Minister Sajith Premadasa yesterday pledged to put ‘Sri Lanka first’, assuring a development strategy that will bring an era of prosperity to Sri Lanka. 

Speaking at a rally at the Sanath Jayasuriya Stadium in Matara, organised by Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera and Industry and Commerce Deputy Minister Buddhika Pathirana, he promised to establish a corruption-free governance system focused on inclusive development to bring prosperity to Sri Lanka. 

Reiterating that he will ‘definitely’ contest in the next Presidential election, he highlighted broad proposals to develop the country socially, economically and culturally at the well-attended rally. 

“We have now reached a turning point in our country to bring in the next revolution. For that, the public sector must be centred among the masses or the common man. In this journey towards prosperity, I will put Sri Lanka first. The development strategy will range from agriculture, healthcare, education, housing, fisheries, exports, manufacturing, SMEs, technology, innovation, science, and many more,” Premadasa added. 

Premadasa said the only way Sri Lanka could fast track its economic development is through a corrupt-free administration. To grow as a nation, he said it was important to have an environment where freedom of speech and expression to share new ideas, adopt new technology and allow innovation — particularly from the youth of the country – had space. 

“In this new Sri Lanka we will build, our first priority will be given to educated, skilled, and talented youngsters. We must allow their ideas, views and innovations to become competitive among other economies. I pledged to provide the highest possible State support for the youth of Sri Lanka to drive the economy for Sri Lanka to become a strong nation in the world,” he said. 

Premadasa also noted he has the capacity to give strong leadership to make Sri Lanka a proud nation again with the contribution of all hardworking countrymen. 

“To make Sri Lanka first, it is important to have a strategic vision. This comes with mature, qualitative, result-oriented, and excellent leadership that can ensure economic prosperity, national unity and national security. I am worthy of that and with your support, I will prove it,” he emphasised.

In running a country, he said there cannot be favouritism for family or friends. “It is important to establish a society governed by people selected according to merit so that the most hard-working and competent people are appointed to the right positions to drive the country forward. We will provide this kind of government to the people in the decisive election that is coming in November or December,” he added.

Premadasa also said under his leadership, human, economic, social and cultural rights will be protected and everyone will be treated equally.

Refuting the luxury lifestyle that most politicians expect after coming to power, he pledged that he will always be seen with the masses and not inside ‘mansions’.

“I refuse the mansion lifestyle, the bulletproof vehicles, because to me, the village-level development of schools, hospitals, maternity clinics, SMEs are way more important. You will only see Sajith Premadasa in the 42,000 villages and among the 22.2 million people — not inside any mansions,” he stressed.

Insisting he was born, grew up and worked among people, Premadasa said he will also give oaths as President among masses and was ready to even die among them. 

“We will create this revolutionary change. Get ready, unite and rally around this force to create this revolutionary change where people lead the country towards prosperity,” Premadasa said. 

Among the large gathering of supporters were Ministers, Deputy Ministers, State Ministers and Members of Parliament, including Mangala Samaraweera, Buddhika Pathirana, Dr. Harsha de Silva, Harin Fernando, Ajith P. Perera, Dilip Wedaarachchi, Nalin Bandara, Niroshan Perera, and Chandrani Bandara.

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera, Industry and Commerce Deputy Minister Buddhika Pathirana, Development Strategies, Digital Infrastructure and Information Technology Non-Cabinet Minister Ajith P. Perera, and International Trade Deputy Minister Nalin Bandara also spoke at the rally.

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