Reforming public corporations and enterprises: Focus on performance not inputs

Views - 242 Thursday, 10 January 2019 00:29

Recently the President issued a circular on recruitments to boards of public corporations and enterprises, overriding the prerogative of ministers to appoint boards to such entities under their jurisdictions. The new process includes the review of a

Malcolm Ranjith’s mouth shuts when it should open and opens when it should shut

Views - 410 Thursday, 10 January 2019 00:25

Our Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith holds the highest office in the Catholic Church in our country. By virtue of his position, he holds a direct link to the Holy Sea at Rome. I get the instinct that this gentleman isn’t conscious of his eminent position a

Behind the Mawanella bigotry (2)

Views - 222 Thursday, 10 January 2019 00:23

When I published an earlier piece on this topic on 30 December 2018, I did not intend to add another part to it. However, what happened in the Court when one of the culprits was produced before the Magistrate has compelled me to add another. In the f

President Sirisena’s world outlook: A foreign policy of transition for a world in transition

Views - 131 Thursday, 10 January 2019 00:18

President Sirisena’s foreign policy, just as that of any other leader anywhere in the world, must be seen in relation to several factors. These are the success or otherwise of the policy he inherited, the character of his own foreign policy as it e

50-day Govt. in 7 days attempts to award biggest value contract in history

Views - 904 Wednesday, 9 January 2019 00:00

The 50-day Government, formed by joining SLFP with Mahinda Rajapaksa’s alliance with blessings of President Sirisena, during the first Cabinet meeting approved the setting up of a Floating LNG Terminal north of Colombo Harbour to supply Liquid Natu

The terrifying Rajapaksa legacy

Views - 1638 Wednesday, 9 January 2019 00:00

The leader of a nation is like a parent to one’s children. The children emulate the examples set by the parent, for better or for worse. The morally-upright parent sets morally-upright examples and standards and ensures the children abide by them.

Need for two-engine growth: Public and private

Views - 92 Wednesday, 9 January 2019 00:00

It is a wrong premise to argue that to encourage the private sector and the market, the public sector and the Government have to step-back, and get involved only in necessary reforms and encouragement. This is the main thrust of ‘Vision 2025’. In

From death to a larger liberty

Views - 372 Wednesday, 9 January 2019 00:00

Why are they all here? The mournful friends and grief-stricken family. That sly fox of a phoenix-like politico. Those happy humbugs. These hysterical hyenas with their hopeful platitudes. Their hypocrisy hamstrung only by the disbelieving silence of

Sri Lanka: Target exports from $ 37 to $ 50 billion

Views - 662 Wednesday, 9 January 2019 00:00

It was great to see the communique that Sri Lanka has reached $ 17 billion in exports in 2018, registering a growth of 15% in the backdrop of the Colombo Stock Exchange reporting the worst trading recorded in the last 10 years last Friday. The 2018 e

Appointing of chairmen and directors to public institutions

Views - 455 Tuesday, 8 January 2019 00:20

To improve SOEs’ performance and following many controversial appointments to State-Owned Enterprises in the past, President Maithripala Sirisena has issued fresh instructions on selection criteria in a bid to eliminate controversial and poorly-qua

Why followers follow bad leaders

Views - 969 Tuesday, 8 January 2019 00:15

Maithripala Sirisena. Mahinda Rajapaksa. Ranil Wickremesinghe. We’ve had different leaders with the same unhappy results for decades. At the core of this country’s political gridlock and dysfunction is a failed leadership culture and not a few me

A Malaysian lesson

Views - 38 Tuesday, 8 January 2019 00:00

From a broad sweep of post-colonial history one can discern a number of parallels between Sri Lanka and Malaysia. For example, in demographic size, growth and its pluralist makeup, in the type of Government and struggle for independence, and in promo

The culture of silence that allows harassment in the workplace to continue

Views - 243 Tuesday, 8 January 2019 00:00

The #MeToo movement has led to women the world over coming forward with stories of harassment. This issue is not confined to a single company or industry. It is an endemic problem which spreads far beyond the cases of sexual abuse that hit the head

Sri Lanka ranked top country for travel in 2019 by Lonely Planet – Who takes the credit?

Views - 668 Tuesday, 8 January 2019 00:00

A few months ago the entire tourism and hospitality trade in particular, and the general population of Sri Lanka, were pleasantly surprised and proud that the tiny island of Sri Lanka had been rated as the best country to visit in 2019, by the Lonely

Accessible tourism is tourism for all

Views - 205 Tuesday, 8 January 2019 00:00

There is an increasingly strong financial incentive for those involved in tourism to make their facilities safe and accessible equally to everyone. For different reasons – including rapid ageing, numerous debilitating medical conditions (that ofte

Sri Lanka’s deep economic crisis:Wasted four years and a wasting election year

Views - 7163 Monday, 7 January 2019 01:30

By the time the present Government came to power in 2015, Sri Lanka was in a deep economic crisis. Its growth had slowed down from a peak of 9% in 2012 to 3.4% in 2013 before recovering temporarily to 5%, still a low rate, in 2014. Exports had been

Universal Basic Income to solve the effects of artificial intelligence?

