convert the Church to a Mosque claiming that he (the Caliph) had prayed to Allah there. Such is the concern the true leaders of Islam have for other religions.

It is definitely worth mentioning here that the Holy Prophet (Sal) himself has said that “All Mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action”.

The treatment Taleban has been meting out to their women is also very reminiscent of the pre-Islamic Jahiliyya (barbaric) era. God Almighty’s beloved Prophet Muhammed (Sal) has said “O People, it is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women, but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under Allah’s trust and with His permission.” He further says “Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers.”

We wish to wind up with the following words of our beloved Prophet (Sal):

“Remember, one day you will appear before Allah and answer for your deeds. So beware, do not stray from the path of righteousness after I am gone.”

Noor Jowharah and Fathima Bushra

Nazim 786 @ everka. 1K

Wake up, before it’s too late

We have become a nation of gamblers with state funded lotteries, casinos and race bookies. Shouldn’t we all hang our heads in shame when we let these all go on in the name of politics, prosperity and foreign exchange?

How come a nation consisting of four religions - everyone of them condemning gambling, had let this happen? It only reflects the inability of today’s society - or is the power of evil excelling over religious values and morality?

It was reported recently that the majority of those frequenting the casinos are youngsters, spending about Rs40- 50,000 a day! Imagine how many hungry mouths could be fed with this money? Apparently the parents pay up without even asking for accounts. Needless to say, with gambling, boozing and womanizing go hand in hand, often provided free by the casino owners, with even a room for the night!

What is shocking is that now casinos are set up by Muslims exclusively for Muslims. Muslims until recently, were afraid to commit crimes forbidden by Islam at least publicly. Now, thanks to the lethargy and indifference of the Muslim society, every crime is blatantly committed, destroying the very moral code of our socity - especially corrupting our youngsters, even the school boys. It isn’t that they do not know the following Quranic verse :- Sura 5

Verse 90: “O ye who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, sacrificing to stones and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination, - of Satan’s handiwork: Eschew such (abomination), that ye may prosper.”

Verse 91: “Satan’s plan is (but) to excite enmity and hatred between you, with intoxicants and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah, and from prayer: Will ye not then abstain?”

According to Islamic scholars, when a direct prohibition such as this is given in the Quran, anyone indulging in gambling is committing a major sin. How come Muslims are not protesting against such great sins - when they protest against much minor matters?

Indulging in lotteries is equally sinful - Islam does not permit man to earn anything without toiling for it. It is common knowledge that often hard earned money of most families is busted on these tickets, dreaming for that jackpot which is never going to materialize! Winning the pittance of Rs 10/- and Rs.100/- keeps them properly hooked for life. This despicable habit, which had become a daily indulgence of not only the men, but also the housewives and school children has set nation to become oblivious to the effect it is causing. I was shocked that a Muslim girl in Hijab is also portrayed in the TV for the gambling, in spite of the fact that this is a major sin, and not a hum of protest is heard from our religious leaders.

The worst is that this despicable habit is given a dressing of respectability by the state media by constant advertising and by the so-called leaders of our society, by handing over the gifts at gala functions with all the publicity it brings about. The Muslims who receive the prize pose for the photos with smiling faces, forgetting the wrath of Almighty Allah on them.

If only the case histories of the wives, I have counselled whose husbands have got hooked on this destructive habit, could be told, no man in his proper senses would think of getting involved in gambling.

O Sri Lanka! Wake up before it is too late. We are teaching our children that quick money without work is acceptable - by all our examples. Let some decency prevail in our society. Let the religious leaders nudge the politicians to do something constructive for our future generation. What with the war, drugs and indecency eternally draining our society, at least take action against what we can. Let us agitate to stop the lotteries and close down all forms of gambling - casinos, bookies and race courses.

Is this going to be a lonely voice lost in the dark?

Dr Ms. Mareena Thaha Reffai


Don’t waste precious water

It is a pity to see people trying to create a golf course when the whole country is experiencing a shortage of water.

Due to de-afforestation, rivers, reservoirs and waterfalls have dried up. We are in the middle of a power crisis and the last thing we would want to hear is creating a golf course which will swallow all the waters of our rivers.

A golf course requires tremendous amount of water daily to keep the grass green. Therefore it would be better if the investor thought of another way of attracting tourists while preserving Sri Lanka’s water supplies rather than building a golf course in Pelwatte.

Perhaps he would like to consider setting up an elephant orphanage like that in Pinnawala for the battered Handapanagala elephants.


M. Lavinia

More letters to the editor * It's also a kind of racism * You have very little to be content about * Time to give relief to suffering rate payers * What a shame * Let's traverse the correct path

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