Opposition weaker than ever before -Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva
* Name : Nimal Siripala De Silva
* Birth : July 9, 1944
* Colleges attended : Nalanda College,
Colombo 10, Sri Lanka Law College.
* Achievements : Appointed Chairman of
the Executive Board of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in
2008, Chairman of the World Health Assembly in 2009. Won
International awards for excellent service. Sri Lanka recorded
the lowest maternal and infant mortality rates in South East
Asia, Life expectancy of Sri Lanka increased up to 75 years. Sri
Lanka eradicated diphtheria, polio and filaria.
* Experience in politics : 50 years
Q: Do you think the Government is at a clear advantage at the
upcoming general election?
A: There is no need to talk about winning the election because the
United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) is definitely going to win the
upcoming parliamentary election.
There is no doubt about it. There were 1.8 million majority votes for
President Mahinda Rajapaksa which ensured his victory. People have
reposed full confidence in the President and the UPFA Government. They
will reaffirm their decision on April 8 by electing a UPFA Government
with a two-third majority.
Q: Do you see new developments in the Opposition's campaign that may
give them an advantage?
A: There is no such developments at all in the Opposition's election
campaign that may give them an advantage. This is because the Opposition
does not have any indications or capable people who can to win the
confidence of the voters.
All of them are now with the UPFA. With the defeat at the
Presidential election, the unity of the Opposition was shattered. They
seemed better off during the Presidential Election when they contested
as an alliance but today they are weaker than ever before as individual
political parties. It seems there is no Opposition in Sri Lanka any
The people vote only for a politician or a political party with a
very clear policy and a program. The President is Mahinda Chintana
vision's endowed with this. The people of Sri Lanka endorsed the Mahinda
Chintana - Idiri Dekma with 1.8 million majority votes. They are not
ready to disown it now. The Opposition should understand this simple
political fact. The main slogan of the Opposition is `Do not give a
two-third majority to the Government.' This shows how pessimistic the
Opposition's election campaign is. They have already accepted defeat and
is now trying to prevent the Government from getting a two-third
majority. People have already taken a very clear and firm decision to
give a two-third majority to the Government and the Opposition does not
have the strength to change it.
Q: What services have the UPFA Government provided to make it popular
during the past six years?
A: Eradicating terrorism from Sri Lanka and establishing lasting
peace. Is the biggest achievement! Moreover, there is a large number of
massive ongoing development projects. 'Eastern Resurgence', 'Northern
Spring', 'Maga Neguma', 'Gama Neguma', new harbour at Hambantota and
other places, International Airport at Mattala, Moragahakanda irrigation
project, Kerawalapitiya, Norochcholai and Upper Kotmale Power Generation
projects, Southern Highway project, Api Wawamu Rata Hadamu, Mathata
Thitha are only a few of them. There are many more. Unlike the previous
regimes, the UPFA Government has focused on material and spiritual
development of Sri Lanka.
Q: Does the Opposition have a workable alternative policy to offer
A: Not at all. The Opposition is now desperately trying to take part
from the UPFA manifesto.
This is a very pathetic situation. The UPFA hopes to obtain a
two-third majority to change the Preferential Voting system and to make
changes in the Constitution. We discussed this at length at the
Parliamentary Select Committee at many meetings.
We drafted a report but after taking part in all those meetings and
discussions and agreeing to everything, the Opposition refused to sign
the report prepared with the consent of all political parties.
We therefore, lost the best chance of changing the existing system.
Now they shed crocodile tears to secure votes.
When the Government seeks a two-third majority the UNP is against it.
But in their election manifesto the Opposition says that they would
change the preferential system which requires two-third majority in
Parliament. They do not have a policy.
The Opposition is now trying his best to mislead the people. But they
will not succeed. People never trust them and have already rejected
them. Today people are more intelligent.
Q: What are your comments on the UNP's claim that it is the only
party that can develop the country?
A: This myth has been already rejected by the majority of Sri Lankans.
There can be various opinions and ideas but to implement those ideas
public approval is required. If people accept the ideas and various
concepts, they help the political parties to implement them.
People have rejected UNP policies treating the UNP as a bankrupt
political party. The UNP cannot even draw up a nomination list properly.
They have let down their party members and supporters. They married
the political party which killed thousands of party members and have now
taken a divorce. So how can people trust such a political party?
The glory has vanished and no words to stay with the UNP, especially
the youth. Today thousands of UNP members and supporters join the UPFA
because they have understood that the UNP is not the proper 'place' for
Voters, especially the new UNP voters join with the UPFA in large
Q: What would be the impact of the General Election results on the
A: The results of the Presidential Election helped Sri Lanka
immensely to express its image to the world and show that the election
was free and fair.
The result gave a special message to the world and showed the
popularity of President Rajapaksa and his policies.
The people reposed their faith in President and wanted him to be
their President for the next six years.
The election result of the upcoming General Election will endorse
The result of the upcoming general election will show that people
strongly re-approve the economic policy the Mahinda Chinthana. The
result will have a significant impact on the international community
because it will prove that no international power could disrupt the
stable Government and interfere with the internal affairs of the country
Q: What are the international level goals Sri Lanka achieved in the
health sector under the UPFA Government?
A: The health sector is Sri Lanka had gained international
recognition for many reasons improving infant and maternal health,
controlling diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Filaria and served other
diseases.Life expectancy in Sri Lanka has increased to 75 years and it
is 76 years in the US State hospitals in Ampara, Mahiyanganaya and
Dambana had won international recognition for the quality of service.
Some countries such as Nepal and Kenya sent delegations to Sri Lanka
to study Sri Lankans free healthcare system and improve its own. WHO has
commended Sri Lankan healthcare system.