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Wages will be increased by Rs. 2,000/=

On the 18th of July, the UNP promised a monthly allowance of Rs. 2000 to all of you employed in public service and corporations. This salary allowance will be absorbed into the wage structures through the appointment of a Salaries Commission. We will also take steps to grant a similar concession to employees in the private sector.

Pensions will be increased by Rs. 750/= per month

We will increase your pension by Rs. 750 per month with immediate effect.

We will take the necessary steps to revise pensions from time to time - taking into account the changing cost of living.

Samurdhi payments will be increased to Rs. 1,000/=

As a means of providing relief to the poor, we will increase the Samurdhi allowance up to Rs.1000 per month as soon as we are elected to power.

The Janasaviya recipients will be granted the benefits accruing from of Rs.25,000 deposits once again.

The tax burden will be reduced

We will review and modify the arbitrary imposition of the Goods and Services Tax (G.S.T.) that is currently draining the pockets of the people and abolish the numerous taxes levied under the guise of the war so as to ensure the equitable reform of taxes.

We will break the monopoly enjoyed by the suppliers of essential consumer goods such as LP gas, and create a competitive environment that will be advantageous to the consumer.

Jobs

In 1994, the People's Alliance promised a monthly allowance of Rs. 1,500/= to school leavers over
18 years of age. They also promised to create one million jobs within 2 years. These promises are now consigned to the dustbin of history.

The majority of youth remain unemployed. This is our core problem. On the one hand, they have been deprived of the opportunity to learn English; on the other, they are not provided with access to technological skills. Youth in this country have virtually become "dud coins" - powerless to face the challenges of the 21st century. They cannot realize their full potential despite the benefits of free education. This problem cannot be allowed to fester any longer. We should solve this problem once and for all.

You know that every time the UNP has come into power we have ensured economic development and created jobs.

We will make use of our proven strength of efficient economic management to accelerate job creation through rapid economic development. Our objectives are to create jobs and to increase income levels. This accelerated program will seek to increase the gross domestic product, become internationally completive and thereby rapidly augment our exports so as to get a larger share of international trade in a global economy.

We will utilize the best brains in the country and the assistance of foreign experts to make this a reality. We will institute a Board comprising of Government Ministers, members of the Opposition and leaders of the business community who will be entrusted with this task.

Youth Corps - Rs. 2,000/= Allowance

Too many of our young people are unemployed, living with no hope for their future. They lack both money and job skills; and are dependent on their parents.

We will harness the potential of these young people to form a Youth Corps, which will be channeled into development programs and activities.

For 18 months young, unemployed people will receive a monthly living allowance of
Rs. 2000. In return they will have to undertake work assignments as part of a national re-construction program.

During this period, they will be able to choose programs from the fields of English training, Computer training, Vocational training, Secretarial training, Community service, Sports, Art, Entertainment and Culture.

On graduating from the Youth Corps, they will be given a financial voucher for further technical training or higher education.

We will establish a Small Businesses Authority with the help of the private sector to direct and assist those interested in trade.

Foreign Employment

Migrant workers are a source of strength for Sri Lanka's economy. We will continue to support and increase the opportunities for Sri Lankans to work abroad.

We will introduce a special insurance scheme and expedite banking facilities to fulfill the special needs of those seeking foreign employment.

We will channel those in possession of a higher education and technical skills to seek employment abroad.

We will establish a special program in our embassies to deal with the problems faced by domestic workers abroad.

We will set up a special training institute to provide training for prospective employees before their departure.

We will initiate special programs for migrant workers in vocational and technical training institutions such as the technical college, hotels schools, nursing schools etc.

We will pay special attention to the difficulties faced by those employed on merchant ships.

We will establish a Ministry for Overseas Employment with a mandate to look after the well being of migrant workers and their families.

Economic Benefits

All citizens of the country, especially the poor, will be able to reap the benefits of the growing economy under our direction - even the most destitute - such as the poor families who live off the land on one meal a day. Even women who collect firewood from the forest and sell it for a pittance will be able to profit from our initiatives.

We will inaugurate a program of action, free of politics to uplift those who labour to eke out a basic living.

