Category Archives: Politics


Towards an economically viable Sri Lanka

Let’s face it.  Close to 70 years after gaining independence, Sri Lanka is still nowhere.  Part of the blame can be laid on the LTTE and their separatist war, but that only accounts for 30 years.  We still have 40 years where the politicians have to take the blame for most of the problems that we have now.

Free economic principles definitely have merit, but let’s be realistic when we say that they haven’t totally worked out for us.  Our country title has the word “Socialist” in it as well, but again what has that achieved for us?  We are not 100% socialist, nor can we be (and of course even Russia and China are not 100% socialist, and now more towards capitalist)

But maybe there are a few things that we can do as a country, where we mix and match and enforce policies with the short term and long term future in mind.

So here’s a set of proposals that I think have some merit and could go some way in solving some of the problems that we have in this country.  If any politician would like to take me up on this, cheers.  If not, it would be up to the voters to make the politicians understand.

Economic Growth

Public Private Partnership

People in government administrative services will know how to run public enterprises, but would not have the commercial expertise that we desire, in order to run an efficient service.  I don’t say that public enterprises such as the transport board or the railways department have to make profits, but they do have to generate sufficient revenue to cover the costs and also to invest in new equipment and to expand the services.

Get the top 20 minds in the corporate sector and put them to work as an overseeing committee to advise the government on how these departments can be re-structured and modernised, in order to give the public the service that they deserve.  Some services  should continue for free such as basic healthcare, whilst others can see needed revisions done to the rates (such as railway tickets)


Improve the enforcement of laws and regulations

An investor who gets off a place and comes onto the Sri Lankan roads will be greeted with nice views and general good driving as long as they are on the airport expressway.  As soon as they get off the expressway and join the highway however, they will see something completely different.  Heavy vehicles that go on the right-side lanes, three wheelers that weave in and out of lanes, constantly blaring horns, and much more.  There goes that positive view about investing in this country.

Get the police to enforce the laws without turning a blind eye.  When they see people coming in the wrong lane, disregarding lane markings and safety, some of the cops just look the other way, since they cannot be bothered to write out a ticket.  How about changing the regulations, so that the cops also get a percentage from the fines that they write?  Bye bye bribes, since they get paid anyway, and hello discipline.

Put those shiny new Yamaha bikes to good use, chasing after wrong-doers on highways, rather than using them as glorified transport to get a cop from A to B.

Improve the public transport

What happened to those Volvo and Yutong buses that were running as a pilot project?  Haven’t seen them recently.  People will definitely pay extra for air conditioned comfort.  Yes, these buses are more expensive, but there are cheap alternatives in India and China that we can bring down, and the government can give the CTB a duty concession.  If you can give permits to MP’s, doctors, state workers, teachers, etc why not use those duty concessions to improve the national transportation fleets?

Also make it compulsory to have closed doors on the old buses, to stop people from falling out.  Remember how many people have fallen off and then getting run over by the same bus?

Look at the next point and eliminate the competition between the CTB and the private buses.  This competition leads to races and crashes and ultimately injury and death.

Hopefully, with the Megapolis project, we will see the re-introduction of LRT (tram networks) that operate on the road with a higher right of way.  This means that although cars in traffic would be waiting, the trams would operate with minimal waiting meaning that people get from A to B much faster.  This will create an incentive for people to use trams instead of their own cars to get to work.

No more Private Buses

The competition between SLTB buses and individual private buses is killing people, and that’s no good.  Road rules are bent, broken, and murdered in plain sight and most of the time the traffic police turn a blind eye towards them as well.

Form a public-private corporation where all private buses will be “invested” into it by their owners.  The SLTB will manage and administer the corporation.  Existing private drivers will be given employment in the new corporation.  All buses will be uniformly painted so that there is no distinction for the public.  Owners will receive a rental and a fair share of the profits.  The bus networks will be in better harmony, service levels will increase, safety will improve. Win Win situation for all concerned.

