Tamil Diplomat

Deal with corruption with firm hands: Opposition Leader

Opposition Leader R.Sampanthan has urged the government to deal with corruption, cronyism and financial mismanagement with firm hands since there was no way a better Sri Lanka could be built without weeding out those ills.

He was taking part in the second reading stage debate on budget proposals for the year 2016. He stressed that the need of the hour was to bring in new laws and regulations to arrest fast spreading corruption and financial mismanagement. New strict laws and offences should be introduced to deal with corruption.

Sampanthan cited the losses incurred by Sri Lankan Airlines since the state took it over from Emirates as noted by Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake in his Budget speech. Minister of Finance divulged that the total debt of Sri Lankan Airlines stood at Rs. 158 billion of which 72% related to the last three years of the former regime. This could be mainly due to corruption, cronyism and poor management. This accumulated loss could have financed 45,000 buses, 25 fully equipped universities, 40 fully equipped modern hospitals and 48,000 houses. This is the loss the country has incurred due to corruption and mismanagement in a single institution.

He suggested that a few people of the highest integrity should be tasked with monitoring government expenditure in order to prevent corruption, the Opposition Leader said.

Referring to the suicide of a student in Jaffna on Thursday, he said that the student’s actions demonstrated the frustrations the people of the North and East are undergoing due to lack of employment and rehabilitation. The government must understand the actions of this student.

He observed that the funds allocated for the rehabilitation for the North and East were inadequate. The Finance Minister has allocated Rs. 14,000 million for rehabilitation of the North and East. This sum is wholly inadequate. These people who played a pivotal role in bringing the current government into power expect a better deal.