The Teaching Profession

We will recognize the valuable service performed by teachers and introduce an enhanced scheme for salaries, incentives and benefits in consonance with their endeavors.

We will establish an Independent Education Services Commission which will oversee the recruitment, transfers and promotions of teachers principals and members of the education service. It will be devoid of political interference and will act based on the criteria of qualifications, ability and seniority.

We will provide relief to all teachers who have been victimized by political interference. We will annul all unfair and arbitrary decision taken by this government regarding teachers.

Today, knowledge and learning is not restricted to books. Through the Internet there is access in real time to a whole world of knowledge and data that has created a revolution in the world of learning. Teachers will be empowered to access the Internet.

Animal Husbandry

Animal husbandry is a sector that is still underdeveloped. We will revitalize this sector through new technologies and better management techniques.

We will import high yield milk cattle that are suitable for our climactic conditions in order to maximize on production.

We will ensure the breeding of high quality stock through artificial insemination and embryo transplants.

We will ensure a systemic milk collection system from the farm gate to the market utilizing mobile freezer and pasteurizing facilities.

We will ensure that consumers are able to drink a glass of quality, nutritious milk instead of depending on imported milk powder.

Export Crops

We will introduce a special assistance scheme for small holders of tea, rubber and coconuts and other minor export crops.

We will take steps to bring down production costs and improve productivity in tea, rubber and coconut factories. We will ensure that these sectors get the best prices for their produce.

Sri Lankan is the best tea in the world. We will rejuvenate the tea industry by marketing Sri Lankan tea in the world market according to a special plan of action.

Absolute Title to Land

Swarnabhoomi and Janabhoomi titles received under the Land Development Act, the Land Grants Ordinance and other legislation (which only provides limited rights of possession) will be converted to absolute ownership.

Gender And Women's Rights

Women constitute more than half the population of Sri Lanka. However, their contributions to the economy and politics, home and society as a whole are barely recognized. Their multiple roles, responsibilities and rights are constantly threatened and undermined. As women, they have different experiences of life to men. They are subjected to gender-specific problems and forms of violence.

Thus far, the UNP policies on education, employment and health have had a positive impact on women. In fact, we instituted a Ministry for Women's Affairs to focus on women's issues. We will continue to work towards the empowerment of women and seek their full and active participation in all aspects of life as we are deeply committed to women's rights.  

We will enact the Women's Charter to protect the rights of women.

We will ensure that women's particular requirements and gender-specific concerns are recognized and prioritized in the formulation of state policies.

We will formulate programs to find solutions to the problems of women in special circumstances and those who face particular situations: such as those who are war widows, those living in conflict areas, women-headed households, migrant workers, and girl children.

We will be sensitive to the needs of women affected by gender-specific forms of violence such as rape and domestic violence. We will grant redress through legal remedies, compensation and counseling programs. There will be special police units managed by sensitized women staffers to deal with these situations.

We will create an environment where women can live devoid of fear and actively participate in all aspects of society.

We will specially ensure that women are able to travel alone - freely and without fear.

We will provide workingwomen with secure accommodation and care facilities for children.

Liquor Licenses

We will de-politicize the issue of liquor licenses. We will constitute a Liquor Licensing Board to issue and renew licenses according to set guidelines.

No new liquor shops will be opened without the consent of the residents in the area.  

Drug abuse will be stamped out through strict law enforcement and special operations. 

The Public Service

We will establish an Independent Public Service Commission to make the public service more efficient as well as to ensure that public servants are not made into the puppets of politicians.

Sri Lanka's public service was admired as one of best in Asia. The 1972 Constitution was enacted to the detriment of the public service; public servants were brought under the control of politicians. 

The freedom for public servants to act according to their conscience was undermined. We will take steps to ensure that public servants are able to work in an environment that values efficiency, experience and seniority from the time they are recruited to the time they retire.

We will provide public servants with the opportunity to make use of modern technology and management skills throughout their careers. 

We will reinstate the regulation that disciplinary inquiries be completed within three months.

We will restore the special entitlement amounting to 20% of their salary to public servants who are seconded to do additional work.

Housing for All

We will continue the UNP's tradition of providing houses.  

Every Sri Lankan is entitled to a house. We will encourage house ownership.