No more three-wheelers

The fact that this is a small vehicle leads to the following:

  1. Allows them to creep from all sides, leading to more traffic congestion.
  2. Creeping from unseen places leads to more accidents
  3. Survivability after an accident is poor due to the minimal safety standards in these vehicles.

Pack them off to countries where there is still a demand for them, like Bangladesh, Pakistan, African region, etc and replace them with compact cars.  Keep in mind that a Bajaj Tuk now costs about 700,000 rupees and a Tata Nano is 1,700,000.  That same Nano will cost 140,000 INR in India which is approx 300,000 LKR.  Don’t say it can’t be done.  Three wheelers  can be replaced by small cars effectively.

Safety would be much higher, and people can travel in better comfort, and the living standards of the drivers / owners would increase.  Traffic would actually be better managed as well, since we will not have three wheelers filtering through small gaps and lanes and creating blocks.

No more Vehicle Permits – equality for all

Why should one group of society such as MP’s, Doctors, Government Servants receive permits to buy vehicles at zero duty or lesser duty, compared to another segment that has no such privilege? Even the Prime Minister stated that no group is above another.  Then let’s abolish this much abused permit system and introduce a fairer duty calculation mechanism, to enable better equality.  India which has bigger problems than Sri Lanka has a fairer pricing policy when compared to Sri Lanka.

One way to do this would be to immediately stop issuing all permits, but consider giving concessionary loans to those same people.  Government would still get an income from the duties paid.  Eventually, the duties can be reduced gradually making vehicles more affordable.  Yes, this may lead to more traffic but this can be managed via proper regulations and enforcement of laws.

No more “super” luxuries for MP’s and Ministers.

MP’s should not forget that they are public servants, elected from among the common man to serve man.  Why do they need massive luxuries such as SUV’s that cost a hefty bill to the tax paying public?  H.E. the President, who is a “sarala” (simple) man should enforce policy on his Ministers.  Specify a simple vehicle for government service that meets the requirements and has a bit of luxury for comfortable travel, and say no to the extravagant expenditure.  We are not a oil rich country with a massive income to justify what we spend on our elected officials.

Mihin Lanka

For a number of years now, I have been saying that 1) it was wrong to setup a separate airline, and 2) it should be merged with SriLankan airlines.

If the requirement was to offer budget travel for pilgrims that could have easily been done using the existing national carrier by giving subsidised tickets on a quota system for deserving people.  Creating another airline was a massive waste of money, and it affected SriLankan airlines too.

Glad to hear some news that there are plans now to merge Mihin with SriLankan and to create one airline under the SriLankan brand.  Better late than never. Learn a lesson and move on.


Educational Reform

We need to re-examine what we teach and how we teach it.  Maybe we should consider reducing the number of years we spend for primary and secondary education and consider sending students to college and university at a younger age.  Maybe we should consider re-examining what we teach in university, and what streams are on offer?  Maybe we should look at an employability-skills matrix and design our courses around that?  Maybe we should limit the number of general Arts degrees that we offer, and divert those students to other streams? Otherwise, students will graduate with degrees that give them no employable skills and they would be unemployed.  More time and money would have to be spent to re-train them on other skills, where they would then obtain a job which has nothing to do with what they learnt in university.  Consider that in 2013, we admitted 7,396 students into Arts degrees.  Shouldn’t we ensure that they learn and acquire skills of an employable nature.

Access to Higher Education

In 2013, a total of 143,740 students passed their advanced level exams and became eligible to enter state university and pursue their higher education.  Of this, 25,200 students were admitted, of which 15,694 were female (very interesting, but not relevant).

So what happened to the 118,540 other students?  Who cares about them?  What’s their future like?  Don’t they have rights?  Anyone in the “Anthare” who likes to talk about them?

Some will say that the solution is to build more state universities, but all of us know that Sri Lanka does not have the funds or the resources to build more of such mammoth facilities, and then there’s the problem of maintaining them.

For the year 2016 alone, the Govt of SL has allocated a total of 44,923 Million Rupees for a total of 35 universities and institutions.  UGC source available here.

