“Today there are some who asked what was done in these 100 days. I say, there was much done in these 100 days. Some of these valuable actions are neither physical in nature, nor visible to the eye,” said President Maithripala Sirisena, addressing the nation on April 23.
In keeping with the promises given in his election policy statement, the Government has taken many important steps with regard to the country’s economy, politics, development and international relations within the 100 days.
The government is proceeding with its 100 Day programme that President Maithripala Sirisena presented as part of his election manifesto.
The policystatementpromised to repeal the 18th Amendment, to come up with a 19th Amendment to the Constitution, restoring independent commissions, setting up a national advisory council and also presenting an interim budget. The detailed plan also included setting up a special investigatory mechanism to probe corruption and passing legislation on right to information and a new health policy.
Fulfillingthe assurance given to the people, the Government has taken steps to present the 19th Amendment to the Constitution in the Parliament on April 27.
“I am not aware of any leader in the world who had obtained an office with all these powers but has been as flexible in trying to get rid of those powers that had been bestowed on such a leader” - President
The main constitutional proposals of the 19th Amendment include the transformation of the Presidential form of government to a Presidential-Parliamentary system of government and the restoration of the 17th Amendment to the Constitution.
In addition to the 19th Amendment, a draft bill has been presented to the Cabinet to change the electoral system. Action is being taken to present this to Parliament for adoption.
In the past 3 months the rule of law,which is essential for freedom and democracy has been restored and strengthened.Now the Judicial independence and integrity are very much to be seen.
Commenting on judiciary the President said: “You are aware of how the rule of law was so badly damaged. Did the people, have confidence in the Judiciary? The Commission on Bribery or Corruption, the Supreme Court and all these institutions were subjected to the telephone calls of those who were in power. You know very well how persons associated with various crimes obtained freedom at that time; how judgments in cases were obtained. Did the Attorney General have the power at the time to act according to his office? Today, with the appointment of the Chief Justice, the Commander of Army, all who serve in those sections have a clear acceptance that these appointments had been made on seniority and suitability for such positions”.
National Security has now been strengthened. The President has informed the Tri-Forces and the Police at the Security Council the need for a new plan of action on national security.
The foreign policy of the present government is to gain the support of allcountries by adhering to the nonaligned policy.Sri Lanka requires the cooperation of all countries in its development drive. Now the foreign policy has undergone a complete change. There is now a balanced , non aligned foreign policy. We are friends with the West , and with China and with India. We are now respecting the United Nations and its efforts to ensure that international law is obeyed.
In the past 100 days the new Government has regained the international friendship and trust that had considerably declined under the previous government. At the time Mr. Maithripala Sirisena was sworn in as President on January 9th. The international community was divided over Sri Lanka. People remember what took place at the United Nations, the Human Rights Commission and the Security Council. However, after January 9th, because of the faith placed in the President and his government, the international community that was divided over us, now place their trust and believe that as Head of State he would protect the freedom of this country and its Democracy, Human Rights and Fundamental Rights.
The President’s visits abroad started with our friendly neighbor India and later to Britain to participate in the Commonwealth Day events. His next visit was to China this visit pave the way forfurther strengthen the friendship that existed between the two countries.
Next he went to Pakistan, which is one of our very close friends.Through the close friendship displayed by British Prime Minister David Cameron, Indian Prime Minister Sri Narendra Modi, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chinese President Xi Jingping have confirmed their trust placed in us for the protection and growth of freedom and democracy.
Our embassies have been brought back to normality and decency.
The Police now appear to be independent without political interference. Parliament is now a real legislature, with lively debates, and proper procedures adopted. The transparency in the relationship between the judiciary and the Speaker on the 19 th amendment is a good example for this.
All segments of society received reliefs in the form of salary increases, tax concessions, price reduction of consumer items, interest hike for savings, pension benefits and diverse subsidies and concessions within these 100 days.
Salaries of state sector servants increased by Rs. 10,000 - Rs. 5000 gave in February and remaining Rs. 5000 will be given in June. Thereby state sector employees' salaries increased by 47%.
Senior citizens with Rs. 1 million in their bank accounts will be given 15% interest rate.
The Government reduced the prices of 13 essential goods by removing of taxes. Petrol, diesel and kerosene prices also reduced. The electricity rates were reduced.
An allowance of Rs. 20,000 paid for expectant mothers. A sum of Rs. 2000 billion allocated to the fund reserved for kidney patients.
Moving further towards reconciliation the Government has appointed a Presidential Task Force and a Presidential Office for Reconciliation.
“Having understood the internal problems we face as a country we must take every action to prevent situations that led to the armed conflict that lasted three decades. For this the friendship among all people is essential. However, it is regrettable that our political opponents are using the Internet and some media to spread false information that the armed forces are to be reduced or removed from the North. That land had been given to LTTE terrorists in Sampur. That more rights had been given to the Tamils and Muslims than to the Sinhalese. Such stories are entirely spread by extreme racists. Please do not give such false information to the world. This leads to large-scale misleading of Sri Lankans living abroad,” – President .
There is an air of freedom in the country . Telephone tapping has ceased. The military presence at civil society seminars and discussions has ended.
Inquire into corruption and fraud and work on this matter is proceeding effectively.
The President appears as a normal decent human being, not above the law.
The public service is once again asserting its autonomy.
SriLankan Airlines has been saved and there is now an opportunity for a new aviation policy.
Chinese contracts are being reviewed including the Port City project. The President no longer controls the Ministry of Finance, and other ministries.
The roads are free of military and police security personnel accompanying VIPs and creating traffic jams.
The 100 day programme can make Sri Lanka history. Previous Presidents were unable to deliver such necessary reforms and fundamental and structural changes even though some of them have completed a second term as the Executive President.