Views - 1391 Monday, 7 January 2019 01:28

800 million jobs are expected to be lost by 2030 due to automation according to a study by the Mckinsey Global Institute. That is a fifth of the global workforce. This is the reality the world is facing as automation is increasingly taking over many

Man is born free but corrupt political system has chained us without any mercy (Part 2)

Views - 190 Monday, 7 January 2019 00:59

Ours is a country where politicos abuse and manipulate political office, with efficiency and effectiveness, to maximise the outcomes to themselves. The public authorities do not hold investigations or inquiries. Due to interference and manipulations,

Violating our supreme law: Parliament’s constitutional duty to act

Views - 212 Monday, 7 January 2019 00:54

Article 33A of the Constitution states that the President “shall be responsible to Parliament for the due exercise, performance and discharge of his powers, duties and functions under the Constitution and any written law”. Parliament, therefore,

‘The Frozen Fire’: Art and political reality

Views - 174 Monday, 7 January 2019 00:46

There are diverse views about the politics of the JVP and the inherent limitations contained in their political discourse. In particular, many of the views that exist regarding the politics of comrade Rohana Wijeweera and his assassination have contr

Remembering Lasantha Wickrematunge on the 10th anniversary of his assassination

Views - 3853 Saturday, 5 January 2019 00:15

‘Spotlight’ shines for the first time in the new year. Although devoted in principle to films, film personalities and film-related matters, the column will deviate in practice this week to focus on a renowned Sri Lankan newspaper Editor whose con

Ayubowan 2018/19!

Views - 114 Saturday, 5 January 2019 00:10

Our customary few lines that usually accompany my New Year’s wish-list this time comes from the land of Skippy the Kangaroo and boxing day MCG cricket (sans the sand-paper of course); hence the slight

Kerala’s conservative backlash stems from vote bank politics

Views - 133 Saturday, 5 January 2019 00:08

Kerala has been in unprecedented political and social turmoil since 28 September 2018. It was on that day that the Indian Supreme Court had allowed women of all age groups to worship at the 800-year-old shrine for Lord Ayyappa at Sabarinala.

Making a People’s Constitution for Sri Lanka

Views - 635 Friday, 4 January 2019 00:00

Sri Lanka is plunged into a historic situation in which its Constitution has virtually lost its spirit and the functional strength due to lack of consistency and the proper order that a Constitution ought to have. This situation has created a necessa

Should houses have been built at all out of taxpayers’ funds?

Views - 330 Thursday, 3 January 2019 00:53

The question is not “who built more houses?” President Ranasinghe Premadasa, his son Minister of Housing Sajith Premadasa or the latest claimant for building houses, Champika Ranawaka. This is the question that has been highlighted as a one-way t

Our vulnerability to climate risk: Second only to Puerto Rico

Views - 407 Wednesday, 2 January 2019 00:00

On 4 December, German Watch published its Climate Risk Index (CRI) listing for 2019, based on data collected for year 2017 at Munich Re, the reinsurer. Out of 182 countries considered, we, Sri Lanka, who jumped 94 slots from 98th in listing based on

Sri Lankan economy in 2018 and 2019 outlook

Views - 3279 Wednesday, 2 January 2019 00:00

We are at the beginning of a new year with new hopes. As a country, where are we now? What were our achievements and what we missed in the previous year? What would be our targets for the New Year and what would be the possible challenges? Everyone

Revolution 4.0: An intriguing case of the man and machine

Views - 246 Wednesday, 2 January 2019 00:00

We sway on the cusp of a technological revolution that will forever reconstruct the very fabric of our society, the way we live, work and socialise with one another. The transformation that will most certainly sweep us off our feet is one that we are

Employment: Is it an imperative for today’s youth?

Views - 385 Wednesday, 2 January 2019 00:00

A strange, inexplicable situation that had started creeping up slowly is now progressing rapidly. Young people are appearing to be shying away from work. The initial rush of interest in applying for a position that may be advertised or heard of throu

Christmas chats…

Views - 291 Wednesday, 2 January 2019 00:00

Colombo turns festive in December; the bracing air, lively parties, Christmas decorations, bright lights, visiting Sri Lankans in their flashy casual clothes; the nondescript city by the ocean is transformed. After months of lean sales, the big stor

Today's Columnists

Discipline and the devil’s disciples

Monday, 18 February 2019

That coach who repeatedly slapped a boy under his care has generated a storm of controversy on social media. On one side are aunties, bleeding hearts, civil rights champions et al who are outraged or at the very least shocked or surprised. On the oth

SL growth profile: Arrest moving down the staircase immediately to avoid hard landing on the floor

Monday, 18 February 2019

Strong message in the Sri Lanka Development Update 2019 Sri Lanka Development Update for 2019 was released by the World Bank last week. This document contains a review by the bank’s residential staff of the present state of the country’s economy

Prudential banking and saga of MTD Walkers

Monday, 18 February 2019

The matters referred to in the article under this title published in the Daily FT (15 February) are spotlighted in more detail under this scrutiny. While the general attention of the public remains more focused on recently arrested underworld kingpin

Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe’s empty rant

Monday, 18 February 2019

Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe (WR) has joined President Sirisena’s reckless verbal onslaught on the Constitutional Council (CC) that was set up by the 19th Amendment (Daily Mirror 15 February). I use “verbal onslaught” intentionally since, as

Columnists More