How many of you noticed that when the last government gave approval for the private medical college, one thing they did was to offer some scholarships to students who were unable to enter state universities.  I propose that this should be taken further, and that full and partial scholarships can be given to deserving students to study at institutions such as NSBM, NIBM, SLIIT, etc and that this can even be extended to private institutions at a discounted rate so that more people have access to higher education.  If the Govt were to ask us to offer a bulk discounted rate for a couple of hundred students, I would gladly work out a win-win arrangement.  I get students, people get a recognised educational qualification and then into employment, and the Govt gets the credit.

Having more people being qualified with reputed and recognised qualifications is never a bad thing.

Pay back to Society

Since state sponsored / free higher education will continue into the future, we need to make sure that the people who get this benefit, then pay it back to society.  As graduates, if they work in the state sector or private sector, they serve the Sri Lankan public.  If however, after qualifying as a Doctor or an Engineer or whatever at the state’s expense, they then decide to migrate to some other country within 10 years, they should not be allowed to go unless they pay back to the State, whatever the money that was invested in them.  No payment = no immigration clearance stamp.


Doctors are an essential service

Personally, I think there are too many strikes and trade union actions going on in this country.  Yes, there are problems which need to be solved, but I don’t think it’s right to go on strike for everything.  The Doctors as an example, had a lot of sympathy from the general public but the fact that they went on strike over a schooling matter seems to have caused a backlash, and people were not impressed.

Stop taking the patients hostage.  The service of Doctors should be declared as an “essential service” and no strikes should be allowed.  Instead, they can work and resolve their issues via labour tribunals and the courts.  If they need to show their power, they can do so via work-to-rule.

More will be added as I think them up, but some of these may go a long way if they get implemented.  Let me know what you think, in the way of comments.


CEPA, ETCA, ETCFA, et al. Whatever it’s called – is it all good?

The Preamble

Agreements?  Generally good to have them.  Why? ‘Cause they give us some degree of protection if things go wrong and people start going back on their word.  But for that to happen, the agreement must be written in good faith to begin with.  No one can write an agreement to be one sided – it must contain ‘give’ and ‘take’.  The question that most people have is whether the ETCA is a balanced agreement to begin with.

So, what’s all the fuss about?  Let’s see what we know and don’t know so far.

What is CEPA?

CEPA stands for Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.  Many countries have signed these between themselves and they generally do reap the rewards.  Essentially it spells out how trade in goods and services will happen between the host countries and liberalises some of the specified markets.

When did this CEPA thing appear?

My understanding is that this is not something new.  Earlier records that I could find about this date back to the year 2003 where apparently 13 rounds of negotiations happened between Sri Lanka and India in order to iron out the details and to sign off.  Details here.  Some last minute objections from Sri Lanka put the signing on hold, and it’s been on the back-burner even since.

When India was going against us with that whole UNHCR fiasco a few years ago, the CEPA work came to the forefront again and it’s possible that since out best friend China is not so great these days, India wants to come in again and with the support that was given, CEPA may possible have become something that our Statesmen could simply not ignore.

So what happened to CEPA?

The original CEPA agreement had a number of services shortlisted for liberalisation and it included among others, Medical Services.  Quite rightly, the GMOA got into the game and threatened trade union action if the plans are not immediately halted.

With all the shouting and objections, the Prime Minister announced that CEPA would not be signed.  Source here, here, here, here, and here.  Although it seemed like a welcome respite, what actually happened was that CEPA returned, this time with a different name, the ETCA – Economic and Technical Cooperation (Framework) Agreement.

ETCA is basically an agreement about an agreement that is to be signed around June of 2016.  Draft versions we have seen are available here, with an annexture containing the services here (Please note that I cannot vouch for the accuracy of these links since the actual agreement is not released to the public)

In the meantime, various other professional organisations got together and formed an alliance by the name of the United Professionals Movement.  The representative organisations were:

  1. Sri Lankan Engineers’ Association
  2. Government Medical Officers’ Association
  3. Government Dental Surgeons’ Association
  4. The Institution of Engineers
  5. Institution of Incorporated Engineers
  6. Computer Society of Sri Lanka
  7. Institute of Personnel Management
  8. The Bar Association
  9. Sri Lanka Institute of Architects
  10. Chartered Institute of Management Accountants
  11. Institute of Applied Statistics

The UPM jointly wrote to the Prime Minister requesting for an opportunity to meet and discuss about the proposed agreement and it’s possible repercussions, but a reply was not received.

