Suranimala Rajapaksha

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The Honourable
Suranimala Rajapaksha
Special Envoy to the Prime Minister
In office
07 October 2015 – 14 March 2016
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe
Coordinating Secretary to the Prime Minister
In office
27 January 2015 – 18 August 2015
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe
Minister of School Education
In office
President Chandrika Kumaratunga
Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe
Member of the Sri Lankan Parliament
for Gampaha District
In office
Member of Western Provincial Council
In office
Minister of Education, Sports, youth affairs, Women affairs and Cultural affairs of the Western Provincial Council
In office
President Ranasinghe Premadasa
Prime Minister D.B. Wijetunga
Governor Suppiah Sharvananda
Executive Member of Gampaha District Development Council
In office
Private Secretary to the Minister of Education,Youth Affairs and Employment
In office
Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe
Executive Director of National youth Service Council
In office
Personal details
Born 5 January 1949
Died 14 March 2016(2016-03-14) (aged 67)
Nationality Sri Lankan
Political party United National Party
Spouse(s) Chandani Rajapaksha
Children Sanjeewani Rajapaksha
Kanishka Rajapaksha
Parents Saranelis Rajapaksha
D.P.Rajapaksha Haminea
Alma mater Ananda College
Occupation Politician
Ethnicity Sinhalese

Rajapakse Mohottige Don Suranimala Rajapaksha (Sinhala:සුරනිමල රාජපක්ෂ) (5 January 1949 – 14 March 2016) was a Sri Lankan politician. Rajapaksha was first elected to the Parliament of Sri Lanka in 1994 and he was the Minister of School Education in Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka in 2001 to 2004. He is a member of the United National Party (UNP) and a member of UNP Working Committee. He was also appointed as the Coordinating secretary to the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe in 2015. At the time of his death he was acted as the special envoy (representative) to the Prime Minister.[1] His younger son Kanishka Rajapaksha is also appointed as the Coordinating Assistant to the Prime Minister after the death of Rajapaksha. Kanishka is an Attorney at Law in his profession.

Early life[edit]

He was born to Saranelis Rajapaksha and D.P. Rajapaksha Hamine. His father was a well-respected land owner in the village of Samanabeddha, Thitthapatthara in Gampaha District. He is the youngest son in a family of three. In 1983 he married Chandani Jayakodi, who is the eldest daughter of a well-known businessman D. Jayakody and P. Jayakody in Kadawatha. Rajapaksha has a daughter, Sanjeewani Rajapaksha who is a Doctor in her profession , and a son, Kanishka Rajapaksha who is an Attorney at Law in his profession. His wife's youngest sister married Sunil Gunawardena, owner of the NIKADO (one of Sri Lanka's leading food manufacturing companies) group of company.


Rajapaksha completed his primary education at Mayadunna Maha Vidyalaya and Rajasingha Maha Vidyalaya. He was later entered to Ananda College at Colombo to complete his secondary education.

Political career[edit]

Member of Youth League[edit]

In 1973 he was appointed as a working committee member in Youth League of the UNP. Ranil Wickremasinghe was the treasure of the Youth League. During this period several lectures were conducted by Rajapaksha aaa over the country by taking the leadership to make sure the victory to UNP in upcoming elections. In 1975 he gave the leadership to reorganise the Dompe electorate and in 1976 he joined with Ranil Wickremasinghe (chief organiser of the Biyagama electorate) and gave his full strength to organise the Biyagama electorate to move it towards the victory.

Director of National Youth Service Council[edit]

After the landslide victory of UNP in 1977, president J.R. Jayewardene appointed Rajapaksha as the active director of National Youth Services Council (NYSCO). During his period as the active director, he accommodated to initiate several training centres such as Akmemana, Nilawali, Batangala, Hunhama etc. Also youth weeks were organised to help and improve skills of the youth artists thus established young musical teams. Youth Affairs Summits which were held in 1982 (Russia) and 1984 (China) were participated by Rajapaksha as the representator of NYSCO.

Private Secretary[edit]

In 1978 Ranil Wickramesighe was appointed as the Minister of Youth Affairs and Employment.[2] Rajapaksha was appointed as the private secretary to the Minister of Youth Affairs by Ranil Wickremasinghe in 1978 September 10 and was soon promoted the post of private secretary to Minister of Education after Wickremasinghe later made the Minister of Education. Thereby he has given his support to ranil Wickremasinghe not only to develop the country but also to organise his electorate.

