Considering the serious issues faced by the country and the people today, we have not yet reached a situation where we can see an end to them. Therefore, we do not underestimate the distress that has arisen among the people. There is still no sign of a concerted effort to find a lasting and permanent solution to these serious issues.If we think that there are simple or immediate solutions to this crisis, it is also nothing but a great delusion.
As the National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ), we understand the depth of the crisis we are facing at present and the fact that there are no short or quick solutions to come out of it. We are also sensitive to the serious problems faced by the people and have understood the tragic conditions they have to experience in many aspects of their lives. Moreover, we are trying to provide the necessary guidance to the parties who have to work towards finding proper solutions to these problems.
There are some great challenges that we, as a country, are facing. Foreign exchange deficit is the most important challenge before us. We consider the most painful experience that has arisen due to this is the helplessness of the people due to the lack of essential medicines. In order to find solutions to these problems successfully, the governance structure of the country must be properly managed, and no one should forget the challenge of strengthening democracy and strengthening the rule of law as a basis for the resolution of these issues.
We are well aware that there are four elections of national importance that should have been held and should be held, especially during the period of 2022-2024. They are provincial councils (PC), local government (LG) elections and presidential elections and general elections. It should also be emphasised that we have so far failed to find answers to a number of issues that need to be resolved as a country. In order to make some basic decisions that need to be taken in relation to the PC elections that have not yet been held as scheduled and the LG elections that are scheduled to be held, a parliamentary select committee has been established in the year 2022 according to a proposal made by us, but it has not yet been able to make the necessary decisions until now. We are very worried about that. It must be said emphatically that many such responsibilities have been neglected by the Parliament.
Even under such a situation, we believe that we should find solutions through the Parliament itself to overcome these challenges. Accordingly, it is our sole belief that in the current situation, they will not be able to find any solution by boycotting the Parliament or by taking measures to disable the country. All challenges must be won democratically and peacefully. There, the primary responsibility is assigned to the public representatives representing the Parliament.
Also, it is the opinion of the majority of the society that the executive presidential system peculiar to our country, which has laid the foundation for the creation of many issues that we are facing today, must be abolished. For that, the responsibility of preparing the environment has been assigned to the Parliament. Moreover, the responsibility of dealing with the existing corruption in the country and recovering the huge amount of wealth that has been looted from the country is assigned to the people’s representatives. Drafts are currently being prepared in relation to several bills that may lead to the well-being of the country. We emphasise that these activities should be done without delay and with a strong foundation in a way that suits the modern world, and can achieve the desired goals.
Attending the event to open the new session of the Parliament, the President mentioned that the government expects to pass several important bills in the coming months. He mentioned a number of important bills including the Economic Stabilisation Act, the Foreign Exchange (Amendment) Act, the Excise (Amendment) Act, the Revenue Authority Act, the Public Property Management Act, the National Security Act, the Truth and Reconciliation Act, and the Narcotics Control Command Headquarters Act. Considering the current situation, it is very important to complete these tasks immediately.
If the aforementioned laws including the anti-bribery and corruption law as well as a new constitution, rules and regulations on new election systems and procedures can be passed by the Parliament in the coming months, the “system change” (social transformation) demanded by the aragalaya (people’s struggle) and civil society will naturally emerge.
As the NMSJ, we are in constant dialogue with many similar civil and professional level organisations that are not part of any power political system, as well as with religious leaders. We are focusing on the unfortunate situation that the country is facing as well as the measures to be taken as a country. Also, we have presented several preliminary reports about the political and economic reforms that must be introduced. By doing so, we hope to inherit a better country for our future generations.
Many lives and national resources have been destroyed due to this discord within and outside Parliament. We are deeply moved and shocked by the sudden death of Mr. Nimal Amarasiri, the candidate of the National People’s Power (NPP) led by the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), who died while participating in a protest held in Colombo recently. It is the national duty of the government, the opposition and the people in general to ensure that such incidents do not occur.
To achieve that goal that the entire nation aspires to, we must unite before anything else. We should act collectively at least for a specific short period of time. It should be considered as an absolute responsibility not to contribute to any activity that may have any effect on anarchy in the country. Accordingly, the country needs a short period or a ceasefire.
National Movement for Social Justice
1 March, 2023