Sajith pledges middle path under SJB Govt. at packed convention

Says he rejects extreme capitalism and extreme socialism Unanimously re-elected SJB Leader; appoints office bearers

Stressing that the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) rejects extreme capitalism and extreme socialism and advocates instead for a middle path and a mixed economy, Opposition and SJB Leader Sajith Premadasa, who was unanimously re-elected the SJB Leader at the party’s 2022 Convention, claimed that a future government led by the SJB will provide lasting solutions to the issues faced by the people, including poverty, through a governance system centred on social market and social democratic economic principles.

Speaking during the SJB rally at the Campbell Park ground in Colombo yesterday (11), he said: “We reject extreme capitalism and socialism. Instead, we follow a middle path. Our programme is to ensure equitable distribution of resources and income to all sections of the population through the establishment of humanistic capitalism. Also, we will provide sustainable solutions to people’s problems including poverty under an SJB Government instead of mere temporary solutions.”

Claiming that the SJB is ready to take the responsibility of rebuilding the economy that the Rajapaksas (a reference to the family of former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and incumbent MP Mahinda Rajapaksa) have destroyed, he said that the SJB will establish a programme to eliminate all forms of poverty including income poverty, consumer poverty, investment poverty, unemployment, and high inflation through targeted programmes such as those implemented during the tenure of slain President Ranasinghe Premadasa.

“The current Government is constricting the economy and crushing people’s lives by increasing the prices of goods and electricity and water tariffs. However, these are not solutions to the current problems. Also, some extremist capitalist groups think that market forces can solve all the country’s problems; however, this is incorrect. It requires government intervention, contribution, and strength. We are ready to install a mixed programme and economic system to overcome the challenges that have arisen at present,” said Premadasa.

Under a Government led by the SJB, he said, they will be working to establish an export-oriented development economy, adding that the SJB, towards that end, will work to focus on areas such as the tourism industry, as well as export-oriented and information technology-based industries. He added that the SJB will also work to solve problems that have arisen in the provision of free education and healthcare at present, and upgrade them to the next level.

“We need to restructure loss-making public institutions. It is something that should be done, but will not be doing so by grabbing the employees by the neck and pulling them out. We will do it by protecting the rights of employees and institutions. It can be done through programmes like joint projects and public-private partnerships. We will also implement a strong programme to eliminate corruption. All those who stole from and destroyed this country will be brought before the courts, and what they stole will be returned to the people,” he added.

Commenting on the national ethnic issues, the Opposition Leader said that an SJB Government will work to divide power as much as possible in a united, undivided, and sovereign Sri Lanka in order to provide solutions to the country’s ethnic problem. He also mentioned that they will revoke the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act and introduce new laws to strengthen national security, and bring justice to all the disappeared, such as Journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda and the murdered including Journalist Lasantha Wickramatunga.

“We will establish a youth-centric form of governance, through which we will empower the youth to make decisions and participate in the decision-making process. Also, we will implement special economic, social, and political programmes for the women of this country who are constantly suffering, and to secure the future of the children. We are committed to this, and we have to protect the public service too. It is an asset for us, and we believe that the public service should undergo changes according to the current conditions.”

Speaking further, he said that the SJB is also committed to ensuring human rights such as freedom of speech, freedom of thought, and freedom of movement. He emphasised that the SJB is not prepared to seek permission from the current Government when taking to the streets to demand solutions to the people’s problems in the future. He said that under an SJB Government, they will work to establish and protect not only political and civil rights, but also to make economic, social, religious, and cultural rights the basic rights of the people.

“We will be establishing law and order in the country. At present, drug trafficking is taking place on a large scale. Therefore, all those involved in drug trafficking will be given the highest possible punishment regardless of rank. Law and order and justice and equality will be established, and a programme to eliminate corruption will be implemented. That programme will be implemented under the leadership of SJB MP Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka,” he said.

Noting that the people’s struggle against the Rajapaksas is still valid, Premadasa said that there are a large number of people who have been jailed for supporting the struggle in various ways. He said that the SJB stands for all of them and is ready to take that struggle into their hands and implement a massive revolution in building the country. He also recalled the protest held in front of the Presidential Secretariat and the protest march from Kandy to Colombo organised by the SJB during the people’s struggle.

“A number of groups who claim that everyone who is involved in politics is the same are currently engaged in a massive conspiracy to destroy the SJB. At this moment when those cowardly and regressive forces are conspiring against the SJB, I would like to tell them that no one will be allowed to place a hand on the SJB as long as Ranasinghe Premadasa’s son is alive. I am challenging them to not conspire from their mansions, but to go down to the roads and try to destroy the SJB with the people. They cannot do so; they are cowards and it is only the SJB that can stand with the people.

“I would like to say to these forces, don’t be cowardly, don’t be timid. Elections are the best litmus test to gauge your size in a democratic system. We need an election. We are ready to accept that challenge. Our party is not limited to a gang or a family. The most capable, humble, strong, disciplined, law-abiding, honest team that can recover and develop the country is in the SJB. Our programme is to bring Sri Lanka to the first place in the world. There are no caste and class divisions. The SJB is a party that goes on a journey of brotherhood,” he said further.

During the rally, which was attended by SJB MPs and thousands of SJB supporters, the officer bearers of the party for 2023 were appointed. Taking to the stage, SJB General Secretary MP Ranjith Maddumabandara nominated Premadasa’s name for the position of party leader for 2023 and asked for a show of hands to second it, following which the latter was unanimously re-elected as the party’s leader.

In addition, MP Field Marshal Fonseka was appointed as SJB Chairman, MP Madduma Bandara as General Secretary, MP Tissa Attanayake as National Organiser, and MP Dr. Harsha de Silva as Treasurer.

MPs Lakshman Kiriella, Imthiaz Bakeer Markar, Kabeer Hashim, Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, and former MP Ravindra Samaraweera were appointed Senior Vice Presidents, while MPs Thalatha Atukorale, Gayantha Karunathilaka, Dilip Wedaarachchi, H.M. Haleem, and J.C. Alawathuwala, and former MPs Chandrani Bandara, P. Harrison, and Sujeewa Senasinghe were appointed Vice Presidents.

MP Nalin Bandara Jayamaha was appointed Head of Operations, MP Eran Wickramaratne as Research and Development Secretary, MP Niroshan Perera as International Affairs Secretary, MPs Ashok Abeysinghe, Rohini Kumari Wijerathna Kavirathna, Vadivel Suresh, and Thushara Indunil as Deputy Secretaries, and MPs Buddhika Pathirana and Ajith Mannapperuma and former MP Ranjith Aluvihare as Deputy National Organisers. Former MP Ajith P. Perera was appointed SJB Chief Executive Officer and former MPs Gamini Jayawickrama Perera and P. Dayaratna as Patrons.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

%d bloggers like this: