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‘Politics – the most lucrative of Lankan businesses’ - CBK

‘Engaging in politics in Sri Lanka today is the easiest and fastest way to making a quick buck. At present politics is the most lucrative of businesses in this country and around 80 percent of those carrying out political functions are corrupt’, former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga said.

‘Corruption and bad governance is the order of the day in Sri Lanka’, and the lucrative gains from politics are drawing entire families into it today, Kumaratunga said in a hard-hitting address as chief guest at the annual prize giving of St. Bridget’s Convent, Colombo 7, on June 3. While stressing that ‘the country’s values framework has completely collapsed’ in an atmosphere in which ‘even judges could be influenced’, the former President said that she will ‘never ever get back to politics’. She added that she was living by ‘selling’ her ‘assets’ and was ‘proud of it’.

‘The country has lost its soul and is fast going down a precipice of hatred and intolerance. Recognizing the rights and aspirations of all is vital but the country is fast losing this ability, Kumaratunga said. She said that violence and war has deprived most Lankans of the ability to feel for each other. ‘One becomes selfish amid this violence, which first assailed us in 1971 and has continued over the decades’, she said.

Stressing that ‘the language of racism’ is being wantonly used by those who currently mould opinion in Sri Lanka, Kumaratunga said that the need to wipe out terrorism should not lead to the treatment of an entire community as if they were all terrorists.

While opinions with which one did not agree needed to be tolerated, what is transpiring currently was that those who voiced opinions which ran contrary to those which were aired by some opinion moulders, were being intimidated and silenced, Kumaratunga said. She said that it was her practice to go to courts in cases where she thought she was wronged by newspapers.

Emphasizing the need for a value-based education, the former President said reforming the country is the responsibility of all. Likewise, the education system needs to focus on fostering the peaceful coexistence of communities. While stressing that the education system should take over the responsibility for laying the basis for a moral education, Kumaratunga said that moral values are a strong point at St. Bridget’s Convent. (L.O.)

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