Hope for a New Sri Lanka with a truly National President | Daily News


Hope for a New Sri Lanka with a truly National President

As the contest for Presidency heats up, all Sri Lankan citizens are yearning for the dawn of a new era heralding peace and prosperity for all.

As the United National Party has finally announced its’ candidate, it is pertinent for enlightened voters to delve deeper into the background of this candidate.

The UNP candidate for Presidency, Sajith Premadasa has proved convincingly as a youthful democrat with nearly 20 years of experience as a Parliamentarian how futile it is to confer status to malicious schemes of a few who excel in undermining those who are greatly respected by the people with baseless and concocted tales. As a refined politician who never insults others, he is also magnanimous enough to forgive them.

As a politician with a sense of calling about the field, Sajith knew that Sri Lankan political culture is driven by personal animosities of insecure people, more than by policies. He did not get distracted since he knew very well that they were driven by jealousy, malice, hatred, insanity; leading to character assassination and if possible even assassination if these weaklings lose control over themselves.

It is in this context that Sajith could maintain a good balance with emotional and spiritual stability, continuing to earn respect from most members of the National Executive Committee as well as the Parliamentary Group of the United National Party.

Good governance through shelter

For Sajith, Good Governance principles has much to do with pro-people action. Hence, he used the limited mandate (1/6th of the Housing Ministry of President Premadasa) to be in charge of Rural Housing. The other vital components like urban, fisheries and up-country housing were distributed among several ministers by the regime he helped to establish in 2015. However, as a blessing in disguise, the pace in which he worked through the Housing Ministry opened the eyes of the people of the entire republic of Sri Lanka, as housing is universally recognized as a basic human need that leads to human dignity.

Assets for the assetless masses

From a national development perspective, Housing for Sajith was a holistic matter. With the houses, he also ensured that people with nothing gained valuable assets by way of ownership over land. This was a great victory for a large citizenry who were at the receiving end of deprivation and discrimination since being homeless and landless they couldn’t make sense of life.

It is ironic and even satanic that there are those who feel resentful of this achievement; without realizing that their own brethren in this beautiful land live without any sense of human dignity without a piece of land to build a home. This grand concept of shelter for the homeless of Sri Lanka, caught the imagination of the international community as the United Nations declared an International Year of Shelter for the homeless of the world inspired by the speech made by President Ranasinghe Premadasa in 1987 at the United Nations.

Sajith with great vigour continued to serve the people of this country on this foundation having served as the Deputy Minister of Health and Nutrition when he first entered Parliament twenty years ago.

Modest life style

Sajith was born as the son of an illustrious politician who became a Cabinet Minister before he was born in 1967. Sajith had the privilege to be brought up at Temple Trees, at the age of ten years. For fifteen years he was the only Son of the Prime Minister and President of the Republic.

Having enjoyed the best in life, he was socialized into a culture where he saw a most disciplined and conscientious father, Ranasinghe Premadasa starting each day at four in the morning, to be at the service of ordinary people of the land who had legitimate grievances. He also saw his father serving them with great zeal, never saying no, to what they legitimately asked for.

Commitment to walk the talk

Sajith also saw unlike many in politics today, how President Premadasa wanted his Ministers to work with zeal and commitment, be target oriented, as without such an approach the government based on the Manifesto, “NEW VISION: NEW DEAL” would not be possible.

Being principled, his father meant business, not only with Sri Lankans but also with Foreigners, as the status of our motherland could not be compromised.

In this context, he was firm with India while never being anti- Indian, by demanding the withdrawal of Indian Peace Keeping Troops within a time framework. He was also firm with the High Commissioner for the United Kingdom William Gladstone who interfered with local elections, for the sake of Sri Lanka’s dignity.

Treading the path the people trod

Sajith is extremely concerned about the feudal tendencies of Sri Lankan national leaders who created a vast disparity between them, their family members and the people. He believes that leaders should not follow one model of education for their children, and another sub-standard model for the ordinary people of the land. Therefore, equality of status and equal distribution of resources should be the basis of the new socio-economic, political and cultural order he would establish for Sri Lankans.

For instance, there cannot be Swabasha education for the poor children while those in the urban centers enjoy more than enough resources for subjects like English, Mathematics, IT and Science.

Reconciliation and peace

Sajith has made it abundantly clear that power sharing through maximum devolution of power within a Unitary form of government is what he believes in, and that there should not be lop sided treatment of the nine provinces under his administration.

He believes that devolution of power cannot be reduced to empty rhetoric, as happened in the past, and it is high time that the potential of constitutional reforms be maximized to solve the age old grievances of all communities.

A most significant factor is that Sajith as a practicing Buddhist, believes in equality of all people with utmost respect for peaceful co-existence. He has often said in public that what the Buddha taught was: “May all living beings live in peace and not may Sinhalese only live in peace”. He has reiterated clearly that protection of the interests of the majority community should never be at the expense of other communities and their culture and religion in Sri Lanka.

The way forward

We should know by now that governments are a mirror reflection of a wise or foolish people. Either we have learned lessons through those who governed Sri Lanka before, acting with utmost impunity; gunning down people indiscriminately, or prepared to turn over an entirely new chapter based on responsible and accountable democratic governance.

Let us fulfill our obligation towards the future generation by electing a principled and humane leader who has earned the trust of all communities. 

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