Career politician since 1988, Anura Kumara Dissanayaka held the position of National Organiser of the Socialist Students’ Association and later appointed to the Central Working Committee of the JVP in 1995. He was elected to parliament in 2001.
Your educational and professional qualifications?
My main qualification is my experience in politics. (Anura Kumara holds a Bachelor’s degree in Physics from the University of Kelaniya.)
Vision for education of children and youth?
The education sector in the country needs to undergo not just minor changes, but radical changes in every part of the education system. More opportunities should be provided for students who are in school and even those who have finished their school education to grasp global knowledge and adapt to the modern trends in education.
Views on technical education in Sri Lanka?
The problem in technical education in Sri Lanka is that technical knowledge is in one side while developments and innovations, taking place are in another side. Unless both these sides are joined together, it is very difficult to expect positive outcome of any effort that we make. Many educated people have failed to apply technical knowledge into their practical lives. As other countries do, we should utilise innovations and developments in technology to make our lives easier and more efficient.
Your ideas for improving employment prospects of youth?
In order to minimise the emigration of highly trained and qualified people from the country which we call brain drain, first of all we must ensure social security. Even if there are enough employment opportunities in a country, still the youth would opt to foreign employment due to the lack of social security in that country. Plans should be set to keep the youth in the country and get their contribution to build the economy. We must ensure that the youth have easy access to data, information, technology and especially opportunities in the employment sector.
What initiatives do you propose to empower entrepreneurship?
Nowadays, people make decisions not based on what they feel, but based on data, information and predictions. The problem in Sri Lanka is that such important information is not passed to the people in need. If father is a farmer, then his son is also stuck in the farmer job. They have no access to knowledge related to any entrepreneurship opportunities that are wholly possible in our country. They must be given the chance to pursue non-traditional jobs. People are trying to start new entrepreneurship opportunities which is a good sign. In Colombo-Kandy road, we see so many stalls put up by people. But, they don’t exist for long. Had they been given information regarding economical and marketing aspects, they would have gained better results from their stalls.
Stance on MCC?
MCC consists of clauses that make a negative impact on the sovereignty of our country. It has the power to give the green light to American companies to take over our economy. Therefore, I give a big no to the MCC.
Your solutions for ailing public transport system?
Other countries are taking innovative measures to minimise individual cost of transport while Sri Lankans are spending a huge amount from their monthly salary for their transport requirements. The main unaddressed problem in Sri Lanka’s transport sector is the irregularity nature. There are around 21,000 private buses and 18,000 bus drivers operating in the country at the moment. Entering a new private bus into the fleet is as easy as planting a tree. Moreover, urbanisation issue should also be addressed more effectively to develop the transport system.
Vision for protection of environment and climate change adaptation?
Laws in this country are not applied to everyone equally. Those who have money and power somehow get away. Just like in any other sector in the country, this issue exists in the wildlife sector as well. In moving ahead in a capitalism-adapted society, environment is also given a price. Those who are in power often ignore to realise how priceless environment is. All what they care is giving a price tag for everything expecting faster profits. Our priority has been given to sustainable development in the NPP manifesto. We have understood that environment is not just for the use of today, but for many generations to come.
Views on discrimination based on sexual orientation?
Let me limit my answer to one sentence. People should realise that outward appearance doesn’t matter in love and it never should be an obstacle for love.
Highlight of your manifesto?
Education, health and transport.
Why should people vote for you?
To defeat the challenges that Sri Lanka is currently facing.
To overcome the difficulties that Sri Lankans are experiencing.
To build humanism among people.
To direct the country towards real development goals.
To establish a law abiding society.