(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – President Gotabaya Rajapaksa delivering the government’s policy statement in the Parliament today called on all government and opposition parties to unite inside and outside parliament to overcome the challenges the country is facing.
The President also pointed out that politicians who incite the people against each other on narrow political interests should stop it now.
The Head of State arrived at the Parliament this morning for the ceremonial opening of the second session of the 9th Parliament. He was received at the Parliament Complex by Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena and Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dasanayake.
The new session of Parliament began with a focus on traditional activities, sans gun salutes, motorcades or cavalry. Students of Nawala Presidential Girls’ College sang Jayamangala stanzas and welcomed the President at the main entrance.
Despite the promise of a specific work to be done within five years, the government had to face various obstacles due to the global epidemic. However, the President said that the government has never forgotten to fulfill its basic responsibilities.
The President also reminded that despite the economic hardships, the government has taken steps to ensure that the health of the people is a priority and to bear all the necessary expenses.
President Rajapaksa said that the government would continue to implement the program launched to eradicate the drug menace, adding that the government had taken steps in the last two years to curb the country’s rampant underworld.
Sri Lanka is a country that has always respected international law and conventions, the President said adding that the present government did not condone human rights violations during his tenure and they are determined to rectify the false narratives circulated in international fora about Sri Lanka’s human rights situation.
The Head of the State said he rejects racism and that the present government wants to protect the dignity and rights of all citizens of this country equally and that the primary responsibility of the government is to facilitate all people without any discrimination.
The President requested all Members of Parliament representing the North and East in Parliament to temporarily put aside various political ideologies and support the Government’s program to improve the living standards of the people in their areas.
“It would be detrimental to the country if someone were acting with political motives to misinterpret and create a misconception among the people against foreign investment. The need for new investments for the development of the country is critical at this moment.”
President Rajapaksa also said that more efforts should be made in the future to attract new investments in selected sectors.
The President said that the government has taken steps to increase the capacity of state universities and that he would invite Parliament to a broad debate on whether to allow the establishment of high quality non-state universities in the country.
President Rajapaksa said that the future of this country depends on the way we act today and stressed that we are all responsible to future generations.
“This country belongs to the people living in the present as well as in the future. We are only the current trustees of this country.”