Sri Lanka Post-Election 2020: What are the People’s Demands & Aspirations
JR, if alive, would be a very happy man. His constitution after 42 years saw a single party win a majority without going on bended knee to minority kingmakers. This victory is special not only because it saw the majority converge again but it also saw some in the minorities take a step forward to integrate and assimilate at election. It was a welcome change & one that can & should be encouraged. With covid-19 not only Sri Lanka but globally, the citizens of the world are undergoing tremendous difficulties. None of these will subside but get worse. We need a peaceful and resilient society to deal with the issues that we will face. We also need to indigenously devise alternatives. Working overseas is temporarily an issue. Out of the box thinking is required to devise avenues for employment at home. We must secure our borders and ensure the health of our citizens matters above all else. Inspite of much odds, knowing that the country needed a powerful government the majority gave a vote that even SLPP did not expect. The trust and powers, the people have delegated, places a powerful obligation to the SLPP Government to honor the commitments & expectations of the voters.That Public Trust cannot be broken. The people expect the Government to be different to that of the previous government.Nothing treacherous or in secret should be ventured into. What differentiates the SLPP leadership from the previous government is the belief that they are no traitors to the Nation like the previous Government. They cannot prove the voters wrong.This places an enormous obligation on the SLPP to deliver what the People demand & desire.
- Repealing of 19amendment– cause of confusions, contradictions and chaos since its legally questionable passing in April 2015. None of the constitutional council heads are ‘independent’ and their selections have ended up sent home for abuse of office. 19a can be immediately annulled given the SLPP has the 2/3 majority needed.
- Repeal 13amendment & PC system ONLY AFTER rejecting in toto the MCC-SOFA-ACSAmilitary-economic-development agreement. 13a is the only obstacle to privatizing state land which MCC demands. MCC expects its agreement to be passed in Parliament. like 13a.
- Legally prohibit any Government elected for a term from selling or bartering National Assets/Resources and Strategic areasto foreign governments/transnational companies that will impact detrimentally on the Nation & its citizens. No agreements can be signed or agreed in secret. A Govt is only custodian of People’s Power delegated by the People to them.
- Pass law in Parliament to register all NGOs, hold them accountable & audit them & their heads. Present & future destabilizing exercises will be done through foreign government funded local NGOs – therefore the money channeled to them, what they do with that money, how it is spent, on what it is spent need to be audited and accounted for. The 21/4 mass murders make this demand crucial. Encourage & Createnew Patriotic Civil Society Groups.
- Change Electoral voting system. ITAK obtained 327,168 votes (2.82% of island result) & secured 10 seats but UNP that obtained 249,435 votes (2.15% of island result) got no seats except 1 national list seat. This is unfair & should be corrected to bring a fair electing of candidates while raising the % of entry to original 12.5% and imposing strict fines to dissuade small groups & individuals contesting elections mostly from one or two districts when they know they will not secure votes but burdening the tax payer with the costs to arrange facilities for them.
- One Law for All– wherever any law provides special legal status, it must be removed. Ex: Marriage Laws/Polygamy & No Child Marriage. If Sinhalese & Tamils can have only one spouse, the same must apply to Muslims. As free education to children must be equitably and equally be offered by the State. No marriage can be legal with anyone less than 16 years of age. No special food labeling favoring a religion. No two laws allowed (civil or criminal). No sub-laws per different religions.
- No ethnic-religious-based political parties– such parties represent only their ethnic community or religion & are a source for discord and communal tensions.
- Foundation for a Corrupt Free Society – Ombudsman appointed by Government to look into Public Officials, Magistrates & other State employeesabusing their office & indulging in corrupt practices to have action taken against them following complaint and investigation of their accounts etc. Also ensure that politicians do not abuse their portfolio to use State funds only for their community. This is a key grievance by the majority of citizens in Sri Lanka.
