A person who can guarantee national security must be elected – Murali

Muttiah Muralitharan

Former national cricketer Muththiah Muralitharan, yesterday, (08) urged the electorate to pick a capable leader who could lead a team.

Underscoring the importance of the leader consulting his team, Muralitharan said that it would be the responsibility of the leader to take decisions. The leader required right support, Muralitharan said, underscoring the importance of leading the team and not dictate terms.

Muralitharan said so addressing a side-event organized by Viyath Maga at the Colombo Shangri-La ahead of the civil society group’s annual convention later in the day.

SLPP presidential candidate wartime Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa was present at the event.

Recollecting as to how people of all communities feared for their lives during the war, which was brought to a successful conclusion in May 2009, Muralitharan said that the electorate was now asked to choose a leader against the backdrop of what he called another fear. Muralitharan was referring to the Easter Sunday attacks which claimed the lives of 270 men, women and children. Among those six targets were three Colombo hotels, including Shangri-La where Viyath Maga held its event.

Muralitharan, in his brief address to the participants said that he would choose a person capable of ensuring the safety and security of the people.

Muralitharan dismissed assertions that the next leader could be a businessman or a top sportsman. A smiling Muralitharan said that even if he was chosen as the next leader he wouldn’t be able to fulfill obligations as he lacked experience in governance. The leader has to be a politician, he declared.

Commenting briefly on the northern conflict, Muralitharan faulted both the government and the LTTE for failing to resolve the national problem through negotiations. Muralitharan pointed out that they had several opportunities to settle the national problem though they squandered such chances. Finally, the war was brought to an end in May 2009, Muralitharan said, adding that it was the greatest day in his life. Muralitharan also made a reference to Indo-Lanka Peace Accord signed in July 1987.

Leaders have to lead by examples not by words, the once top cricketer said. “Words are good. But examples are better.” People followed such leaders, Muralitharan said, declaring his support for such a person. The same applied even to a member of parliament.

Muralitharan also discussed as a Tamil how he feared for his life. Referring to the touring Sri Lankan team being attacked in Pakistan, Muralitharan insisted that the people didn’t know what fear was.

Sri Lanka now needed a leader who could guarantee security and bring an end to continuing uncertainty and turmoil.

Muralitharan urged the electorate to choose a person who had done something for the country.

The world record holding ex-cricketer also recollected as to how his father was wounded and their property as well as those of other Tamils were destroyed in mob attacks years ago. The former cricketer said that many Tamils fled the country though his father stayed back. Muralitharan said that his father’s courage strengthened him and he too was determined to continue.

Muralitharan recalled as to how he always avoided the road leading to parliament due to the threat posed by the LTTE. Politicians on that road could have been targeted anytime, Muralitharan said, the fear remained till the war was brought to an end.

Muralitharan ridiculed those who declared they were ready to die for the country. There was no point in dying, the requirement was to rule it properly.

A leader should be smart in decision making whether right or wrong, Muralitharan said. He also recalled the difficulties experienced by the Army on the northern front.

Muralitharan had never backed any political party before though many sought his support.

Muralitharan said that he wanted a leader who was ready to serve the people.

(Source: The Island – By Shamindra Ferdinando)