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President slams ‘protesting’ Opposition

  • Says new normal being misused

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said yesterday (10) that he did not expect the Opposition to oppose everything but to support what is right for the future of the country, and that the new normal is not for holding protests and demonstrations.

The country has been opened up and all activities have commenced under the new normalisation but there is a risk of another surge in Covid-19 infections due to certain activities including protests and demonstrations, the President said. He added that this situation could lead to the country being shut down again and that the Opposition should realise the seriousness of the damage this could do to the people and the economy.

The President made these remarks addressing a function held at Temple Trees yesterday to mark National Science Day and Science Week held in Sri Lanka in parallel to World Science Day.

“Two years have passed in my tenure. During that period, the Government had to play a huge role to protect the people from Covid-19. The then-rulers, the Opposition should understand this situation. Due to the weaknesses and failures of their five years in power, the people elected me as the President, but today it is unfortunate to see that the Opposition is behaving like a group that didn’t have power ever before. Taking steps to change this situation is a present need of the country for its future.”

The impact of science and technology can be seen in every field in today’s world and without new technological know-how, future generations will not be able to face the challenges of the modern world, the President said, emphasising the urgent need for educational reforms to build a future generation equipped with advanced technology.

In 2001, UNESCO declared 10 November as World Science Day for Peace and Development. Sri Lanka has been celebrating this day every year since 2004. A Science Week has been declared to coincide with the celebration of Science Day this year.

The technology and innovation in the country has experienced a revival due to the Government’s implementation of the programme aimed at a technology-based society in accordance with the “Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour” policy statement, Skills Development, Vocational Education, Research, and Innovation State Minister Seetha Arambepola stated.

“As a result, Sri Lanka, which was ranked 101st in the Global Innovation Index 2020, was ranked 95th out of 132 countries in 2021,” she said, addressing the audience.

Minister Namal Rajapaksa presented the “Dasis Awards” to the winners of the Innovation Competition which was annually organised by the Sri Lanka Inventors’ Commission.

The audience was also briefed on the features of the “Oxygen Concentrator” machine manufactured by the National Engineering Research and Development Centre of Sri Lanka.

The State Ministry of Skills Development, Vocational Education, Research, and Innovation announced that it has made plans to set up innovative laboratories in 1,500 schools islandwide. Symbolising this initiative, the President presented cheques and school equipment to nine schools selected at the provincial level.

Arambepola stated that as a nation advancing with a scientific basis, science should be made the right of every citizen or else the myth will reign.

In his speech, Minister Namal Rajapaksa pointed out the potential to strengthen the country’s economy by encouraging inventors and to make the public service more efficient by using new technology. The Minister also spoke about future programmes to make public services more efficient such as the e-Grama Seva scheme and the digital identity card.

Minister of State Vijitha Berugoda, ambassadors and foreign representatives, secretaries to the ministries, and other officials were also present.