Tuesday, November 8, 2011
How vociferous must an opposition be to dent the will of the Government?
Do you remember the death of Roshen Chanaka and the public outcry, which forced the government to withdraw the Private Pension Bill from Parliament? What must we do to safeguard our country to force the government again to withdraw the latest Expropriation Bill for want of a lack of clarity of purpose?
A former Chief Justice has ruled it unconstitutional despite the rubber stamping of the present Supreme Court. The Maha Sagha have called it an affront to the Buddhist principles. The Chambers of Commerce want certain provisions removed, but appear to have been bought over out of intimidation! All opposition parties vociferously oppose this but have little power in Parliament to prevent passage. There is a public outcry in various intellectual quarters from University Dons to Intelligent Commentators. Those engaged in attracting foreign investment both to the tourist industry and others are shivering in their shoes trying to find a response to the perceived attack on future investment. The reassurance by the govt. that this is a one off Bill falls on deaf ears, due to the huge number of loss making enterprises under their purview. This hardly gives credibility to their assertion that they can do better than the current owners of the continuing businesses.
The lame defense of the govt. that it was noted at last years budget speech or that these were formerly govt. undertakings that were privatized with conditions that have not been met, does not hold sway in the court of international opinion that the govt. does not appear to care about, but still want by way of investment. They must realize they cannot have their cake and eat it. Something has got to give.
I have personally appealed to the govt. back benches to see sense and try to use the back door to prevent the bill from being presented. They are however too scared of the power of the President and the threats and intimidation, that will forever end their political futures if they stand for common sense. In summary they see it as a completely arrogant personnel attempt at imposing their will on the state.
What pray are we now to do in these circumstances? The power of office can only be broken by an uprising that is spontaneous and unplanned that reflects the will of the people. Unlike in the Pension case where the workers saw it as a threat to their pocket books directly, which could arouse instant anger, this is more an intellectual exercise in reason and common sense and in that regard due to the lack of both on the part of the rulers, it is difficult to fathom a climb down. Further with international pressure on the Human Rights Front they need some comfort that they can enact laws on a whim without fear for mental satisfaction desire relief.