- Absolve all OUR ARMED FORCES from bogus chargesframed and accepted via co-sponsored UNHRC resolutions
- Take legal action against Separation of Sri Lanka (enforcing 6thamendment) and impose bans and legal action against LTTE terrorism promotionlocally & internationally via Sri Lanka Missions. In so doing, the Tamil community will find it easier to assimilate and integrate with the rest of the communities. The obstacle is the LTTE diaspora and Tamil politicians pulling Tamil people towards a bogus separate homeland. Same should be applied to radical Islamic groups.
- Education National Policy – National History Compulsory subject for all – Schools, Public/Private/semi-Govt & international from pre-school to O/L (endorsed by a patriotic panel of educators/historians) & Patriotic initiatives for all citizens.Only those who are proud of the nation comes forward to defend it. Pride comes in knowing one’s history & being proud of it. This is a must as it provides a key defense when external threats increase.
- Foreign service & Other public service personnel must also be briefed during State training of pre-colonial history& who the real patriots/heroes of Sri Lankaare as they are our representatives overseas.
- State must continue to recognize the primordial Sinhala Buddhist identity of Sri Lanka constitutionally. The civilizational heritage/history must continue. This is non-negotiable and cannot be compromised.
- Follow 70-30 representation moduleat all levels to unbiasedly represent the demographic ratio of Sri Lanka wherever State is involved.
- State protection for all historical heritage/archaeological sites– ensure no incursions & land take overs.
- Moratorium on construction of new places of religious worship via foreign funds– these are sources of ethnic/religious tensions and have also been source for new terrorism & radical ideologies. Stern action against Municipalities giving approvals for illegal places of worship in residential areas.
- Enact Anti-Conversion Bill– again a foreign funded destabilizing initiative
- National Anthem to be only in One Language– the original language in which it was written & sung by all. It must be mandatory for all citizens to speak & write basic Sinhalese. Tamil is secondary language & English is link language. State programs to teach basic conversation in Sinhala to Tamils and Tamil to Sinhalese should be launched as a fun program and not part of syllabus.
- Special regulations for dual citizens/citizens marrying foreignersto ensure land ownership (title deed) does not fall into foreign hands.
- Illegal immigrantsreturned to places of origin
A compassionate society, following the guiding principle of Ahimsa that protects all living beings by passing Animal Welfare Bill and protecting natural environment, fauna & flora with punitive action against violators.
We have as President, the brother of the PM. The PM commanded the troops & brought an end to 30 years of terror. The President has commanded the troops, intel, police & public service to handle covid-19 pandemic magnificently. Both are leaders in their own right & do not hesitate to show leadership when it is needed.
With many external parties attempting to sabotage our progress, derail our development, forcing us to compromise and appease to their whims and fancies, our aspiration is that these two leaders will withstand all pressures and stand up to all these challenges knowing that their defense is us, the Citizens who will protect the leaders who defend the Nation.
Our anger at the previous government was in the light of a series of treacheries against the State and the majority Sinhala Buddhists.
The citizens will protect all leaders who protect & defend the Nation & its People.
The day, leaders forsake that Trust and Duty, the People will reject them too.
Our hope is for all the communities to be allowed to live on their terms and on their rules not that which are written on some foreign paper and to foreign formats. Let everyone not forget under the Sinhale kings who ruled for thousands of years there was no evidence of any majority-minority tiffs or riots. All the problems began after 443 years of foreign occupation as a result of their divide and rule policies which sought to pit one community against the other and divide those communities too.
Inspite of the handful of orchestrated ugly events of the past, we are all in agreement that we continue to work in the same offices, we have fun, we share our food and take part in each other’s festivities, we have our differences but its nothing that needs to be taken to a foreign embassy to complain about or to write to the UN or apply for asylum or even demand a separate state.
If differences of the nature these foreign parties speak of constitutes need for a separation – then even a home & families would be divided in time to come.
This is not the harmony we want or wish for.
Let us create our own harmony & peace together minus any extremisms, racisms or separatisms fed into the minds of the people by external parties.
Shenali D Waduge