Pallewatta breaks trend in presidential candidacy | Sunday Observer

Pallewatta breaks trend in presidential candidacy

29 September, 2019
Dr Rohan Pallewatta
Dr Rohan Pallewatta

Breaking the tradition or trend of strictly politicians having a crack at the Presidency, businessman Dr Rohan Pallewatta was named Abhiman Lanka Alliance’s (ALA) presidential player last week. He will contest under the National Development Front’s (NDF).

“People are crying and craving for a better country. That is why I raised my hand. It is a leader with wisdom this country needs,” he said at his inaugural address. Briefly touching on corruption, he slammed the media, for “inadvertently encouraging corruption”.

“The Executive Presidency, an independent position, allows candidates with national interest to compete against the corrupt political system in the country.

“It is only when I was sure I can deliver that I raised my hand to contest for the Presidency. When I decided to contest for the presidency, I had built my career as a successful entrepreneur in this country,” he said.

Pelawatte also made it public that to combat the corrupted system, it required someone like him, or else, the system will continue unabated.

“Well, the way things are, Gotabaya Rajapakasa seems to be the tougher candidate, than Minister Sajith Premadasa,” he said, in response to the Sunday Observer query, as to who will be the tougher candidate to beat.

“We have to elect a President. What is the role of a President? It should not be his forte to come out and say, this is what I’m going to do for transport; this is how I’m going to address agriculture. No, that is up to legislators.”

Drawing an example from Aristotle, Pallewatta pointed out, “Only a philosopher could lead the country. Because, it is only a philosopher, who could grasp the nitty-gritty of an issue. An issue could look so huge, so big, but, from that problem, how do you single out the issues? That ought to be addressed.

“Even, for the so-called ethnic problems, they are trying to bring certain solutions. But, nothing is happening. That is because they have not picked up the real issue. That is why, I said we need economic solutions.

The moment the per-capita income goes up people won’t discuss religion.

“Right now, a burning issue is the cost of food. People cannot afford to buy bare necessities. There are 70% indirect taxes on food items. This is an unfortunate situation that does not augur well for the economy of the country.

“I could have retired as a very successful entrepreneur. If I continued to criticize the system and didn’t do anything about it my conscience would nag me. We do have a duty for the soil that holds us. It is to give back to the country. That is the sole reason,” he said.

He went to say “If you elect me as President, I will live like the President. If you elect me to that office, it would give me an opportunity to serve a well-deserved nation.”

Pelawatte is based in Gampaha and boasts of nearly twenty years as a successful businessman, concurrently running a business in Japan. His company exports to 17 countries, including India and China.