- Will not remain in politics beyond 65
- And I am saying this for the first time in the media, I met Ranil Wickremesinghe. I told my leader I’m going to meet him because he also wanted to have a chat and to see how we can merge
- Informed Sajith I will be meeting Ranil
- In touch with Namal on WhatsApp
- Sanga and Mahela refused to work with me
- Sirisena panicked when attacked on social media
Former Sports Minister Harin Fernando is among the outspoken members of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) in Parliament. However, Fernando has also been criticized for, at times, being unable to control his temper in Parliament. Speaking to the Daily Mirror online, Mr. Fernando spoke about his future plans in politics as well as of the SJB. He also recalls what he attempted to do when in government and reveals where things went wrong.The Excerpts:
Mahela and Sangakkara didn’t want to get involved in anything in Sri Lanka at that point. Perhaps they knew that the government was not very solid at that point and probably wanted to avoid controversy
Now, more than ever there seems to be a need for a strong opposition. With the split in the UNP and the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) going solo, it seems the opposition is weak in Parliament. Do you see an opportunity for the UNP and the SJB and indeed others as well coming together instead of speaking in different voices?
Well, I believe that as an opposition, it’s not about the numbers. It’s about the impact that you make. I think the SJB with a very young team have done remarkably well to highlight malpractices of the government, together with three members of the JVP. Even in the TNA we see some very young dynamic leaders who have done very well. So I’m actually thinking it’s not just the numbers of opposition members, but it should be a broader alliance when fighting more issues of the country, which is which for the people.
Q But is your voice really heard in parliament…
Well, one can ignore it, but the people are hearing it. And that’s what you see online and that’s what you see in the comments. That’s why you see the uprising of the people.
Q But we see a lot of people on social media critical of your party leader…
The thing is this. If you look at and analyze the social media today, there are lots of trolls and bots being operated. They are manipulated. There are different arms, different companies established to make comments. But the beauty of social media is that you need to identify which is fake, which is not, which is genuine and which is authentic. So that’s something that people engage properly and understand. I think that the social media concept has to be accepted.I think Maithripala Sirisena, the former President, got it all wrong. When he saw negative comments, he panicked. We see President Rajapaksa panicking right now with all these comments. The crucial and critical point is actually letting them comment and letting them engage.If I was in government, I would have actually taken it positively. I would not really try to stop them, but try and make sure that they see the positivity, because that’s a way of survival. That didn’t happen with the Yahapalanaya government. He (Sirisena) blocked Facebook. I was the Minister, but I could not do anything. The TRC was with the President. The same thing is happening today.
“I believe this is an ideal opportunity that all the parties could get together. Have a common agenda for ten years, get the country back on track, don’t have elections, don’t spend money on elections, invest it to development”
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