President Maithripala Sirisena who is on a three-day State Visit to Bangladesh met with the Speaker of Bangladesh Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury, yesterday (14th July) and she made these remarks during that meeting.
It was discussed in detail regarding the ways and means to further develop links between the Parliaments of both countries and to implement a new program to exchange the experiences of the Parliamentary activities of the two countries.
The President pointed out the importance of strengthening the Parliament while ensuring its superiority and highlighting the importance of program to train newcomers to Parliament.
President Sirisena said that he has vested limitless powers of the Executive Presidency with the Parliament and even though he wanted to further dilute executive powers the Supreme Court did not consent.
The President said that he was able to get the two thirds majority in the Parliament and passed the 19th Amendment to the Constitution and further said that he was able to turn a new page of the democracy in Sri Lanka by cutting down the executive powers of the presidency and through establishing Independent Commissions.
Later, Bangladesh Opposition Leader Rowsha Ershad called on the President.
During the meeting, the President said that in a democratic country the Opposition is also important as the Government and said that there should be a strong Opposition in a country and through it the path of the Government could be corrected.
The President appreciated the fact that several high positions in Bangladesh holding by the women and said that at present in Sri Lanka too has made arrangements to increase female representation in parliament.
Later, the President met with the Bangladesh Minister for Health and Family Welfare Mohammed Nasim.
At the meeting, the President commended the quality of drugs manufactured in Bangladesh and further said that when he was the Minister of Health entered into an agreement with Bangladesh to purchase those productions.
The Bangladesh Health Minister said that steps have been taken to start a Bangladesh Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Company in Sri Lanka and initial works in this regard are being finalized.
During the meeting it was also discussed regarding working together to find solutions for the basic health issues including Dengue prevention.
They also discussed about exchanging Training programmes for Midwives and Nurses.
The President stated that today Sri Lanka is a Malaria free country and said that decisions he has taken as the Minister of Health affected for that achievement. He also said that the struggle he led against tobacco in the country, took him to the Office of the President.
President Sirisena recalled the way he struggled with the tobacco industry and even though then leaders humiliated him before the tobacco companies , he never abandoned the struggle and after assuming duties as the President took action to increase the health warnings on cigarette packets to 80 percent of its cover space.