FT View Editorial

The Executive debate

Views - 0 Friday, 20 September 2019 00:00

With Presidential Elections now announced, the debate has shifted back to the abolishment of the Executive Presidency. At a suddenly summoned Cabinet meeting on Thursday, attempts were made to push forward the 20th Amendment, which has been before Pa

Polls parlay

Views - 31 Thursday, 19 September 2019 00:41

The announcement of Presidential Elections will be the signal political parties have been waiting for to take their campaigns to the next level. This natural upping the ante will be played out across many segments of society, but it will also be a ch

The bloom and the bane

Views - 45 Wednesday, 18 September 2019 00:00

The opening of the Lotus Tower took an unexpected turn when President Maithripala Sirisena dropped a bombshell of sorts that the Government had incurred a loss of Rs. 2 billion due to an advance paid to a Chinese company. The allegation underscored o

Preserving heritage

Views - 50 Tuesday, 17 September 2019 00:00

The concept of creating smart cities is one that has gained ground globally and Sri Lanka has also enthusiastically adopted the challenge of changing Colombo into a ‘smart city’ or a megapolis. Over the years, the Government has rolled out severa

Decision-making time?

Views - 69 Monday, 16 September 2019 00:16

They say death and taxes come to everyone. For most people living in a democracy, there is arguably a third – elections. Since the passage of the 19th Amendment in the first quarter of 2015, it was apparent that by the end of President Maithripala

Healthcare milestones

Views - 56 Friday, 13 September 2019 00:00

Sri Lanka is readying to celebrate another healthcare achievement of being declared free of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and Syphilis by the World Health Organization (WHO). Over the last year or so Sri Lanka has reached several milestones inc

Adding to the SOE problem

Views - 100 Thursday, 12 September 2019 00:18

State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) in Sri Lanka are a contentious subject even in the best of times. But now with Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) sessions open to media the amount of shocking details coming to the surface has increased exponential

Elections in the time of social media

Views - 78 Wednesday, 11 September 2019 00:00

The Elections Commission has stepped up to push organisations posting about politics on social media platforms such as Facebook to abide by Sri Lankan laws, and refrain from mudslinging and misinformation campaigns that could be used to swing voters

Need for new thinking

Views - 112 Tuesday, 10 September 2019 00:04

Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) presidential hopeful Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Sunday laid out an extensive blueprint of his plans to develop Sri Lanka. One aspect that was mentioned in the lengthy speech was import substitution for selected agricultu

Not all candidates are equal

Views - 114 Monday, 9 September 2019 00:00

The Elections Commission is expecting about 20 candidates to contest the upcoming Presidential Elections and has called on political parties to submit their intention on whether or not to field a candidate. The surprising inclusion in that, at least

Parliament responsibilities

Views - 51 Saturday, 7 September 2019 00:01

Parliament is at the centre of a firestorm after key Government Ministers failed to show up in the House to respond to questions raised by the Opposition. In a tense session on Thursday all 15 questions that were to be replied by Government Parliamen

Women and politics

Views - 107 Friday, 6 September 2019 00:00

For the first time in 20 years a woman candidate has been named to contest at the upcoming Presidential Election. Environmentalist Dr. Ajantha Perera being nominated is largely seen as a positive sign for increased women representation in Sri Lankan

Power perceptions

Views - 69 Thursday, 5 September 2019 00:56

Beauty, they say, is in the eye of the beholder. For Sri Lankan politicians, one can argue, power is also in the eye of the beholder. The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) National Convention that wrapped up on Tuesday was to be the platform where Presi

Togetherness for growth

Views - 78 Wednesday, 4 September 2019 00:00

Reconciliation is usually discussed as a political imperative but it is also essential for economic growth. When the Easter Sunday attacks took place, Sri Lanka was devastated and none more so than the tourism sector, which saw its 10-year growth run

Fresh challenges

Views - 129 Tuesday, 3 September 2019 00:00

Sri Lanka’s economy is grappling with the need for reforms and increased competitiveness in the wake of the country being catagorised as an upper-middle income country. One of the biggest challenges will be access to concessional programmes and fun

Take action

Views - 66 Monday, 2 September 2019 00:00

Public officials have weighty responsibilities, which is why their integrity is important. This is why reports that 70 Government officials, including district secretaries and divisional secretaries, being reported on a rage of charges including sexu

Tolerance for peace

Views - 65 Saturday, 31 August 2019 00:01

An old woman waiting at the Trincomalee bus stand was arrested and taken to the Police station because the sari that she was clad in had a motif that was viewed as being similar to the head of the Buddha. A monk in the area then arrived at the Police

