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Thursday March 23rd, 2023

Sri Lanka opposition leader bemoans at social media critics; alleges of defeating him in 2019 polls

Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe during the 2019 Presidntial campaign

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka opposition leader Sajith Premadasa strongly expressed his discontent at those who criticize him and his policies in social media and accused such critics of defeating him in the 2019 presidential polls against ousted president Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Premadasa is facing increased social media criticism over his speeches and policies since his party has started campaigning for March 9 Local Government polls.

He was criticized by social media users this week for his criticism over President Ranil Wickremesinghe government bending to implement all the requests by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a $2.9 billion loan.

Speaking at a campaign rally in Matale district on Thursday, Premadasa said he and his polices are mocked by a small group of people through social media. He said some of his comments in 2019 were posted after using only certain parts of the speech.

“During the presidential elections, the social media personas cut the (speech) part I was going to the footsteps of the public and mocked us which led to the win of Gotabaya,” Premadasa, the opposition leader and the chief of center-right Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) told the gathering at a election campaign meeting.

“The result of it is country is bankrupted, no money in the hands of people. People are skipping food,
everywhere poverty is emerging,” he said referring to the wrong economic policies by former leader Gotabaya Rajapaksa who was later ousted due to strong public protests in July last year. Ranil Wickremesinghe became the president through a parliament vote.

“A minority of the country who does not know our proposals have started mocking us via hypocritical
social media practices likewise they did in the 2019 presidential elections,” Premadasa said referring to the latest criticism over his party policies which he had been explaining to the public.

Teaming against own leader

Premadasa, 56-year old son of slain former president Ranasinghe Premadasa, split with the current President Wickremesinghe’s center-right United National Party (UNP) before the 2020 parliament polls and became the second largest party in the parliament with 54 seats in 225-member parliament.

President Wickremesinghe’s UNP won only one seat through a wildcard method. Wickremesinghe himself lost the election, though he became a legislator through the only one seat his party got.

Premadasa who has been in the parliament since 2000 is considered to become a strong candidate in the next presidential election. His party as well as some political analysts believe that the SJB has an opportunity to win the upcoming local government polls by a landslide if the polls take place as scheduled.

He has stated that a government under his party will not oblige to back the ongoing IMF deal or any other international deals because President Wickremesinghe and the current government have no mandate to sign such agreements.

His comments drew strong criticism in social media.

“Honestly, they are playing to the ignorant masses and I find this so infuriating,” a tweep said responding to Premadasa’s IMF criticism.

“Seriously, can’t you politicians see beyond the next election?” another tweep questioned.

“Sad to see still planning the same old cheap politics. Proves that these idiots will never change.”

Premadasa has also proposed ‘Sister city project’ to develop each local government bodies in the country, which also was criticized by social media users by sharing negative posts on the proposal. He said those who are unable to keep their election promises only mock him via social media.

“These are new proposals. The rival parties are scared of these proposals. So they take a few
words from what I say and make posts out of them. It is the incapable ones who keep on mocking our proposals on social media platforms,” he said.

“We are going to implement rooftop solar projects for every local government if the SJB wins.

Unfortunately, social media is mocking those projects as well. There are strange cattle (puduma
harak) on these social media platforms.”

“The millions of money owned by political parties are utilized for social media promotions. It was done in 2019 and they are going to fool the people in 2023 as well.

I should say one thing: we don’t spend millions of money on social media, we have sacrificed millions of money only for the education of school children and the health sector.” (Colombo/Feb03/2023)


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  1. a.senarath says:

    Though we get IMF funds we will be a bankrupt country for years till we start to pay back our debts. So, what is the real meaning of IMF funds? Up to now, we have had no plan to boost our exports. Where are we going to implement this money? If we get more loans for day-to-day expenses, we will be surely like Argentine a bankrupt country for years and years.

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  1. a.senarath says:

    Though we get IMF funds we will be a bankrupt country for years till we start to pay back our debts. So, what is the real meaning of IMF funds? Up to now, we have had no plan to boost our exports. Where are we going to implement this money? If we get more loans for day-to-day expenses, we will be surely like Argentine a bankrupt country for years and years.

