SJB ready for painful reforms unlike Rajapaksas who only exploited divisions, says MP Hashim

By Akitha Perera

The Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) was interested in genuine reforms that could take the country out of the current economic, social and political crisis, MP Kabir Hashim said in Colombo.

“We need to deal with the current crisis. This was created by those in the Rajapaksa camp. From 2005, they were behind most of the governments. They never won an election by presenting concrete proposals or policies. They have always won elections by amplifying hate and other primal instincts of the people,” Hashim said.

The SJB MP said that those in the Rajapaksa camp had opposed reform and ensured that the country could not go forward. China has developed through reforms and making decisions at the right time, he said.

“SJB thinks that people must be told the truth and rally them around policies. We don’t want to mislead people. We don’t support the western liberal model but we also don’t support some pseudo leftist policies forwarded by pro Rajapaksa elements,” he said.

MP Hashim said that the economic reform process would be painful and that some people will be adversely affected.

“We have no other choice. But we have to protect the vulnerable too. Various government agencies have taken debt amounting to a trillion rupees by the end of 2021. CEB alone lost 70 billion in 2020. The overall samurdhi concession is less than 50 billion rupees,” he said.

The MP said that during the Gotabaya Rajapaksa administration, the state revenue collapsed and due to this Sri Lanka’s credit rating had plummeted.

“It’s easy to destroy things. Rebuilding is hard. I am sure there are many powerful groups that will oppose reverting our tax structure to pre-November 2019 status. The state employees close to 1.5 million and they are paid Rs. 845 billion as salaries a month. How can we pay people when our revenue has collapsed?” he asked.

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