Housing debtors of less than Rs. 10,000 under the UNP housing programs who have not been able to settle their debts will be granted a waiver.

Residents of government owned flats would be given the titles to their premises.

Media Freedom

Under Chandrika there has been an unprecedented amount of media abuse. The government has shamefully utilized the state media to sling mud at political opponents and to distort news. The private media is also under constant threat in various ways as there is a history of the government taking over newspapers, sealing presses and imposing censorship.

We will enact immediately the Media Reform Bill that is being willfully delayed by the government.

We will also initiate discussions with media representatives on ways and means to create a climate that will protect media freedom.

Industrial Relations Sri Lanka will be transformed from the low waged economy that it is today to a high waged economy through rapid economic development. Our economic policies are designed with this objective in mind. Further, we will share the benefits of this transformation with the workers.

We need to replace worker confidence in the value of their savings. To this effect, we will invest the savings of the Employees Trust Fund and the Employees Provident Fund so that the employees will get the maximum benefit.

We will protect workers' rights and give recognition to Trade Unions.

We will enact the necessary laws to ensure the quick resolution of industrial disputes. Job opportunities will be maximized through legal reform of outdated laws that give rise to industrial disputes.

Excellence in Sports

Under Chandrika's government even sports and recreation have become politicized and corrupt.
Sri Lanka's chances of Olympic success have been ruined due to the unashamed activities of certain politicians.

We will purge politics from sports.

We will appoint an independent Sports Authority consisting of sports specialists to oversee all sports.

This Authority will work towards the furtherance of our sporting strengths, and to empower sports men and women.

We will establish a Training Institute of a high standard to train sports instructors and coaches, and to nurture latent sporting talents.

We will amend the Sports Act to convert the Controlling Bodies of sports into institutions that are solely dedicated to victory and excellence in sports. We will ensure the transparency and efficiency of these Controlling Bodies.

 Ending the War

Long-term peace is possible only on the basis of a political solution involving all parties to the conflict. Whenever we stated this position, Chandrika attacked and slandered the UNP. But now she herself has started negotiations with the LTTE through the offices of the government of Norway. When we proposed a short term interim council for the north East consisting of representatives from all concerned parties, this was subjected to massive criticism by Chandrika. Now Chandrika has proposed the establishment of an Interim Council for the North and East for a period of ten years. All this proves two points - the duplicity of the Chandrika government and the correctness of our stand. 

We will take the following steps to end the war while safeguarding the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka.  

We will start discussions with all political parties, religious organizations and civil society to achieve a consensus on a political solution.

We will open a dialogue with the LTTE.

We will work towards de-escalating the war, ending the conflict and restoring normalcy.

We do not propose to make constitutional changes relating to devolution of power until a working solution acceptable to all sections of our society has been reached.

We will set up an Interim Council in the North and East for a limited duration.

We will set up an Independent Committee to develop an Action Plan that will address the problems of war victims and displaced persons of all communities.

We are aware of the acute suffering undergone by the people of the North and East on a daily basis owing to the lack of food, medicine and other essentials. We also sympathize with the strain that legitimate travelers have to undergo when visiting their loved ones. Once elected, the UNP government will take immediate steps to make life easier for them.

We will ensure an uninterrupted supply of food items to the North and East.  

We want all the people in the affected areas to have the opportunity to pursue the vocations of their choice. We will take measures to make like easier for these people in consultation with community leaders and the defense chiefs.  

The 2000 Manifesto

This is Your Future

 

In 1994, you entrusted your future to Chandrika Kumaranatunge and the People's Alliance because they promised you a secure future and meaningful changes. Time has revealed how Chandrika's incompetence in governance; her shortsightedness and deceit have aggravated existing problems while creating new ones.

Corruption in government has become the order of the day. Journalists who expose such corruption were assassinated. The North/East conflict has become a lucrative enterprise. Law and order has been abandoned. Our economy, which was the best in South Asia, has virtually collapsed. Two million people are unemployed. Health services have deteriorated immensely. Transport has broken down. Education has been tampered with.

Chandrika's promises of the 1994 general elections have vanished into thin air. Chandrika gave three more pledges subsequently; during the 1999 Presidential elections: that she would end the war within six months; bring down the rampant cost of living and eradicate unemployment.

