Former president, Mahinda Rajapaksa MP, said yesterday that he was not a backstabber and would only topple the government when Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was in the country and not when he was abroad.
In response to the prime minister’s remark that Mr. Rajapaksa could do whatever he wanted to after he left for Switzerland on January 17, the former president said Mr. Wickremesinghe had nothing to fear from him.
“I assure the prime minister that I won’t topple the government while he is away. Backstabbing is not in my nature. Everything will be done in a democratic manner when he is in the country. There is nothing for him to be afraid of. He can leave for Switzerland and come back safely,” Mr. Rajapaksa told the journalists at his political office in Battaramulla.
He said the year 2017 would be a crucial one and that privatisation of state enterprises, division of the country, economic failure and political witchhunts would continue in the new year as well.
“We had the ability to pay back loans but this government has lost that. We increased the value of the country and in fact I added an extra block of land to the country. Today, the president continues to declare open development projects initiated by us, and the premier continues to sell them,” he said.
Commenting on the development projects in Hambantota, Mr. Rajapaksa said the port and the airport were long term investments which had added great value to the area and to the country.
Meanwhile, referring to the laying of a foundation stone for a vehicle assembly plant in Kuliyapitiya, he said it was uncertain whether the factory was really a Volkswagen factory.
“It seems this factory will not produce -- but only assemble -- some cars of inferior quality and sell those to us. Don’t think it will be able to export any. We already have several vehicle assembly plants in the country,” he said. (Lahiru Pothmulla)