Member of District Development Council[edit]

In 1981 he was elected as a member of District Development Council (DDC) under the UNP government, obtaining the highest number of preferential votes in Dompe & Biyagama electorates. Thereby he was sworn in as an executive member in DDC. This was the real beginning of Suranimala Rajapaksha's political career. He gave his leadership to organise the development activities within Gampaha district including Dompe and Biyagama electorates. Town halls, Dompe new town, Pugoda public market and bus station were initiated under the vision of Rajapaksha. Also he has given his full strength to develop Biyagama electorate as the special agent of Ranil Wickremasinghe.

Minister of Provincial Council[edit]

Suranimala Rajapaksha Sworn-in as a Provincial Council Minister in front of Governor of Western Province Suppiah Sharvananda

With the 13th amendment to the constitution in 1988, government has established Provincial Councils for each province. First Provincial Council election was held in 1988 Rajapaksha was elected as a member of Provincial Council representing Gampaha district obtaining highest number of preferential votes. Thereby he was sworn in as the Minister of Education, Sports, Youth, Women and Cultural Affairs in Western Province.

During his period he was able to initiate several new schools as the Minister of the Education in Western Province such as Dompe devi balika vidyalaya, Sapugaskanda vishaka balika vidyalaya,[3] Gampaha thakshilawa, Aththanagalla Al musthapa vidyalaya and Aluthgama adikaram vidyalaya.

Under the patronage of President Ranasinghe Premadasa, Rajapaksha initiated to develop schools in rural areas. A mechanism to control teachers without any fluctuation several development projects were taken place during his period. In 1990, a mobile week was declared to monitor schools, identify weaknesses, improve facilities, solutions to staff problems etc. within Western Province. This mechanism was recognised by officials as a very effective way to solve most of the problems in schools.

Several activities were taken place in 1991 with the NIE to strengthen the image of principles. The Act of Devolving Powers to Provincial Councils was presented by Rajapaksha in 1990 and passed as an enactment with the support of the central government. Also a system was developed to train nursery teachers within the area with Ven. Kirillawela Mahanayaka Thera.

Necessary equipments to Sunday schools were distributed during his period. Especially, necessary educational and religious materials were distributed to Buddhist, Christian and Muslim Hadiya Sunday schools through the Ministry of Cultural Affairs. He was the first person who donated materials to Muslim Hadiya Sunday schools. Also to uphold the welfare of women, nutrition packages were distributed among pregnant mothers as well as conducted dental clinics through Ministry of women Affairs.

Creating thousands of new job opportunities in the Biyagama Commercial Zone was one of the most valuable tasks that he achieved during his period as a Minister. In the 1993 Provincial Council election, UNP lost to Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga's People's Alliance (PA) and Kumaratunga was appointed as the Chief Minister to the Western Province. however Rajapaksha was re-elected with highest preferential votes as an opposition member of Provincial Council. But he always made his voice against the government to take them to a correct direction.

Member of Parliament[edit]

In the 1994 general election, UNP lost to Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga's PA and she was appointed as the Prime Minister and soon after appointed as the 5th executive President of the ciuntry. However, in 1994, Rajapaksha was elected as a member of parliament (MP) of opposition for the very first time at the general election.[4] Before the general election he was appointed as the chief organiser to Biyagama electorate in Gampaha District which was preceded by Ranil Wickremasighe. As a MP in opposition he raised out his voice to continue the philosophy and the policies of UNP.

Leadership to development projects was given by him within Gampaha district including Dompe and Biyagama electorates. Also he raised out his voice to show the weaknesses of the government to the relevant authorities in development meetings of Gampaha District. As an example, when government has decided to held an auction to sell nearby lands of Kanduboda Bawana Center, the leadership to fight against the decision was given by Rajapaksha and eventually government had to stop it.

