Azath already fed up with yahapalanaya govt

Wakf Board controversy:

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Central Provincial Councillor Azad Salley yesterday alleged that the new administration had woefully failed to address the contentious issue of good governance.

An irate Salley said that those who had been lambasting former President Mahinda Rajapaksa for public sector maladministration seemed to be doing the same.

Salley contested the last Central PC poll on the UNP ticket.

Salley said that the change of government consequent to the then President Rajapaksa’s defeat at the Jan.8 poll, hadn’t resulted in the much desired change.

What had recently happened at Wakf Board was a case in point, Salley alleged, accusing the top government leaders of turning a blind eye to what was happening.

The Wakf Board is responsible for hearing cases as regards places of Muslim religious worship.

Asked whether he had taken up the issue with the new government, Salley admitted that he was actually embarrassed over the situation. "I realised that nothing had changed, though we have a new administration. I’m disgusted. Good governance seems to elude us."

Salley accused Muslim Religious Affairs Minister M. H.A. Haleem, SLMC leader and Urban Development Minister Rauff Hakeem and All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) leader Rishad Bathiudeen of playing politics with Wakf Board.

Salley said that Minister Haleem had appointed Yaseen, one-time private secretary to the then Minister Ferial Ashraff as Chairman of the Wakf Board. Alleging that Yaseen hadn’t been a practising lawyer, Salley said that the long standing tradition was to appoint a practising lawyer as the Chairman of Wakf Board. The former President had changed that much to the dismay of those who believed in the Wakf Board.

Having got rid of the former President’s man, Alkan Uvais recently, following Azath’s intervention, Minister Haleem had made the now controversial appointment. The former President picked Uvais in spite of him not being a lawyer, Salley said.

Salley alleged that Ministers Hakeem and Bathiudeen, nominated persons to the 7-member Wakf Board.

Minister Hakeem didn’t respond to an SMS query to him yesterday afternoon.

Responding to a query, Sally said that people had lost faith in the system due to controversial decisions given by Wakf Board. A tribunal tasked with overseeing the Wakf Board had set aside six decisions pending fresh probe into cases filed by mosques, he said.

Salley said that the government’s failure to address issues pertaining to good governance was shocking. "All of us bitterly complained about the Rajapaksas making mess of public administration. Having lambasted the previous regime for deterioration of the system, the new leaders seemed to be following the same policies as the previous government.

The UNPer alleged that the crisis at Wakf Board wasn’t an isolated development.

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