At the Presidential election she not only cheated your franchise but she also stole your future. Instead of ending the war, she lost the Elephant pass camp and sacrificed the lives of thousands of our brave soldiers. Cost of living has risen to astronomical heights. Many people have been reduced to one meal a day. Factories have closed down. Prices for agricultural products have reached rock bottom. Unemployment has been exacerbated. The nation is fast falling towards the pre-1977 era when people were forced to eat out of dustbins, stand in queues and go semi-naked. The UNP is the only party that can save this country from this chaos and secure your future. The UNP is the only party that posses the necessary experience and competence to rebuild the nation.

After 500 years of foreign domination, in 1948 the UNP under the leadership of right honorable D.S. Senanayake was able to obtain independence for our country. Free education and free health services were introduced. The Galoya reservoir was built. Agriculture was revived. At the time, Sri Lanka was the only country in Asia, which did not have to borrow a single cent from any country or institution. 

The SLFP led governments that ruled Sri Lanka from 1956 to 1965 brought ruin to this prosperous nation. From 1965 to 1970, a UNP government led by Dudley Senanayake revitalized the economy and made Sri Lanka a beneficiary of the green revolution. He developed agriculture, founded the tourist industry and reformed the education system.

But the seven-year curse of the SLFP led United Front government brought our country to the abyss of economic, social, political turmoil. The economy caved in. Barriers were erected across the country to prevent the transport of rice and chillies. Consumption of rice was banned on Tuesdays and Fridays. Mile long queues were formed to purchase half a loaf of bread in the mornings. Free education was reduced by two years. Corruption and nepotism reigned. Rule by a political elite became the order of the day.

The UNP came forward to liberate the people who were suffering untold hardships and difficulties. From 1977, UNP governments under the leadership of J R Jayawardene and Ranasinghe Premadasa brought about a revolution. The economy was opened out to the world. Foreign investment was promoted. Gigantic development schemes such as the Mahawali, inaugurated. Goods were plentiful in the market. Houses were constructed. Industries and trade developed. Technologies were taken into the villages. Entire villages were reawakened. Competency and merit were recognized. People were uplifted from poverty. Shares were made available to the people. Freedom of thought and expression was instituted. Power was devolved.

In 1994, when I handed over this country to Chandrika, we had a strong economy where unemployment was under control; people had money in their hands; the war was confined to the Jaffna peninsular and democracy had been re-established.

I was born in an independent Sri Lanka and received the full benefit of free education - including that of a university degree. Like all of you I love this country and my aspiration is to make our country prosperous like Japan and Singapore, thereby ensuring you of a secure future. Therefore on the 10th of October, go to your polling station early in the day, mark a cross against the elephant and vote for the UNP. You will thereby entrust to my party and me the responsibility of securing your future.

- Ranil Wickremesinghe

Leader of the United National Party

.

If the UNP's economic policies had been consistently pursued since 1947, Sri Lanka could have become a developed nation - with full employment. It could have even surpassed other nations in Asia such as Singapore, Japan and Malaysia.

Unfortunately, each time an SLFP led government was elected, it undermined the economy of the country. Every time the economy was revived and nursed by the UNP, successive SLFP governments crushed it - in 1956, in 1960, in 1970 and in 1994, resulting in increased poverty.

Yet, today, the People's Alliance who were the harshest critics of the UNP economic policies, have adopted the very same development policies. The problem here is that they, unfortunately, do not possess the necessary administrative skill or the management capacity to execute these policies efficiently.

The UNP's economic policy is founded on the basic principle of augmenting the purchasing power of the people. The cornerstones of this policy are to increase productivity, to develop effective distribution systems and to create new income generating opportunities.  

By increasing your income and your purchasing power, and thus reviving business opportunities, we aim to kick start the stagnant economy by the dawn of the New Year Season.

 

Rapid Economic Development

 

To ensure economic development through Sri Lanka, we will demarcate the country into five economic regions as follows:

 

West

Western Province

South

Southern Province, Ratnapura, Moneragala Districts

Central

Central and North Central Provinces, Badulla District

Northeast

North-East Province

Northwest

North-West Province, Kegalle District 

  • There will be an Economic Development Commission for each region that will be responsible for creating a regional economy, thereby creating jobs.

