I have no data to support my contention but I have the suspicion that ordinary people have no desire to pay higher taxes when they know that the rulers, not only politicians, of this country since 2005 have plundered vast wealth from the government, invested them both here and abroad and provided sumptuously for their idle progeny to live sybarite lives. It is common knowledge that these processes continue even now.
Arrest these people and ask them to account for the vast wealth that they and their progeny have amassed and after trial, forfeit that wealth to the state and imprison or exile the plunderers. You then will have time and experience to go after the smaller fry. The effect will be electric. The education department will cease to teach the country the arts of bribe-taking and the police department will not be the refuge of bribe-takers. The government will have a surplus in its budget for one or two years and then the people will pay regular taxes, although grudgingly. Who pays taxes happily? Most people, unlike foolish politicians in parliament, know, however hazily, that government can provide services such as education, pensions and Samurdhi payments only if people pay taxes. They must be informed that loans, whether domestic or foreign need to be repaid and that out of taxes paid by the people to the government. To declare to the world that we will not pay back loans contracted again as we did early this year is to become a rogue nation. As a whole nation cannot be imprisoned for non-payment of debt, all that the rest of the world can do is cease to do business with that nation. You had better imagine the consequent predicaments.
Three governments have come and gone since 2005 with no attempts to recover stolen property and punish the plunderers. In fact, they have promoted that nefarious activity. In the Maldives, our closest neighbour to the west, a former president was sent to prison because he was found guilty of corruption. In Malaysia, our closest neighbour to the southeast, a former prime minister was sent to prison for similar offenses. In distant Argentine, our close relative in the matter of poor fiscal management, a former president was found guilty of corruption and she has appealed to a higher court. In the UK, our former ruler, a prime minister lost his job this year because he had failed to obey his own injunctions to the public. A secretary to a ministry was commissioned to report on the miscreant. This thrice-blessed land is exceptional and kleptocrats are well above the law, on a high pedestal.
It is time to find a group or groups that will recover the loot and will imprison the looters. Common people must understand the heinous nature of the crimes and that knowledge will make them furious. Urban think tanks are hopelessly ineffective in taking the message to the people in the country. They are like reservoirs without channels to carry the water down to the fields that are parched. Some group or groups with hopelessly poor prospects of becoming a government must undertake these tasks. Any group that is likely to form a government is contaminated. In our society, power not only corrupts but also protects and propagates corruption. This must end, the sooner the better.
Courtesy The Island
Disclaimer: Forfeit assets of plunderers of govt., Treasury, and people will pay higher taxes - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Latheefarook.com point-of-view