“ If the Executive Presidency is continued, then a Confederal Constitution is necessary to deal with the situation because, with the immense power wielded by the Executive President, Federalism can only lead to a Decentralised Unitary Government and will not lead to a stable Government”. The Thamizh Makkal Thesiya Kootani(TMTK) led by Parliamentarian and former Chief Minister of Northern Provincial Council Justice Wigneswaran has urged the expert committee to draft a new constitution.
A meeting on the proposal for a new constitution submitted by TMTK to the expert panel was held today (Wednesday) between the expert panel and the Wigneswaran-led TMTK delegation. Wigneswaran said the above in an explanatory note handed over to the expert panel during the meeting.
The TMTK delegation has also appealed to the expert committee to use its good offices to urge the President and his Government to negotiate with the Tamil leaders to achieve a Confederal Constitution on the basis of the Constitutional Proposals submitted by TMTK.
The full text of the explanatory note submitted to the Committee is as follows:
- UNITARY CONSTITUTION is unsuitable for Sri Lanka.
The present Unitary Constitution has proved to be a colossal disaster to the country and should be abandoned at the earliest.
As Tamils, we feel that the Unitary Constitution has permitted the numerical majority Sinhalese to usurp our political rights; keep us subjugated and continuously oppress us in an inhuman manner, ironically, in the name of “Democracy”. Tocqueville, the French Political Scientist (1805 – 1859) said “a decision which bases its claim to rule upon numbers and not upon rightness or excellence abandons rationality” We cannot to be irrational in our Constitutional decision.
As Sri Lankans, we feel that the Unitary Constitution has permitted the Sinhalese leaders to ruin the country by indulging in obstinate oppressive partisan Sinhalese hegemony over the Tamils and in the process utterly wasted the country’s wealth and retarded its economic progress. To-day the country has been reduced to a pathetic perilous state of being unable to repay its borrowings. Import controls and import substitution has intensified after heightened monetary instability coming from debt monetisation.
The damage done to the Country under a Unitary Constitution has been catastrophic. So much so, to-day the Country is unable to repay the loans obtained from China and has started giving away many assets of the country to China possibly under duress and appears to be dancing to the dictates of China antagonising the entire free world. As a consequence it has lost its independent non-aligned status in the international fora. People of the Country must realise that the situation is really serious and it is the Unitary Constitution that permitted the mismanagement of the country under the pretext of achieving Sinhalese supremacy at the expense of the Tamils. For all the wrongs done by the South the North and East too pays. It may not be out of place here to say that out of over 850 Departments and Ministries in the entire Island including the Prime Minister’s Office, it was our Chief Minister’s Office in the Northern Provincial Council which was placed first for proper financial management in 2016 when I was Chief Minister, Northern Province.
History has constituted Sri Lanka as a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi linguistic society with the Singhalese speaking People and Tamil speaking People as the two distinct divisions having had their own separate kingdoms in the past.
In Constitution making, it is therefore up to the majority Sinhalese People, primarily as a matter of morality but equally as a matter of expediency and of prudence, to find the formula for honourably integrating all communities into a coherent unit so that all those other communities who lack the advantage of numbers are given a status and dignity equal to its own and never to let them feel marginalised or disadvantaged because they are fewer in number or because they are different in colour or beliefs.
This can be achieved only under a Federal Constitution as has been successfully demonstrated in many countries such as, the United States of America, the Swiss Confederation, Russia and many more countries.
In our proposal submitted we have stated that we oppose the Executive Presidency. If a Cabinet of Ministers under a Prime Minister becomes the executive arm of the Government, then a Federal Constitution will be an adequate arrangement. If the Executive Presidency is continued, then a Confederal Constitution is necessary to deal with the situation because, with the immense power wielded by the Executive President, Federalism can only lead to a Decentralised Unitary Government and will not lead to a stable Government. Any solution other than a Confederal arrangement, will be a recipe for instability rather than stability and economic backwardness rather than progress. Communal tensions under a Unitary Constitution could lead to economic retardness.
We would like to appeal to the Commission to use its good offices to urge His Excellency the President and his Government to negotiate with the Tamil leaders to achieve a Confederal Constitution on the basis of the Constitutional Proposals submitted by our Party.
- OTHER SALIENT FEATURES IN OUR PROPOSAL
Taking the historical past of the country into consideration, we have proposed that there should be four States in the country i.e., the three former kingdoms of Kotte, Kandy and Jaffna and the fourth being the greater Colombo Capital City State. The Sri Lankan confederation shall be a union of these four states. Suggestion has been made to give autonomous rule for the Muslims and the hill country Tamils in the regions where they are a majority.
We have included many details in our submissions including in respect of allocation of land and police powers to the State Governments.