  • Each commission will promote industry, agriculture trade and tourism in the region .

  • This Commission will also create an environment to attract foreign investment into the region.

  • We will promote computer and information technology to become a leading sector of the economy - creating hundreds and thousands of new jobs.

  • We will establish a graduate employment  scheme to provide jobs for unemployed graduates. The private sector too will participate in this scheme.

  • We will encourage foreign companies to relocate in Sri Lanka.

  • We will promote local and foreign investment in infrastructure projects needed to modernize the country such as highways, power-generation, water supply schemes, high-rise buildings etc.

  • We will make Sri Lanka an air / sea hub in the Indian Ocean.

  • For this purpose, we will develop the Tricomalee harbor and establish two international airports in the North East and the South. This will enable the rapid development of these regions by providing easy access to export markets and encouraging tourism.

  • We will move Sri Lanka away from low value added tourism to high value added tourism, and increase the number of tourists up to a million a year.

  • We will help the garment industry to meet the challenges of 2004 and strengthen the industry which is one of our leading economic sectors.

  • We will help all sectors of the economy in similar ways.

  • We will establish a new development bank to provide capital for local business; this will safeguard and create new jobs.

  • We will make telecommunications a leading sector targeting on two million telephones initially.

  • The law of the sea conference gave us a special economic zone. This is our new economic frontier. We will encourage the commercial exploitation of this zone by foreign and local investors. This will create a large number of new jobs.

  • We will modernize the agricultural sector by promoting new crops, utilizing new technology including green houses and drip-irrigation, and by introducing systems of business management. In doing so we will promote the establishment of a large number of agro businesses.

  • We will promote reforestation as well as the protection of water resources. This will also create additional jobs.

  • We will promote increased investments in the transport systems and thereby increase jobs.

  • We will re-establish an environment conducive the advancement of small and medium businesses.

Education - From the Blackboard to the Computer

The UNP introduced and expanded free education to this country. Successive SLFP led governments devalued this opportunity by excluding English language and technical skills.

 

Chandrika's government tried to limit free education only to children between the ages of five and fourteen through her new constitution. This is a further denial of the right to education.

 

The overall student population in higher education in Sri Lankan is 40,000. Australia, which has a population similar to ours, has five lakhs of students in their universities and large numbers in other fields of higher education. Singapore, which has only a population of thirty-seven lakhs, has forty thousand students in its campuses.

 

Globalization is a tangible reality of the 21st century. We will equip our students with the technical expertise and knowledge in computing and information technology to face the challenges of the information age. At the same time, we will encourage students to learn about our local literature, culture and history.

 

  • We will ensure that all students are proficient in English and are computer literate within 10 years. Thus, students will have access to the global network of knowledge via the Internet.

  • We will make higher education and professional education more opportunity-friendly and market-oriented by broadening its compass to suit changing needs and times.

  • We will make sure that undergraduates in our universities have a choice in the selection of subjects like their counterparts in the UK and USA.

  • We will introduce a voucher system to fund students attending fee-levying institutions. As a result, poverty will not be a barrier for students to pursue higher education and training.

  • We will establish Higher Institutes of Technology at undergraduate and graduate levels as well as colleges of technology in all districts.

  • We will start a multimedia university to enable access to higher education. This would allow all people – from working people to those housebound, to educate themselves and widen their horizons without reference to limitations of age and time. Thus, education will not be constrained to a particular time of life.

  • We will abolish the special exam – the General Proficiency Test for university entrance to be held in January, and select students for university admission on the basis of the G.C.E. A Level.

  • In future, parents, teachers and past pupils will be responsible for their local school through a Development Board.

Agriculture

The UNP has consistently developed agriculture. The priority given by Prime Minister D.S. Senanayake to agriculture has always been a key feature of UNP policies.

The greatest problems faced by the farmers are finding a market and a reasonable price for their products. Farming is no longer a viable economic prospect. Our policy is to provide our farmers with a better price (unlike the PA, which supports farmers in foreign countries to the detriment of the local farmers).

 

  • We encourage and support local agricultural production by limiting the importation of agro-products.

  • We will guarantee the prices of basic agricultural products.