Sri Lanka establishes committee to investigate aircraft incidents

An aircraft lands at the Jaffna International Airport, which was opened in October 2019 and promises to push the tourism frontiers in Jaffna.

ECONOMYNEXT: Sri Lanka’s has established an expert committee under the state-run Civil Aviation Authority to investigate aircraft accidents and to implement precautionary methods in the Sri Lankan airspace, an Official said.

“Even if it is only one flight, there is a chance an accident may occur,” Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka, Director General, P. A. Jayakantha said.

“This particular committee is there to investigate aircraft accidents and act as a mechanism to take over if something goes wrong”.

Sri Lanka has encountered around 2,700 minor aircraft accidents and incidents mostly on the ground in the 19 years through 2021, the CAA annual reports showed.

The new committee will analyze the past accidents and take precautionary measures while also conducting investigations and provide independent reports in the future, Jayakantha said.

The team is provided with required training and qualifications by the CAA along with an International organization, free of charge.

“Internationally also it is a requirement to have a team to investigate the aircraft accidents,” Jayakantha added.

“For a long time we have not fulfilled this requirement and that is why we established this team with the cabinet approval. Moreover, recently, Sri Lanka’s two aircrafts, one training aircraft and a commercial aircraft met an accident”

The committee will be on active duty, until the Accident Investigation Act is passed and a proper Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation Bureau is established. (Colombo/ Mar23/2023)

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Sri Lanka bond yields steady, Rupee 319/325 at close

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s treasury bond yields closed steady on Thursday while rupee closed weaker, dealers said.

A 01.07.2025 bond closed at 30.60/31.00 percent on Tuesday, down from 30.25/75 percent on Wednesday.

A 15.09.2027 bond closed at 27.80/28.10 percent, steady from 27.90/28.00 percent from Wednesday.

Sri Lanka rupee closed at 319/325 against the US dollar depreciating from 318/320 from a day earlier. (Colombo/ March23/2023)

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Sri Lanka shares dive to two-week low on local debt restructuring fears

ECONOMYNEXT – The Sri Lanka market fell for a fourth session to a two-week low on Thursday, led by financials, as worries over domestic debt restructuring continued after the IMF loan was approved earlier this week resulting in investors adopting a wait-and-see approach until further clarity was provided, analysts said.

The main All Share Price Index (ASPI) closed down 1.38 percent or 131.07 points to 9,395.98, lowest since March 02.

Analysts said, majority of the banks have been on slower investment trends on fears of domestic debt restructuring after the IMF approval and waiting for more clarity on the local debt restructuring.

“The market is on muted sentiments despite the IMF loan being approved and is going through a period of consolidation,” Ranjan Ranatunga of First Capital Holdings said.

The market saw a net foreign outflow of 298 million rupees and the total offshore inflows recorded so far in 2023 to 3.3 billion rupees.

The most liquid index, S&P SL20, closed 1.64 percent, or 45.33 points, down at 2,722.94.

The market saw a turnover of 3.4 billion rupees on Thursday, above this year’s daily average of 1.8 billion rupees.

This is the highest turnover generated since March 08, which is when the market was driven off of positive sentiments from International Monetary Fund deal hope after Chinese assurances.

Top contributors to revenue was Agalawatte Plantations, on off board transactions of a stake change, contributing revenue of 1.6 billion rupees, Ranatunga said.

Top contributors to revenue industry wise was Food and Beverage and Telecommunications.

Sri Lanka Telecom has been seeing positive uptrends as the Secretary to the Treasury has informed the Board of Directors of Sri Lanka Telecom PLC (SLT) and Lanka Hospitals PLC that the Cabinet of Ministers has granted approval in principle for the divestment of the stakes held by the Treasury Secretary in the two companies.

Top losers were Sampath Bank, Hatton National Bank and Commercial Bank.

Sri Lanka is looking at options to re-structure domestic debt, or local law local currency debt (LLLC), without harming the banking sector and announce them the International Monetary Fund said in a report.

Banks have been witnessing profit taking and selling pressures after continuous uptrends prior to the IMF loan had been approved.

Analysts said, selling pressures is expected to ease as the IMF hopes to reduce inflationary pressures which will in turn lead to reductions in interest rates. (Colombo/Mar23/2023)

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