Source here

Subsequently a discussion took place between the Minister Malik Samarawickrama, and some of the professional bodies, but the results were less than impressive.  It would seem that the Indians have written their part of the agreement rather thoroughly and the Sri Lankan side of it needs some more refinement.  Our request is that the professional bodies, as the representatives of the local professionals, should also be taken in on an advisory basis to do such refinements, rather than rushing into signing an incomplete framework.

What’s on the agenda now?

The most vocal critics have had their professions removed from the proposed ETCA agreement.  Currently the focus is on Maritime Services and on IT.  The dockyard representatives who came for a common meeting at the IESL stated that they have a shortage for skilled welders, and have requested permission from the BOI to bring skilled workers from India.  No problems there, since the BOI framework allows that to happen.  Why in that case do we need a new agreement to open this up?  Their problem was that the welders that were trained were leaving for foreign employment.  That can be solved with proper contracts and bonds.  Opening up the sector to India is not the solution.

Also, why IT?  The local IT industry has developed rapidly and has built up a name and a reputation for capability and quality.  As such, the local salary structures have evolved and those that are in the IT profession make a comfortable living.  Salaries are nowhere near what their US and European counterparts are getting, but it is higher than a few notable sectors in Sri Lanka.  Are the salaries prohibitive, so that new startups cannot compete?  Definitely not.  There are plenty of fresh graduates who are willing to work in the 40 to 60,000 range

An interesting comparison of the Sri Lankan and Indian Economies

My source for this is IndexMundi.

Factor India Sri Lanka
GDP Growth Rate 3.2% (2013 est.)
5.1% (2012 est.)
7.5% (2011 est.)
6.3% (2013 est.)
6.4% (2012 est.)
8.2% (2011 est.)
GDP – per capita (PPP) $4,000 (2013 est.)
$3,900 (2012 est.)
$3,800 (2011 est.)
$6,500 (2013 est.)
$6,100 (2012 est.)
$5,800 (2011 est.)
Population below poverty line 29.8% (2010 est.) 8.9% (2010 est.)
Unemployment Rate 8.8% (2013 est.)
8.5% (2012 est.)
5.1% (2013 est.)
4% (2012 est.)
Industrial production growth rate 0.9% (2013 est.) 10% (2013 est.)
Export Partners UAE 12.3%, US 12.2%, China 5%, Singapore 4.9%, Hong Kong 4.1% (2012) US 20.4%, UK 9.9%, India 5.8%, Italy 4.7%, Belgium 4.3%, Germany 4.3% (2012)
Imports – partners China 10.7%, UAE 7.8%, Saudi Arabia 6.8%, Switzerland 6.2%, US 5.1% (2012) India 22.7%, Singapore 8.8%, UAE 7.7%, China 7%, Iran 6.1%, Malaysia 4.5% (2012)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 total: 10.7%
male: 10.4%
female: 11.6% (2012)
total: 17.3%
male: 14%
female: 23.5% (2012)

I haven’t taken all the factors, but in terms of employment and finances, some of the most important are given above.