  • We will introduce new technologies to farming, and encourage the growth of high value new crop varieties.

  • We will promote research and development in agriculture and seed production.

  • We reduce production costs in agriculture by providing subsidies for selected fertilizers and agro chemicals.

  • We will provide subsidies for agricultural wells, agricultural implements, seed and plant material to farmers who commit themselves to enhance agricultural productivity.

  • We will reduce the taxes on agro-equipment such as tractors.

  • We will institute Agro-business centers in every Pradeshiya Sabha area so as to train farmers in new technologies, agro skills and management and marketing. We will institute a market network for fresh agricultural products in partnership with the private sector.

Fisheries - An Ocean Economy

 

Similar to agriculture, we need to develop the fisheries industry to become a main component of our economy. We will take the lead to modernize the fisheries industry so as to create an ocean economy.  

  • We will establish Fisheries Training Centers to introduce new technologies, tools and techniques so as to upgrade the skills of fishermen.

  • We will commence easy payment schemes for the purchase of fishing craft and equipment.

  • We will provide ice plants and other storage facilities including mobile freezers for the transportation and better storage of fisheries produce.

  • We will remove the ban on outboard engines over 15 horsepower in capacity.

  • We will develop fully equipped fishery harbors and anchorage facilities.

  • We will make use of new technologies to breed both sea and fresh water fish.

Village Government, Village Economy

 

Agriculture, fisheries, animal husbandry, medium and small-scale enterprises and trading are integral components of the village economy.

 

  • By developing the above sectors we will invariably invigorate the village economy. We will link the weekly village fair with urban markets.

  • We will institute a network of micro banks to support and assist the rural entrepreneurs.

  • We will devolve village-level powers of governance to the Pradeshiya Sabhas.

  • Maximum authority will be given to these bodies for local development.

  • The development of village infrastructures such as transport, telecommunications and electricity will thus become the responsibility of the village government so that villagers themselves are empowered to make decisions relating to their economy, culture, and development schemes.

  • We will provide opportunities for NGOs to work in partnership with these local government authorities unhampered by any unfair restrictions.

Local Entrepreneurs

Today, local entrepreneurs are profoundly affected by the downturn in the economy. Only the UNP has the capability to provide a solution.

 

  • We will introduce an incisive development program to assist small entrepreneurs with financing, the supply of equipment and marketing.

  • We will develop effective links between small / medium scale entrepreneurs in the villages, and big producers and large-scale distributors.

  • We will offer capital to assist local entrepreneurs via a special program and provide relief to entrepreneurs who are in debt.

  • We will set up a special unit to expand and develop local entrepreneurship.

  • We are committed to furthering trade links between India and Sri Lanka, at a time when there are free trade zones such as NAFTA and EEC being created globally. We will re-negotiate aspects of the Indo-Sri Lanka Free Trade agreement which are adverse to Sri Lanka's interests.

The Plantation Community

  • We will raise the living standards of the plantation communities.

  • We will upgrade schools in the plantation sector to be on par with other schools.

  • We will provide better infrastructure and housing for plantation workers.

  • We will upgrade the health service in the plantation sector and expedite the issue of National Identity Cards to those in plantation communities. We will work to resolve all outstanding problems relating to those of recent Indian origin without delay.

Eradication of Crime

 

In recent times there has been an unprecedented increase in crime as a result of the support extended by this government to criminals and underworld gangs. Political interference has precluded the police from trying to arrest this situation. Sexual abuse of children, the violation of women and drug dealing and drug related offences have augmented drastically under Chandrika’s rule. Army deserters joining up with underworld gangs have aggravated this situation. Civil society has been gripped by a fear psychosis. It is essential that we arrest this crime wave.   

  • We will seek the assistance of international experts to fight crime.

  • Parliament will enact tough laws to suppress crime.

  • We reiterate our commitment to creating a society where citizens can live in peace without fear or favor.

The Commission on Bribery and Corruption

 

Today, the Bribery and Corruption Commission has been reduced to a farce. The Commission has been deprived of the necessary staff to inquire into complaints. Chandrika who waxed eloquent on bribery and corruption has debased the Commission to a powerless entity.

  • When elected, we will set up a truly Independent Commission on bribery and corruption - answerable only to Parliament.