In 1996 he was participated to Youth Affairs Summit which held in Quba as a representator of the opposition member in Sri Lankan parliament. He also visited countries like France, Spain and Germany to get educated about politics. In 2000 general election, he was re-elected to the 11th Parliament as a MP in opposition.[5]

Minister of School Education[edit]

Suranimala Rajapaksha Sworn-in as the Minister of School Education in front of President Chandrika Kumaratunga and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

. In 2001 UNP called for a general election after PA lost their vote of confidence in the Parliament. After 7 years, UNP defeated the PA 2001 general election and Ranil Wickremasinghe was appointed as the PM of Republic Socialist of Sri Lanka.[6] Rajapaksha was re-elected to the Parliament in that election and he was appointed as the Minister of School Education in 2001.[7]

During his period, he initiated several projects such as to identify necessary physical resources in schools, to resolve teachers problems, teachers training programs, transferring and appointing principles, providing subject guides within all over the country. After signing the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) Ranil Wickremasingha held few rounds of peace talks with LTTE between 2002 and 2003. This enables Rajapaksha to extend his development projects. So he visited Jaffna and after analysing the current situation decided to develop schools in Jaffna and it was initiated development process by giving library facilities to the students in Jaffna. Above facts clearly exemplifies that his vision was not only to develop Gampaha District but also to develop whole country without having racial, religious and caste discrimination. This is one of the most important qualities of a modest leader.

Also he had the vision to re-open closed schools and to take necessary actions to make familiar students with IT. Thereby Pallegama Ananda Vidyalaya was re-opened and several computer centres were given to several schools. He was able continue his vision by developing sports grounds, providing facilities for schools, approving funds to build new buildings etc. Also navodya project was initiated and allocated relevant facilities to schools by him under the patronage of Prime minister.

Apart from the area of education, in 2002, he decided to initiate a new projects to develop Kadawatha town, Malwana town and also established post offices. Also a project was declared to provide electricity for every citizens in Gampaha District. Money was allocated build bridges connecting Nawagamuwa and Mapitigama, Ambulgama and Welgama, Pugoda and kanampella.

Several educational wummits which were held in Canada, Australia, America, South Korea and England were participated by Rajapaksha as the representative of Sri Lanka.

The Working Committee of UNP is the highest decision-making place in the party. Rajapaksha was appointed to the working committee[8] in 2003 by the party leader of UNP Ranil Wickremasinghe. However, on 7 February 2004 President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga dissolved the Parliament using her executive powers. In the 2004 general election, United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) defeated UNP government. Rajapaksha always had the intention to accomplish his tasks as he had initiated several projects, but with the loss of the parliamentary election he could not finish them successfully. However, in the 2004 general election, he lost his parliamentary seat.

Working Committee Member[edit]

Despite the loss of Parliamentary seat, he was able to continue his task as a politician. In 2005, he was appointed as the chief organiser to Kelaniya electorate. However, after Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2005 presidential election several controversies and dissents occurred among the party members. This led to several members crossing over to the Government (UPFA). Buy Rajapaksha never dissented to the party or the leadership. He always stayed with the party and gave his support.

However he did not contest to 2010 general election due to several private reasons. But after 2012, again he joined with the part, united with it and working toward the party victory.

Coordinating Secretary to the Prime Minister[edit]

The common candidate of the joint opposition, Maithreepala Sirisena who secured a comprehensive victory on 8 January 2015 presidential election was sworn in as the 7th executive president of the Democratic Socialist of Sri Lanka. Soon after opposition leader Ranil Wickremasighe was sworn in as the new Prime Minister in the presence of the president.

Suranimala Rajapaksha is known as one of a few key politicians who was behind the UNP election campaign and had given his full support to Ranil Wickremasighe during the last presidential election. Since he was the most trusted person to the PM (also known as the PM's right hand), he was appointed as the coordinating secretary to the Prime Minister on 27 January 2015.[9]

Special Envoy to the Prime Minister[edit]

UNP/UNF led by Ranil Wickramasinghe had won the general election held on 15 August 2015.[10] Rajapaksha was nominated as a national list candidate on the 2015 general election.[11] Rajapaksha played a major role in the 2015 general election and the prime minister's election campaign and as a result Wickremesinghe scored the highest preferential votes in the election. However, after the victory of the 2015 general election, he was not appointed to the parliament through the national list, which also created controversy inside the party. However, later Rajapaksha was appointed as the Special Envoy to the Prime Minister. During his tenure, Rajapaksha had under taken all most all the responsibilities and problems which come to the prime minister and let the prime minister to rule the country without unnecessary disturbances.

Positions held at the end[edit]

  • Working Committee member of the United National Party
  • Secretary, Ex-Parliamentarian Group
  • Special Envoy to the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasighe


Rajapaksha died in the early hours of 14th Match of 2016 in Colombo, at the age of 67, he had been receiving treatment at a private hospital. He served as the Special Envoy to Ranil Wickremasinghe, the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, for just over a year, at the time of his death.[12]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]