|UNP MPs explain the incident|
Workers as hirelings, Editorial, The Island
An attempt by some UNP parliamentarians to inspect the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) refinery at Sapugaskanda was thwarted by some pro-government workers who staged a protest on Thursday. The situation, however, was not as bad as in Hambantota, where a group of UNP MPs came under a rotten egg attack during a fact finding mission. But, the denial of entry to Opposition lawmakers who seek to visit a public venture after obtaining prior permission is condemnable.
The CPC is a den of thieves. It is one of the most corrupt public ventures as could be seen from the multi-million-dollar oil hedging scam. Rackets there range from pilfering oil from bowsers to ordering substandard fuel for huge commissions. If it could be rid of corruption and malpractices and run efficiently, the economy will get a turbo boost.
The Opposition undertakes much-advertised inspection tours obviously to embarrass the government and gain political mileage. That is the name of the game in politics. The UNP is not concerned about the wellbeing of public ventures which it ran down and divested liberally while it was in power. But, it must not be denied its right to visit public institutions; its fact-finding missions help expose shortcomings therein and, therefore, serve a useful purpose whatever its political objectives may be. On the other hand, parliamentarians are duty bound to keep a watching brief on those tasked with running public enterprises. It is a case of setting a thief to catch a thief!
In dealing with UNP MPs on fact finding missions the government seems to have changed its modus operandi. Hereafter, it will neither assault nor hug the UNP MPs who visit loss-incurring ventures; instead it will deploy its trade union lackeys to confront them.
What one gathers from the government’s reaction to the UNP’s inspection tours is that the manner in which public ventures are being run does not bear scrutiny. If the government has nothing to hide, it should be able to invite its political rivals and the media to come and see. Transparency is the best antidote to corruption, mismanagement and inefficiency. Let the Opposition be urged to continue with its fact finding missions.
UNP MPs don’t need permission from SLFP trade unionists - Harsha
The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) is controlled by a group of drunken lowlifes of the SLFP-affiliated trade union, the United National Party (UNP) charged today.
“We saw this in photos yesterday,” UNP MP Harsha de Silva told reporters in Colombo. He stated that certain trade union activists had taken off their shirts and were spouting filth while one of them almost fell from the balcony.
A tense situation was reported near the Sapugaskanda oil refinery yesterday as several UNP MPs on a fact finding mission to the plant were denied entry by a group of employees.
He stated that intelligence units are now claiming that the UNP MPs were visiting the oil refinery to engage in acts of sabotage.
He stated that a Police Constable has submitted a report to court alleging that intelligence officers have received information that a group of UNP MPs are attempting to disturb the peace by illegally entering the oil refinery and creating a tense situation with the workers. “This is a nice story,” he said.
He accused intelligence units of completely distorting information while pointing out that the MPs traveled with media personnel and that they had no plans to create a disturbance and destroy public property
UNP Members of Parliament do not have to take permission from lowlifes in the Sri Lanka Freedom Party trade union to visit their places of employment, de Silva said