  • We will seek the views of the Opposition and civil society organizations in setting up this Commission.

  • We will provide the Commission with the relevant facilities and support services to eradicate bribery and corruption from political and social structures.

An Independent Police Commission

We will appoint an Independent Police Commission to create an environment conducive to the execution of police duties according to the law and justice, and to protect the integrity and autonomy of the police officers. The appointments, transfer, promotion, and disciplinary control of police officers will be carried out by a fair and transparent process.

Today, the unofficial officer in charge of a police station is the local government politician. The police are in the unfortunate position of having to renounce law enforcement in favor of the whims and fancies of government politicians. We will take steps to terminate this era of political interference.

  • We will make it the duty and responsibility of the local Officer in Charge and the Assistant Superintendent of the area to strictly enforce law and order, and thwart crime.

  • We will establish a new Ministry of Internal Affairs to be in charge of the Police Service, to look after the welfare of Police Officers and to fight crime.

  • The Ministry will look in to the housing and other requirements of Police Officers.

Pensioners

We will reinstall the right of public servants to retire on a full pension after 20 years of service.

We will have ongoing discussions on the special issues faced by pensioners with pensioners’ associations. We will also set up a special Council that would be consulted on welfare measures for pensioners.

Religion

We remain committed to the protection of Buddhism and Buddhist sites. Similarly, we are committed to the protection of other religions and their rights. We will ensure that laws and executive actions do not belittle or discriminate against any religion.

We will establish a High Council to promote and develop Buddhism based on the advice of the Mahanayakas of the three Nikayas rather than rely on the choice of the Minister of Buddha Sasana as in Chandrika's constitution.

The UNP will continue to support and further Pirivena education.

Transport

A strong economy can only be founded on modernized infrastructure and transport facilities. If we are to increase productivity, transportation of commuters should be efficient. We will make every effort to institute and maintain bus and rail services that are punctual, efficient and comfortable.  

  • We will remove road barriers, which close up roads unnecessarily and choke traffic.

  • Diesel tax will be abolished.

  • We will minimize commuter time through the better coordination between public and private transport services.

  • We will electrify the railways and modernize the buses to provide reliable and comfortable services to the people through planned investments.

  • Roads bring development to the village. As a matter of priority, we will build a network of highways to suit the 21st century.

National Health Policy

We will seek an all-party consensus to formulate a national health policy that will be of benefit to all.

We are grateful to the doctors, nurses and other health workers who carry out their duties under tremendous pressures. We will see that a more positive working environment is created for all who are engaged in the health sector.

  • We will introduce a national health insurance scheme.

  • We will take immediate steps to rectify the current shortage of medical drugs.

  • Estate hospitals will be fully equipped.

  • We will institute a systematic and practical scheme to settle problems affecting the health sector; thereby eliminating any unnecessary confrontations with those engaged in the health services.

  • We will set guidelines and standards for the private health sector.

  • We will ensure that the indigenous health services are on par with western medical services. We will also promote the cultivation of herbal plants and research into local medications. 

Environment

We will solicit the people's participation to ensure the protection and preservation of the forest cover in the mountains and in and around the villages.

We will ensure that inland reservoirs and lakes are pollution-free so that the people can benefit from the resulting fisheries resources.

We will preserve the bio-diversity of the country through the proper protection and management of wildlife sanctuaries, rainforests and other protected areas. We will also conserve Sri Lanka's costal belt.

We will take steps to minimize the pollution caused by motor vehicles.

Culture and Arts

We will encourage and support institutions that provide opportunities for young people to further their talents in the fields of song, music, dance, art acting and sculpture.

  • We will set up a University for the Arts dedicated to the study of creative arts, performing arts and the electronic media. A panel of experts from these fields will manage the institution which will award degrees and foster creative activity.

  • We will take steps to release artists from political control; introduce contracts of employment; amend the current Intellectual Act; assist senior artists and introduce a pension scheme for artists.

  • We will build a fully equipped theatre for the Performing Arts of international standards.

  • We will resolve the crisis in the national cinema industry and develop the industry to an international level.

  • We will market Sri Lanka globally as a leading film location.

