Namal Rajapaksa contested the 2010 parliamentary election as a United People’s Freedom Alliance’s candidate from the Hambantota District and was elected to Parliament the same year.
Your Educational and Professional Qualifications?
Bachelor of Laws - City University of London.
Attorney-at-Law, Sri Lanka Law College
Vision for education of children and youth in Sri Lanka?
The education of children has to totally change, become more practical and serve the purposes of the modern era. We need to restructure the entire education system to suit the current job market in the world. We should also introduce more technical streams.
Views on technical education?
Children must be allowed to go on a different path, get opportunities of employment while pursuing studies. Vocational training institutes which were started by President Rajapaksa in 1998 have to be expanded and new courses have to be introduced along with new subjects, depending on the job requirement in the world market and after doing a workforce forecasting in Sri Lanka.
Your ideas for improving employment prospects of youth?
In my constituency I believe entrepreneurship is the way forward, especially to support the SME sector. We do have our traditional industries, for example Hambantota Dodol or Tissamaharama Curd. Certain villages are traditionally specialised in one particular subject, so these clusters have to be identified and helped to grow. These are traditional entrepreneurs who have inherited the skill. We have to educate them and give them an opportunity.
Your stance on the MCC?
The MCC is something we shouldn’t have thought about. The previous government shouldn’t have thought about it. I believe the MCC is out of the question at this stage.
Your solutions for the ailing public transport system?
Public Transport is a vast subject and highway is a part of it. We do have a Cabinet approval for the elevated road system, connecting the Southern highway to the Katunayake highway. Along with these, I think we have to rethink the railway tracks. Because the railway track hasn’t been re-laid since independence. So we have to restructure the entire railway network. If the expansion of railway takes place in a more pragmatic and practical way, then we can address the public transport issue.
Vision for the protection of the environment and climate change adaptation?
More than an individual policy, the government has to take a stance on it. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has given high priority to the environment. Protecting the environment shouldn’t be taken as a trend. It has to be done genuinely. The time has come for us to make sure that our oceans, forests and air are clean. It’s all about education and passion. If you look at ancient Sri Lankan culture, it’s always based on the environment. These have changed with modernisation. This is why we believe modernisation should take place while preserving our traditional culture.
Views on discrimination based on sexual orientation?
It’s all about how you look at things. Sometimes out of respect people say that females shouldn’t be this way or do these kind of things. But it is never proven right or wrong. It’s all about how you look at certain things and how you project yourself and how you address those issues. I believe it also needs a modern approach to the education system.
Do you think a modern education system, where we talk about sexuality and sexual orientation, will it be a possibility under a new government?
It has to have a limitation because I believe there are certain things that are actually taught. At the same time it needs to have a limit to it as well. Based on those limitations, kids can be taught at the right age, which is a very important thing. There is no point of teaching about sexuality at the age of five or three. So it’s all about teaching the right thing, at the right time. Education itself will not solve the issues, but it’s all about the culture we live in.
Why should people vote for you?
Simply because I will not let them down. I wouldn’t leave them like my friend Sajith Premadasa did. We have proven this in the past.
I want to develop Hambantota with a feasible and practical approach. Make all the existing projects activated. My main goal is to take the plans made in 2010 forward within the next five years. I want to change the perception of Hambantota, because the last government highlighted that Hambantota is a failed city. But I want to prove that Hambantota isn’t a failed city and to make it an economic hub in the country.