A session hosted by the International Chamber of Commerce Sri Lanka titled ‘What Lies Ahead with the Leading Presidential Candidates’, was held yesterday at the Galle Face Hotel.
The leading presidential candidates, namely Sajith Premadasa, Anura Kumara Dissanayake, Dr. Rohan Pallewatte, General Mahesh Senanayake and Dr. Ajantha Perera participated in the event.
SLPP presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa was absent in this session. However, he had conveyed a message, which was displayed on the screen.
The topics, that were discussed, were based on the future of the economy, creating an enabling business climate and public sector delivery. The event was in support of the Apeksha Hospital, Maharagama. The forum was moderated by ICCSL Chairman Dinesh Weerakkody and Deepal Sooriyaarachchi.
Mr Premadasa stated that a strong nation required the judiciary to be independent of government and to ensure this, the new constitution would create an independent public prosecutor, appointed by the Constitutional Council.
“We have embarked on a historical journey to launch a revolution of change which will benefit people from all walks of life. This is the beginning of an exercise which will bring about social, political and economic development. People in this country live with the expectation as to when Sri Lanka would be a strong nation. Our journey will be to create a historical political turnaround to fulfil this expectation,” Mr. Premadasa said.
“We will transform Sri Lanka into a nation which will not kneel before any country or countries. A nation with real sovereignty, where democracy is upheld in this era where some countries make an effort to intervene in internal matters of other nations,” he added.
He also pledged to build up new machinery to ensure the security of the nation with a national security council which will be legally constituted and to introduce the post of a national security advisor. “I don’t need to be told about the importance of ensuring national security" he commented.
Meanwhile, Mr Dissanayake said, one main task ahead of them in developing this country was to clean the corrupt political field which included introducing laws to prevent MPs from changing sides for money.
“We cannot develop this country without cleaning this political sphere. MPs who attend parliament sessions only 20 times in their five-year term are entitled to a pension. We will abolish it. There are MPs who are over 84-years old. Anyone can do politics until they die. We will not allow anyone to do so. We will introduce laws to prevent politicians above seventy contesting elections,” he said.
“In the process of national development, education is of paramount importance as an economic strategy. There is a correlation between education, social crimes and living standards.
“A recent study revealed that 70 per cent of drug addicts and 60 per cent of those in remand were O/L drop-outs. Economic and social crises can be resolved only by improving human resources and commercial assets. For this, we have introduced novel concepts in our election manifesto,” he added. (Sheain Fernandopulle)