Former President's appeal for increased pension

I was amused to read in the press that former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga had appealed for an increased pension. She is apparently facing hard times managing with her pension.

Mrs. Kumaratunga, after being in the political arena for some time is drawing a fat pension with official quarters, vehicles and staff provided at state expense, while she has her own house and property at Horagolla. She has her children abroad who I believe could provide her a life of luxury in England. The public service pensioners in this country draw a paltry sum as a pension after serving the country for 30 to 40 years, being denied the pension 2006, promised by successive governments, while the cost of living and medicines have risen to unbearable limits.

It would have been appropriate if Mrs. Kumaratunga had appealed for an increase in the pension for all pensioners. Having been the Head of State to have appealed for an increased pension only for her is sheer selfishness.

On the other hand, I wish to recall what she said of the pensioners when she was the President: "Pensioners eat, drink and do nothing" in referring to the issue of increased pensions: that when the People's Alliance (of which she was the leader) manifesto of 1994 that was placed before the voters, referred to the pensioners as, "those who have spent the best years of their lives for the development of the country who deserve a comfortable life in their retirement." Coming to power she forgot it. And now out of power she sees the necessity for a pension increase only for her.

Shame. Is it not?

Upali S. Jayasekera
Colombo 4

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