“We pledge to create a country that everyone can live peacefully. At this time, there are three camps. The United National Party (UNP) camp, Rajapaksa camp and NPP camp. But if you consider all three, we are the only camp that is capable of developing the country. We are the only camp that is free from corruption,” he stressed.
He said the NPP would introduce new vision to address long-lasting economic challenges such as the debt burden and slow economic growth, with approaches that will include youth actively participating in the country’s economic activities.
He noted the NPP policies would encourage youth to involve themselves in economic activities, and will provide safe passage for start-ups, which will attract younger generation towards entrepreneurship. He noted NPP policies would provide assurance to the country that the economy will remain steady and less risky for investment.
Referring to demographic patterns, Dissanayake noted he would create a safer country for the aged population, stating that the NPP would introduce policies such that aged parents would not have to go through unpleasant experiences or neglect.
“There were incidents where children left their old parents on the roadside or kept parents in cages. I assure such incidents will be ended under our Government. We will introduce new mechanisms to protect the aged population.”
He pledged to protect the rights of disabled persons in the country, and include them in the country’s economic development. He argued that it was the Government’s responsibility to protect disabled and vulnerable persons.
“As much as 1.7 million of the country’s population are disabled persons. Most of the developed nations have policies to protect their disabled population. We will introduced those policies to assure equal rights for them. We will create a new culture where everyone will feel safe.”
Moving on to protecting women’s rights, Dissanayake pledged to create an environment where anyone, regardless of gender, could enjoy equal rights and opportunities.
He noted if he was elected, he would improve the country’s healthcare system, so that every citizen would enjoy free health services to fulfil their needs. He argued that the current discussions on health were based on needs of health service providers, but that will be changed under their Government.
“Health should be about those who come to seek services, but now it is all about service providers; doctors and other employees in the sector. However, this will be changed under our Government, and we will take measures to provide the best health care facilities as possible.”
Referring to developing the rural economy, Dissanayake noted that the NPP would introduce a special economic plan to uplift the living standard in rural areas. He said the NPP is made up of a group of experts that are capable of identifying the country’s key challenge areas, and providing the best solutions to address the challenges that the country has faced over the past 70 years.
Commenting on his key opponents, Dissanayake noted that the UNP and Rajapaksas did not have clean track records. He argued that the people voted against the Rajapaksas in 2015 due to allegations levelled against them.
“For an instance if you take the Rajapaksas, and their history. The entire Rajapaksa family is accused of corruption. People voted against Rajapaksa in 2015 because of their corruption. All vital economic centres were controlled by the Rajapaksa family.
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All key Ministries were under them. It was they who decided everything in the country; the rest of the members of the Government had to follow their orders.”
He charged the incumbent Government was unable to take actions against the Rajapaksas, and pointed to it as evidence that the Government was incapable of eradicating corruption. He argued the Government had lost their credibility following the Central Bank bond scam.
“This Government did nothing against the Rajapaksas. They are incapable of developing the country and they have proven that during the past four-and-a-half years. They are equally corrupted as the Rajapaksas.”
He argued the New Democratic Front (NDF) presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa was incompetent as a leader. According to Dissanayake, Premadasa had not spoken on national issues during his political career. “Premadasa never spoken about national issues, and he cannot talk about eradicating corruption when his own camp is accused of serious corruption cases.”
Dissanayake called on the public to consider the actions of both Rajapaksa and the UNP, arguing that he is the only candidate that the public can place their trust with. Therefore he asked followers to vote for him on 16 November, for a prosperous future.