Colombo, December 19 (newsin.asia): The visiting Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Razak, told the Northern Province Chief Minister, C.V.Wigneswaran, here on Tuesday, that he would send a Fact Finding Team to the province to explore areas where Malaysia can invest and render aid.
At the 45 minute meeting held in Shangri-La hotel, the Malaysian Prime Minister also said that he would consider the Chief Minister’s request for a “revolving fund” to help social and economic developing projects in the province, especially those meant to help the 49,000 women-headed households and the 11,000 former cadres of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
Premier Razak said that he would act as per the report of the Fact Finding Team which will include experts of Sri Lankan Tamil origin in it.
Malaysia has a significant Jaffna Tamil population which had migrated during British rule in Ceylon and Malaya. Razak’s delegation comprised Tamils from India and Sri Lanka such as Dato Samy Velu, Dr.Subramaniam ,and the PM’s personal physician, Dr.Jayendran.
Razak’s decision to send a Fact Finding Team was is was in response to Chief Minister Wigneswaran’s presentation in which he claimed that the Tamil-majority Northern province is short of money because the government in Colombo gives only 10% of what it collects from the province as taxes.
Wigneswaran further said that the Provincial Council has little or no control over development work because the priorities are fixed by Central government 0 ministers who plan and execute projects of their liking without consulting the council. One of the Ministers is planning to put up an open zoo over 600 acres of land, when civilians in the province are being deprived of agricultural land, the Chief Minister said.
According to Wigneswaran, the Sri Lankan armed forces are still holding 62,000 acres of civilian land, and have so far surrendered only 5000 acres to their civilian owners so far since the end of the war in May 2009.
The Malaysian Prime Minister expressed surprise at the plan to build a zoo over 600 acres when there are 11,000 ex-cadres to be rehabilitated.
Wigneswaran went on to say that there is a need for at least 50, 000 more houses though India had built 50,000 and other agencies and the government had chipped in too.
The Chief Minister also said that the Sri Lankan army is present in large numbers in the North and that they have been running businesses ,farms and tourist resorts. The army’s presence has also been a problem for the 49,000 women headed households and 11,000 former LTTE cadres, he added.
In the press release on the meeting, Wigneswaran alleged that the meeting with the Malaysian PM had taken place despite the “manifest displeasure” of the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry.
(The featured image at the top shows Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak receiving a gift from Northern Province Chief Minister C.V.Wigneswaran)