Using anti-corruption as mere political slogan is over – President

President Ranil Wickremesinghe emphasised that the government has adopted 75 new laws in the past two years, making Sri Lanka the country with the most up-to-date legal framework in South Asia. The President stated that this new legal system will foster a new political culture in the country.

The President addressed accusations that the government protects wrongdoers, clarifying that the current administration has enacted laws to apprehend thieves. He asserted that this marks the end of using anti-corruption merely as a political slogan.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe made these remarks during the opening of the new Court Complex in Theldeniya yesterday (15) morning.

The President emphasised that the stability of a country relies on the effective implementation of the law and that international recognition is achieved through a robust legal system.

The original Magistrate’s Court in Theldeniya was submerged under the Victoria Reservoir, part of the Accelerated Mahaweli Development Project. The subsequent Court building in the new town of Karaliyadda, Theldeniya was demolished for full redevelopment. The new Court complex has now been constructed at the same location by the Justice Ministry.

The new Court Complex, a three-storey building, in Theldeniya accommodates the Magistrate and District Courts along with other essential facilities. It serves the proceedings for the areas covered by the Theldeniya, Rangala, Ududumbara, Pallekele, Menikhinna, Wattegama and Panwila police stations.

Previously, the Theldeniya Court operated at a temporary building complex at the Cooperative Land in the Theldeniya City. The inadequate facilities there caused significant difficulties for the public attending proceedings.

Following the unveiling of the plaque and the official opening, President Ranil Wickremesinghe also conducted an observation tour of the new Court complex. The Bar Association of Theldeniya presented a commemorative gift to President Ranil Wickremesinghe. The President engaged in conversation with the lawyers and joined them for a group photo.

President Wickremesinghe further stated:“After almost a century, we have implemented numerous reforms in the field of law. Over the past two years, we have enacted approximately 75 new laws. This is a significant achievement, considering that some parliaments work for even four or five years without passing this amount of laws. A government’s purpose is to work, and MPs should attend Parliament to fulfill their legislative duties. Accordingly, we have worked to introduce a new legal system by adopting these laws in Parliament.

We have also paid special attention to addressing delays in the legal process. For justice to be realized, the law must be executed in a timely manner. This is a challenge we must confront. Efficient hearings will encourage more cases to be filed, ensuring that justice is served promptly.

The rule of law should be reaffirmed in the country. If people take the law into their own hands and destroy property, there is no law. The stability of a country depends on the rule of law. A country gains recognition only when justice is done; otherwise, there will be no development, and investment cannot be expected. Today, we have established such a legal system in the country.

Furthermore, a new economic transformation is currently underway. We are creating an export-based economy. We have agreed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to implement several laws to support this transformation. The first of these, the law for the Central Bank, has been passed, granting the Central Bank independence.

Additionally, we have presented a bill to restructure the Electricity Board. The Board’s heavy losses were a major factor in the collapse of our economy. We must therefore establish an efficient Electricity Board. I assure you that this will not harm the rights of the government.

The government has also presented three more draft bills that are scheduled for cabinet approval next Monday. We have already implemented controls on loans as part of these measures. Previously, there was no national debt control in place. To reduce our debt, we need to implement effective debt management. By 2035-2040, our goal is to control the debt down to 75%. The government must act according to this new debt control law.

Additionally, the government’s monetary control was previously governed by monetary regulations, which could be violated or amended through circulars. As a result, there has been no effective monetary control in the country so far. Currently, no one is fully aware of the government’s assets. Therefore, we have introduced laws for the management of public money. New Zealand pioneered this system, followed by the United Kingdom, Australia and India. We have now presented the latest version of this law.

We must transition from an import-based economy to an export-based economy. To achieve this, a draft of the economic transformation law will be submitted in the future. We have fulfilled all the conditions agreed upon with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which we are legally bound to adhere to. Sri Lanka has previously been accused of violating IMF agreements, but now, with these agreements enforced by law, such violations are no longer possible.

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