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Collective effort to combat corruption

The 70th Independence Day was celebrated with the attendance of the Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward and Countess of Wessex, Sophie as chief guests. They stood together with Chief Justice Priyasath Dep and his wife, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, Prof. Maithree Wickramasinghe, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and First Lady Jayanthi Sirisena to watch the celebrations at the Galle Face Green yesterday. Pictures by Rukmal Gamage

The fight against corruption is the best self defence in a progressive country and nation, President Maithripala Sirisena said yesterday.

The President addressing the 70th National Independence Day celebrations held at Galle Face in Colombo, said financial discipline should be considered an act of patriotism at a time where corruption has become a major hindrance to a prosperous Sri Lanka.

“Despite achievements it has made over the last seven decades, bribery, corruption, fraud and other malpractices have a detrimental impact on economic independence and the future of the country. Thus, all politicians should play a dedicated and exemplary role to survive,”the President emphasised.

The President re-iterated that there was a great need for a national movement against fraud and corruption.

This movement, he said, should promote financial discipline among all citizens.

“There have been diverse interpretations on patriotism during different eras. At this hour, patriotism means financial discipline,” the President added.

He also observed that financial discipline, honesty and integrity should be promoted with a top to bottom approach, where not only those at grassroots level are expected to uphold these qualities.

The President also requested politicians, heads of government departments and all public servants to act with discipline as a part of the national movement against corruption.

The President also pointed out that public opinion against corruption should be promoted and strengthened which will ultimately contribute to the progress of the country.President Sirisena also pointed out that “there is a requirement of a national movement against corruption in order to establish a clean political culture and such a collective effort should be backed with the participation of the country’s intellectual community.”

He observed that there should be a collective effort for a corruption free country.

The President also pointed out that there have been severe repercussions caused by several previous political leaders by implementing personal agendas in country’s development policy. Thus, the President emphasised the importance of correctly identifying the economic and development goals that will fulfill the aspirations of all Sri Lankans.

The President also paid tribute to the members of Security Forces who made immense sacrifices to defeat the LTTE terrorists.

“Our Army, Navy, Air Force, Police and Civil Defence Services personnel made the supreme sacrifice on behalf of the future generations in protecting the country’s unity, territorial integrity and soverignty,” he said.

President Sirisena pointed out the need for communal harmony among the Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim, Burgher and other communities to build the nation.

Pointing out the right of the people to live as equal citizens, the President said fullest commitment and support of every section is essential to achieve true reconciliation. President Sirisena also observed that poverty is another main challenge for Sri Lanka to overcome. He said that several governments over the years had implemented a number of poverty alleviation programmes.

The President observed that these programmes should be made more developed and made more efficient in order to reap better results which would help the country overcome many challenges.

President Sirisena also pointed out that Sri Lanka should not lose its cultural heritage at the expense of digital and technological advancements.

The President said the country should advance while preserving its history and heritage and both public and private sectors have a major say in the matter. Speaking of the dynamics of true freedom, the President said that freedom of animals and natural habitats are equally important just as much as the freedom of humans. He also said that such eco-friendly approach should be promoted and taught from school level itself.