Justification for and against signing the ETCA

  • It’s always good to have new business opportunities, but would Sri Lankan companies be able to open up shop in India?  Keep in mind that the state governments can impose additional rules and regulations on top of the ETCA signed between the national governments and quickly make this into a one-sided arrangement.  Anyone think they can safely enter the Chennai market?
  • Allowing Indian expertise into the country will make the employment market more competitive.  Yet it will – but if the current market is sustainable, and the quality of life is better than in India, why attract them for lower salaries and thereby drive down the market?  Those who say that this would not happen, had probably not seen that article about Uttar Pradesh advertising for 350+ clerical jobs with a 16,000 rupee salary and then receiving 2.4 million applications including 255 PhD’s, 155,000 graduates, etc.  If a PhD is willing to work for 16,000 (32,000 LKR), what more can we say?  India has a unemployment of 15,000,000.  Our entire population is 22,000,000.
  • Companies will have access to cheaper professionals – yes, but if one company employs one hundred Sri Lankans, whose interest is more important?  the one or the hundred?  Keep in mind that Sri Lanka’s name is Socialist Democratic Republic of Sri Lanka – Socialist, not Capitalist.
  • Why sign with India?  Yes, they’ve sent rockets and launched satellites, etc, etc, etc.  Yes, they like to act like our Big Brother.  But, why not consider signing with a country that could really give us a technology boost such as Malaysia, Singapore, even China – but still without allowing open movement of persons.  India isn’t that great a place.

What’s next?

Maritime Services and IT and probably the test bed.  If that goes through, then more annexures would be signed to liberalise and open more service areas.  If this is not managed and controlled, things could turn nasty quite fast.


25/01/2016 – For those that say this post is one sided / imbalanced – yes, just like the agreement that is to be signed this is an imbalanced article.  If things improve with regards to the agreement, full transparency is achieved, and Sri Lanka gets a win-win scenario, then my post will reflect that.  Further, if new companies and existing companies that are setup via the BOI can recruit international talent without major restrictions, why would we want to sign an agreement with India to make it easier?  Shouldn’t some form of control be maintained to sustain the image of quality that the Sri Lankan IT Sector has built up?

My thoughts on the Presidential Election 2015, and an Open Letter to HE Maithripala Sirisena, our President

Here we are at the end of another presidential election, which should never have been called in the first place.  This was a colossal waste of money, since there were 2 more years to go.  It was a dirty battle and both sides dished out hits that were considered “below the belt”, but those who were in power did so with reckless abandon, and it seems that it has come full circle to bite them in the rear.

The Dirty Game

I generally do not get involved in politics, and I try to stay neutral even though I have a political affiliation.  I appreciate the good things that were done by the President, and all due credit should go to him for that.  But there were some rather unsavoury things that happened that should have been kept out.  Those that throw mud should have borne in mind that the same mud would tarnish them as well.

Things which I saw as standing out among the rest were:

  1. Tissa crossed over to the Government, and that was his right and there were so many that crossed over to the Opposition.  Tissa went one step further, and maybe one step too far by outing a fake agreement.  As soon as I read it I knew it was a fake because of the wording that was used in it, and also since it did not look like a legal agreement.  But not everyone would look at it like I did, and there would be people that would be fooled.
  2. SB showed some vulgar behaviour by saying that this is a good chance to strip Chandrika naked and make her run through the streets in madness and shame.  You do not talk like that about a lady.  He also used the ‘P’ word when describing MS.
  3. JF, PW, MA behaved poorly when participating in televised debates and tried to use thuggish behaviour to subdue the opposition when they saw that their political debating skills were lagging.
  4. WW consistently went on stage and slung mud for character assassination of MS and the people started to hate him for it
  5. Rupavahini and ITN and state newspapers broke most laws with regards to election propaganda and misuse of State resources and were continuously used for election propaganda and mud slinging.
  6. State employees such as ANC and PBJ did interviews on Rupavahini which turned out to be one sided political programmes where they forgot that they were State employees and not political party representatives
  7.  Day before the election there was a fake SMS supposedly from SP’s phone saying that he wanted UNP supporters to vote for MR, and on the day of the election there was the fake news report that SP had joined the Govt.
  8. The fake Sirisena from Polonnaruwa was brought to Medamulana dressed in a similar way to MS and was shown on TV standing next to MR.  MR made it a point to say on TV that “Sirisena came all the way from Polonnaruwa to support him” – was this not an attempt to mislead voters?