The Constitutional Scam

For the first time in history, the opposition – the United National Party entered into dialogue with the government to find a solution to the most critical problem facing the country today. We did it with all good intentions. Notwithstanding the continuous barrage of abuse and mudslinging by the state media against our leader and the party, the UNP continued to participate in the talks - in the national interest. 

This was a golden opportunity to create a new political culture in our country. But, Chandrika's foremost interest was to cling on to the Executive Presidency under the new constitution. She was not genuinely interested in negotiating a constitution that would be acceptable to all parties. This was made obvious by her actions. Once the UNP exposed her attempt to continue as the Executive President for six more years under the facade of the new constitution, what did Chandrika do?  

All that was painstakingly negotiated up to this point was peremptorily jettisoned. Within twenty-four hours, another constitution that completely negated the rights of the people was presented to Parliament.

Instead of consensus building on a solution to the greatest problem facing the nation, many deceitful and reprehensible attempts were made by Chandrika to bribe members of Parliament. This was done in order to obtain a two-thirds majority to approve the constitutional scam. Thereby we lost a historic opportunity to arrive at a consensus on a constitutional order, which would have been acceptable to the majority of the people.  

Ultimately, the people and the UNP were able to defeat Chandrika's machinations to enact this constitutional scam, which was primarily prompted by her greed for power to remain as Executive President.

One More Seat

Frustrated by these events, Chandrika brags that she only needs one more seat in the next Parliament to enact the constitutional scam.

A new constitution can be enacted only with a two-thirds majority in parliament. Even in 1947, the constitution was enacted with a two-thirds majority. In 1972, the constitution was approved by a two-thirds majority of a constitutional assembly consisting of all parties represented in Parliament. In 1978, the constitution passed in the same manner.

This is the democratic and legitimate method of instituting a constitution. Chandrika refuses to follow the established procedure due to her craving for power.

This is How We Will Do it

The UNP will begin by creating a consensus on a new constitutional order and thereafter, proceed according to the existing constitution by taking the following steps.

We will abolish the Executive Presidency and introduce the position of a Prime Minister elected by the people who will exercise executive power and who will be accountable to Parliament. 

  • We will reduce the term of Parliament to five years.

  • We will appoint:

  • An independent Police Commission

  • An independent Public service Commission
    An independent Elections Commission

  • Key positions in the public service will be filled on the recommendations of an independent constitutional commission. 

  • We will empower the Supreme Court with the authority to determine the constitutionality of our laws and the responsibility to protect the sovereignty of the constitution.

  • Parliamentary consultative committees will have the power to review the activities of ministers. Opposition members will have equal responsibilities in these committees.

  • We will reinforce the fundamental rights of the people.

The Armed Forces

The Parliament voted monies for the defense of the Elephant Pass camp. Despite this, a force of fifteen thousand were unable to defend this camp because the monies voted by Parliament had not been utilized by the government. In comparison, a battalion of 800 defended it successfully in 1990. For the first time in the history of this conflict the army had to fall back abandoning the camp. This is the most serious setback in this conflict.

The main reason for this is the politicization of the armed forces and the resulting deterioration. Even though monies were voted by Parliament the required arms and spare parts were not purchased. There is large-scale corruption in the procurement of arms. Able officers are sidetracked; the welfare of the troops is ignored; and the war is fought according to a political agenda. These are the main reasons for the serious setbacks suffered by the armed forces.

  • We will eradicate politicization within the armed forces.

  • The management and administration of the armed forces will rest in the hands of senior professional officers.

  • We will establish a committee similar to the combined Chiefs of Staff. This committee will be responsible for the conduct of all combined operations.

  • We will institute a Board constituting of retired senior military officials to advise the government.

  • We will have modern and professionalized armed forces reflecting the ethnic mix of our country.

  • We will institute a Board constituting of retired senior military officials to advise the government.

  • We will have modern and professionalized armed forces reflecting the ethnic mix of our country.

  • Competency and military integrity will be the main criteria for appointment.

  • Human resource development in the armed forces will receive our special attention.

  • We will set up an Independent Procurement Authority to draw up new guidelines to prevent corruption in arms procurement.

  • We will create a Veterans Authority to be responsible for displaced soldiers, retired soldiers and bereaved dependents.