RTI impact

Views - 75 Friday, 30 August 2019 00:00

Right to Information (RTI) legislation was a landmark moment for Sri Lanka and arguably one of the most important and progressive efforts by the Government. However, passing legislation and implementing legislation are two different things and Sri La

Genuine value

Views - 59 Thursday, 29 August 2019 00:00

Tourism earnings for the first half of the year has predictably declined, but still managed to post $ 1.8 billion in earnings when compared with $ 2.1 billion earned in the same period the previous year. The arrival numbers are also improving slowly,

Gagging hate speech

Views - 116 Wednesday, 28 August 2019 00:00

UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief Ahmed Shaheed, concluding his visit to Sri Lanka this week, has called for the prosecution of anyone responsible for violence, as well as to develop systems to respond to hate speech in line with

Unions in the tech age

Views - 68 Tuesday, 27 August 2019 00:00

Unions are making a comeback. Trade unions, sometimes derided, have been an essential component in fighting for labour rights for decades. In Sri Lanka they have lost their lustre in recent years as constant strikes and protests have dimmed their all

Permit perks

Views - 138 Monday, 26 August 2019 00:00

As elections creep closer, the Finance Ministry has reportedly sought Cabinet approval to distribute vehicle permits to public sector workers, with some top officials earmarked to get up to Rs. 22 million for new vehicles. Vehicle permits have long b

Long-term care

Views - 61 Saturday, 24 August 2019 00:01

In France an entire village has been converted into a long term care facility for its elders. Walkways have been fixed with railings and ramps, a senior centre has been established to provide company and activities and a meals on wheels service provi

Championing COPE

Views - 60 Friday, 23 August 2019 00:00

The Committee on Public Enterprises (CoPE) has called for a new investigation into the colossal losses of SriLankan Airlines in Parliament, insisting a wide-ranging investigation is needed to understand the causes of the losses of the National Carrie

Land reforms

Views - 74 Thursday, 22 August 2019 00:00

The Government this week withdrew the controversial State Land (Special Provisions) Bill following much controversy. Proponents of the Bill backed it on the basis that it would have provided land deeds to over two million families, largely involved i

Railways to the fore

Views - 113 Wednesday, 21 August 2019 00:00

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has agreed to loan Sri Lanka $ 160 million to upgrade its railway system. The agreement, which was signed this week, is expected to kick-off a project that will continue till 2024. This is a positive step as for many

A viable option?

Views - 96 Tuesday, 20 August 2019 00:00

Sundays are becoming more significant in Sri Lanka. It was on a Sunday that former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa was declared as the presidential candidate of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) and just a week later Janatha Vimukthi Peramu

Protecting democratic space

Views - 71 Monday, 19 August 2019 00:00

As polls draw nearer, election monitors are stepping up to protect the democratic space for free and fair elections, which includes misinformation campaigns, social media, and campaign finance. The latter is particularly important as it can undermine

Data and policymaking

Views - 59 Saturday, 17 August 2019 04:04

As the race to be the next president heats up, increased attention should be focused on the policies presented by the different presidential hopefuls and how realistically they can be achieved.

Transparency for change

Views - 83 Friday, 16 August 2019 00:00

The Committee on Public Enterprises (CoPE) will be continuing its proceedings into SriLankan Airlines, Lanka Sathosa, National Water Supply and Drainage Board, and the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) during the next sitting week of Parliament commenci

Today's Columnists

Origins, rise and irrelevance of SLMC

Friday, 20 September 2019

Andreas Johansson’s ‘Pragmatic Muslim Politics: The Case of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress,’ Switzerland: Springer, 2019, is the latest piece of academic research on SLMC, based on Parliamentary Hansards, official party documents and information rec

Questions about Speaker’s candidacy for the presidency?

Friday, 20 September 2019

It is rather unfortunate that Mr. Karu Jayasuriya has issued a statement (17 September), as the Speaker, ‘that he is willing and ready to contest the Presidential Election, on the request of some organisations and individuals, including Maha Sangha

Mr. NOTA and understanding the Presidential Election

Friday, 20 September 2019

The Presidential Election is round the corner, but the public is still confused about the powers of the next president. It can be said that the 19th Amendment has made a significant change in the system of governance despite the fact that it had bee

The dark tower – a lighter loftier look after its initial illumination

Thursday, 19 September 2019

WHERE WERE YOU WHEN THE LIGHTS CAME ON AT THE LOTUS TOWER? Wait, what? Are you being serious? Do you mean in the midst of our sea of troubles – from addressing poverty to abolishing presidencies – a singular erection has stolen their thunder? (I

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