Both sides did bad things when it came to Social Media.  There were a lot of edited and doctored photographs such as the one that PCR showed about KP.  In his defence, he took this from the Internet and was mislead himself.  There was also a doctored photo of HF together with MR, which claimed that he had crossed over to the Govt.  Then there were the car photos that were shown by eloquent SS.  He should have checked before making those pictures public and should have know that he was being lead along.

Then there were the artists like IW who went beyond decency.  Having a political affiliation and sharing a few posts is quite okay, but he went beyond and faced a backlash from his own fans.  What he forgot was that his fans were from both sides.

Things to bear in mind

Let’s not make the same mistakes twice.

  1. Don’t call MS a King.  He is a democratically elected leader and he represents the people.  He was not born as a King, and he will not leave as a King, as shown by MR.
  2. MS has to keep in mind that he is President of the entire SL, and not just of the people that voted him in.  Show the proper leadership and earn the respect of the 47% that did not vote for you.
  3. Deliver what you promised.  You may not be able to do everything that was promised, within your first 100 days.  But, do the best and implement the most, and the people will trust you.

What needs to change?

Looking to the future of our Country, the new President should take immediate steps in these areas:

  1. The economy is one of the most important areas for consideration.  Let the experts handle that.  Make sure that the Minister of Finance, Secretary to the Treasury, and the Governor of the Central Bank are all capable people who see eye to eye.  Don’t massage the numbers.  Ensure that there is real economic growth where the people get the benefits.  Let them have a better home economy with more affordability and a better lifestyle.  Either bring down the cost of living or enhance their financial situation.  One recent cross over to the Govt said that if fuel prices are brought down, people will pump more fuel and waste money on frivolous trips.  Don’t give a place in your Government for people like that.  Give us our dignity.
  2. Don’t have development for the sake of development.  Instead, ensure that the right project is done in the right place, at the right time.  Hambantota saw a lot of development but compared to other regions of the country, the entire voter base there is around 450,000 which is just 3% of the registered voter base in Sri Lanka and a total population of 596,617.   Maybe the Sea Port was justified and will be useful in the future, but the Airport was a waste.  Decisions about major projects should be taken by appointed committees that have experts in them, and should not be based on populist politics.
  3. Cancel the 18th Amendment, and bring back the 17th Amendment to the constitution.  Make sure that the Police answer to the independent Police Commission and not to politicians.  Ensure that state employees are loyal to the State, and not to Ministers.  Ensure that there is a independent Bribery Commission with power to act.  Have an Independent Media Commission and make the State and Private media answerable to them.  Ensure the independence of the Judiciary, and ensure that no one is above the law.
  4. Remove the names of politicians and their pictures from projects that were funded by the state.  State establishments and Ministries should have the picture of the head of state, but should it be there on the buses that operate on the expressways?
  5. Review all wasteful projects and manage them accordingly.  Absorb the assets of Mihin Lanka into Sri Lankan Airlines.  Since Mihin Lanka was established with the stated motive of giving budget / affordable services to pilgrims, use some of that money to give subsidised air tickets to those that deserve them.  You can do this at less than 1/10th of the cost of running a separate airline.
  6. Plan for the future, and invest in the younger generation.  Invest in their education.  Create jobs for them by establishing new industries.
  7. Take out nepotism and cronyism and get rid of corrupt officials.  Let the rule of law prevail.
  8. Strengthen our foreign service and make sure that we have educated, eloquent, and capable people as High Commissioners and Diplomats, who are able to manage our international relations and demonstrate to the world that we are civilised and capable of managing our own affairs.  Show them that international investigations are not required, since we have the ability to manage things ourselves.  The UN and others cannot be overcome with intimidation.  Instead, we need sharp witted minds to handle them.
  9. Appoint the right people for the right ministries.  Even if the Minister knows nothing about the portfolio, ensure that he or she is a good administrator.  Appoint a subject matter expert as the Secretary to the Ministry, and let that person work with the Minister to do what is right.
  10. Appoint the right people as Advisers to the President and to the Ministries.  Get qualified, educated, forward thinking people.  Hint hint!
  11. You do not need to spend mega bucks for mega projects to win the people over.  Sometimes it is the smallest thing that garners the admiration of the people.  Get your priorities straight, and stick to your principles.

