Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka)
Harsha goes emotional on eradicating corruption
Sri Lanka is poor due to a widespread culture of corruption, according to Economic Affairs Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva.
Delivering an emotional speech, which now has become his trademark, the economist-turned-politician said most in society, from the lowest rungs to the top, justify corruption, whether it is for payables or for having plans passed.
“When I ask my friends, why do you do that? They say ‘It takes a lot of time Harsha, I have a job, I’m a lawyer, I’m a doctor, I’m an engineer, I can’t waste time; I need to pay’. So it’s justified. So from the bottom, to the top, if it is justified, how can we go around and say ‘How are we going to eradicate this country of corruption?’” Dr. de Silva questioned, challenging those asking for corruption to be eradicated.
He said that having a low government salary is not an excuse to compromise on morals and that no one should condone corruption, since small corruption becomes big corruption.
During the discussion, National Human Resource Development Council Chairman Dinesh Weerakkody said, “Harsha you’re my friend, but you need to be more realistic.”
He went on to say that politicians and public officials should be well qualified and well paid.
Meanwhile, State Minister Senasinghe said that politicians should be held responsible and work to create short processes, which would leave less of a space for corruption.
He added that it would not be possible to eradicate corruption but that the government can work towards minimizing it.
Transparency International early this year ranked Sri Lanka as one of the most corrupt countries, two years after the current government came into power promising to eradicate corruption and set up good governance and transparency.