Sri Lanka pro-govt legislator calls for privatisation of SriLankan Airlines

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka opposition MP Harsha de Silva says he has no intention of joining a cabinet that comprises largely the same faces currently in power and will only support a genuine attempt at an all-party government.

Speaking in parliament on Friday August 12 on the third day of a debate on President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s policy statement, de Silva said while he agrees with the contents of the president’s speech, there are no visible signs of it being actively implemented.

“The process of debt restructuring hasn’t even begun,” he said.

Referring to media reports, the MP said there is speculation that the state of emergency will be used to push economic reforms through disregarding any public pushback. Economic reform needs public support and should not be carried out through intimidation using the emergency,  he said.

The MP said though he is in the opposition he stands with the economic reforms proposed by president, noting that both he and the president have been articulating the same proposals for reform for months.

de Silva has on several occasions endorsed the president’s policy speech, particularly with regard to developing Sri Lanka into modern export oriented competitive social market economy as a hub of the emerging Indo-Pacific economic domain.

He was also photographed walking along with Wickremesinghe to the tea party that was held in parliament after the latter’s speech on August 03. The images and his comments led to some speculation that de Silva plans to join Wickremesnghe’s cabinet in some capacity.

Commenting on this in his speech on Friday, the MP said while he has no problem acknowledging his endorsement of the president’s economic policy, he cannot in good faith join a government that still has the same people who scuttled Sri Lanka’s outward looking economic and foreign policy measures in the Yahapalana years from 2015 to 2019.

The Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) MP said no single individual can pull Sri Lanka out of its prevailing economic crisis – the worst since the country’s indepedence.

“There are no such supermen in this country,” he said, urging the government for an opportunity for a bipartisan approach to resolving the economic crisis based on a common minimum programme articulated by opposition lawmakers, economists and other stakeholders.

“We still have an opportunity, it is an obligation and responsibility of all political leaders to find a way out. We are speaking from our hearts, we want to help but provide a platform to do that. Be honest and genuine, let us together save the country,” he said. (Colombo/Aug12/2022)

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