Maybe I’ll add some more later, but I think this is good enough for a start.  Let’s work together to build a better, safer country.  30 years of war are over.  Let’s now declare war on our economic and social enemies.

Presidential Election 2014

Here we are, at the dawn of a new year, and unable to enjoy it fully as another election has been declared before it’s due.  For the politicians, election fever has set in.  For the common man, it is the one time at which they hold some real power.  Like colourful birds that strut around proudly puffing their chests to attract the attention of the female, so are our politicians.  They speak eloquently and promise us so much with the hope of getting our vote, but whether what is promised will turn into a reality is another game completely.

Many have asked from me as to who I would vote for.  Here’s my answer.

My vote is deserved by…

  1. The one that is not afraid to admit to his mistakes, because he is only human.
  2. The one that is not corrupt.
  3. The one that does not forget that he is elected from the people, by the people, for the people.
  4. The one that can garner enough votes to establish a stable government without needing a coalition so that the party with 3 seats does not control the party with 111 seats.
  5. The one that places the Judiciary above the legislature, so that even the rulers are answerable to the Law.
  6. The one that abolishes the Executive Presidency and transfers the authority to the Parliament duly composed of elected members.
  7. The one that strengthens democracy and encourages debate, rather than labeling the rulers as Patriots and the opposition as Traitors.  Instead we should have shadow ministers appointed from the opposition like they do in the United Kingdom.  They keep an eye on the Minister and point out any issues and keep things in check.  If the government were to change, the Shadow Minister would become the Minister.  He or she can easily take over and effectively manage matters.
  8. The one that reduces bribery and corruption from the top to the bottom, without just concentrating on the small Frye that accepts a Rs 500 bribe.
  9. The one that develops the infrastructure of the entire country, and not just in one area.
  10. The one that can build international relations with foreign governments so that we are respected even if we are small.  Sri Lanka has the potential to be a moderate to big player in the global village.
  11. The one that heads disciplined parliamentarians who answer questions with facts and figures rather than diverting the topic by saying “we are better compared to your time when you did x, y, and z…” and acting like young children in pre-school.
  12. The one with sound economic policies that will help steer Sri Lanka towards economic prosperity, using multiple pathways and not just singular pathways such as Tourism.  Emphasis should be put on manufacturing and related industries, knowledge workers, and more foreign direct investments in strategic areas.  Gone are the days where our major earners were tea, rubber, and coconuts.  Gone should be the days where our major export is labour.
  13. The one that instills discipline on the roads where the traffic rules are obeyed.  Building roads and highways and expressways is not enough when the people don’t know how to use them.
  14. The one that makes the Police force truly independent and only answerable to the Police Commission and the Courts.
  15. The one that ensures that true freedom of the press is maintained, and that they operate under a set of rules based on ethics, and answerable to the Media / Press Commission, which in turn answers to the judiciary.  This should not equate to a free license to insult someone with baseless facts.  Any defamations or libel would be handled via the Press Complaints Commission and the judiciary.
  16. The one that enforces the rule of law in the land.  Criminals and Terrorists should be punished, no matter who they are or who they know.
  17. The one that appoints Ministers and Secretaries and Diplomats based on their knowledge, qualifications, experience, and capability and not on personal ties and relationships.
  18. The one that ensures that State resources are not abused, and that projects are awarded rightly and justly by way of tenders and expert panels, and not based on friendship.
  19. The one that ensures that Politicians and their families understand that they are not above the Citizens, but equals.  They are not entitled to use emergency flashers and sirens that are reserved for emergency vehicles such as ambulances, fire brigade, and police and cannot travel on the wrong side of the road.
  20. The one that takes the bold move to abolish the private bus system which has lead to unhealthy competition and bus races, leading to unsafe roadways.  Instead, the buses can be leased and operated by the SLTB under a common scheme with a time table.

These are my reasonable expectations from the next Head of State.  Now then…. Who would like my vote…?