‘I did not enter politics to entertain myself’
Malsha Kumaratunga, daughter of Minister Jeevan Kumaratunga faced the SLFP Nomination Board hoping to be selected as a candidate for the forthcoming WPC elections. She explained to DM why she wants to be elected to office as a provincial councilors and what she expects to do if she gets elected.
Q. WHAT PROMPTED YOUR ENTRY INTO POLITICS AT THIS POINT?
A: It was a plan on the cards. Following my graduation, I returned to Sri Lanka with expectations of laying the foundation for my political career. As an initial step, I began working as my father’s personal assistant for nearly two years and even afterwards continued to assist him because I believe in on-the-job training as it opens up chances to meet people and obtain an up-close understanding of their issues and expectations.
I also believe that this is the ideal time for my entry into politics as my intentions are genuine and I have a sound educational background that would help my interest in serving the people.
Q. WHY DO YOU THINK PEOPLE SHOULD VOTE FOR YOU?
A: I am not demanding anything from the people. But they need to know that their valuable vote should be cast on behalf of an educated individual with genuine intentions to make a difference; someone with a true claim to be their representative. I believe my genuine intentions will reflect upon my work and would offer an incentive for people to make a choice to vote for me.
Q. DO YOU BELIEVE THAT BEING A POLITICIAN’S DAUGHTER IS A QUALIFICATION FOR YOU TO ENTER POLITICS?
A: Even during the Nominations Board interview on Monday, it was repeatedly mentioned by the board members that my father had not even mentioned my appearance before the Board at least through a casual phone call. I wished to make an impression and make my case on my own and my father too agreed that I should convince the Board on my own, regarding my ability to contest at the upcoming provincial elections.
Being linked to a political family does have its edge, but my decision to enter politics was not a naïve choice I made to simply keep myself occupied or to entertain myself. I am thankful for the impact that I would carry due to my familial political connections but I don’t wish for it to become my whole identity.
Q. WHAT ISSUES DO YOU BELIEVE SHOULD GET PRIORITY AT THE WPC ELECTIONS?
A: I am planning to carry my message to the masses based on three main points – strengthening gender equality, improving living standards and helping people achieve a life free of poverty and providing accessibility to education for every child.
Q. DO YOU BELIEVE THE GOVERNMENT HAS FOLLOWED THE RIGHT COURSE OF ACTION IN RESPONDING TO WAR CRIMES ALLEGATIONS AND IN DEALING WITH THE RISING PRESSURES FROM THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY BEFORE THE UPCOMING UNHCR SESSIONS, ON ACCOUNTABILITY ISSUES?
A: I believe the government won the war fair and square and did so in order to safeguard the citizens of this country. The defeat of the LTTE was for the greater good and I believe the government has adopted the right course of action in grappling the international pressures.
Q. WHAT ARE YOUR COMMENTS ON THE PARTICIPATION OF WOMEN IN POLITICS IN SRI LANKA, IN COMPARISON TO THE GLOBAL SITUATION?
A: I believe Sri Lanka is in a relatively better position when speaking of female participation in politics. But it can improve. Some 52% of our population is females but the political representation in comparison is disproportionate. Moreover, although certain sections of the media might attempt to portray the participation of females in politics as a battle simply among the few females, the actual competition is much more intense as at present. It is only about 15 female politicians who have been elected to local government bodies in comparison to some 300 male provincial councillors.
Source : DM