He said, “Former prominent Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru once said everyone addresses him as Honourable Prime Minister, but he had said he did not like to be called and preferred to be called the Indian public servant.
He said this addressing the gathering at Mangala Samaraweera’s book launch (author Nihal Jagathchandra) celebrating 30 years in politics.
“Today the main topic is national security and some are trying to give narrow importance to national security. The government is committed to provide all facilities to ensure that our tri-forces, police, intelligence units and security organisations are the best in the region. Yet, national security should not be limited just to that factor. Just as much as providing all facilities to the tri forces, police and security units, providing the maximum facilities for the war heroes, many other areas also needs to be strengthened. When the economy is not strong, how can national security be strengthened?”
Issues between Mangala and me are resolved
“Some time back there were numerous differences of opinions between Mangala and I. However, what I admire in Mangala is his ability to see the future from a broad vision. He has the self-confidence to stand up for what he believes is right. For example when he became the Finance Minister I was worried about what might happen to my ‘Gam Udawa’ programme. Now I feel it was wrong of me to have even felt that way. No sooner he was appointed, he called me up and I could not believe my ears. He commended me for the manner in which I was carrying out my work and said that every year I have utilised 99% of the allocations for the welfare of the people. He then pledged greater allocations for my ministry than ever before. I was surprised. But, I must say I learnt a lot from him,” Premadasa said.