Interviewed by the “Sunday Island” and other weekend newspapers at “Temple Trees” last Wednesday shows that the President Mahinda is Confused and not telling the truth
- He has no idea of what’s in HIS Manifesto
- He required his Secretary Weerathunga and Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal to answer the questions.
- ”What Independent Commissions? When did we have Independent Commissions in Sri Lanka?” asks President.
- President Defends ”Cross overs of MP’s”
- President Defends ”building mansions and developing his family at the expense of the country”
- President with 2/3 majority says that reason for the delay in implementing his promised ‘Political reforms’ was because of the opposition.
- ”I have no files on anyone” (Was trying to blackmail the MP’s?) says President.
- Jaffna Votes is not a big deal, Opposition candidate got only 46,000 votes in Jaffna last time.
Predicting that winning the presidential election would be easier than even in 2010 and 2005, President Mahinda Rajapaksa says that he would get home by a wide margin.
Interviewed by the “Sunday Island” and other weekend newspapers at “Temple Trees” last Wednesday, Rajapaksa asked “What challenge? I do not see any contest. You hear people speaking of tight finishes only in Colombo. I didn’t have this lead even in 2010. I will win by a big margin on January 8.”
Asked to outline the constitutional changes that would be implemented if he won a third term, Rajapaksa replied ” Read my manifesto. It’s all there on Pages 17 and 18. I, cannot introduce changes on my own, it has to be done through Parliament. I will appoint a committee and all parties can submit their proposals to it.”
Sunday Island(SI) – Being the Presidential candidate could you briefly outline the key elements of your proposed constitutional changes?
Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR) – Read the manifesto.
At this stage, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga read out the first part of the Chapter entitled ” A Wide Political Reform – A New Political Culture” in Rajapaksa’s manifesto.
Sunday Island(SI) – How do you expect the people to trust you a third time having abolished all the Independent Commissions under the 17th Amendment to the Constitution , which are essential to ensure good governance and the rule of law in an environment where the Executive Presidency wields unbridled power?
Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR) – What Independent Commissions? When did we have Independent Commissions in Sri Lanka? Who appointed them?
At this stage, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga interjected that the Public Service, Human Rights and Bribery and Corruption Commissions among others were all independent and the President did not interfere in their functions. “The President is very clear on what he wants to do. He has appointed a Parliamentary Select Committee to find a solution to the National Question but the Opposition including the TNA are not participating in its proceedings.”
Sunday Island(SI) – The ability for Members of Parliament to crossover to other parties while retaining their seats has led to a situation where this country has not had a credible opposition for a long time?
Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR) – What can I do?
Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal – There is a legal interpretation on that.
Sunday Island(SI) – Mr. President , What would you do to change the situation?
Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR) – It has to be done through Parliament. But the MP’s who crossed over say that their electorate had approved of their actions.
Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal – If an early Presidential Election had not been called, there would have been a great deal of speculation with regard to the exact date which would have affected the economy. It happened in India with investors holding on to their monies until a clear picture had emerged.
Excerpts of the President’s answers to questions raised by Editors of other Sunday Newspapers.
Question – What are your future plans?
Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR) – The country was destroyed by a 30 year war. We have done much in the last five years. In my next term I want to build a prosperous and virtuous society.
Question – Some Cabinet Papers had been presented and subsequently withdrawn?
Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR)– Yes, some ministers, none of them are with us now, submitted various Cabinet papers and withdrew them later. My Secretary informed them in writing to be careful. Basil Rajapaksa has presented many proposals, but he does a thorough study beforehand.
Question – Are some Tamil parties along with Mano Ganeshan and the backing of foreign elements working towards regime change ?
Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR) – I met a person who said that.
Question – It is alleged that you are building mansions and developing your family at the expense of the country?
Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR) – No that’s not correct. I am repairing and reconstructing state property. I am not going to take them with me.
At this stage, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga – There were wires hanging at the back of the Presidential Secretariat and it was also in bad shape unlike the front section. So, Navy personnel were commissioned to repair it at one third the cost. I handle such matters and not the President. Not one cent has been wasted. There are many institutions including the Attorney Generals Department that come under the Presidents Office. The Opposition takes the annual expenses to maintain all of them and divides it by 365 days. Then they claim that the President spends around Rs. 800,000 a day.
Question – Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga says that the 65 percent of the war against the LTTE had been completed by the time you became President in 2005?
Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR) – She must be dreaming . There is no point in answering such statements.
Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR) – What can I do if the Opposition does not co-operate?
Question – Why did the SLMC leave the government?
Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR) – They wanted a separate Muslim Unit in the East. We cannot divide the country on the basis of ethnicity.
Question – It is alleged that the state media including the Rupavahini Corporation and the ITN are engaged in government propaganda.
Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR) – I have not watched both the Channels for some time now. But what about the media that backs the Opposition? It’s all in bold letters. How many of them reported the new dollar notes that were found recently?
Question – Why are you holding on to files on ministers?
Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR)- I have no files on anyone. People send me various documents but I cannot reveal them without checking.
Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal – The Opposition’s Presidential Candidate Maithripala Sirisena is contradicting himself with regard to what he terms excessive government expenditure by giving different figures from time to time. He, says that the Colombo breakwater which was built at a cost of Rs.440 million could have been completed for Rs.44 Million. If that is the case would the Asian Development Bank have provided Rs.300 million for the project. It is public servants who handle development work based on reports submitted by the experts. So when he says that 90 percent of the cost goes into someone’s pocket, we feel hurt about it.
Question – Will the number of votes you get in Jaffna reduce this time?
Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR) – How many votes did the Opposition candidate get last time? Only 46,000. We never had a big vote base in the North. After 30 years of war it would take time to build trust and confidence. The reception I get in the North now is better than what it was in 2005 and 2010.
Question – Your critics have accused you of not implementing the law?
Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR) – No, that’s not correct. What did the UNP do? Did they take action against their supporters who killed political opponents?