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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Who is Sajin de Vass Gunawardena, MP? Part 1.

ajin de Vass Gunawardena, MP (born 2 May 1973) is a Sri Lankan businessmen and politician. A current member of Parliament of Sri Lanka, [1] he was the former CEO of Mihin Lanka government sponsored budget airline which drew a lot of controversy. He has also served as coordinating secretary on trade and foreign affairs to the President of Sri Lanka. Prior to entering parliament in 2010 he was a member of the southern provincial council. (Wikepedia).

President's Co-Secretary, Sajin De Vas Gunawardane was appointed as the SLFP District Organisalle district by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The President handed over the appointment letter to De Vas recently. Administration Secretary of the SLFP A Ariyasena is also in the photo. (PHOTOGRAPHY BY SUDATH SILVA)
President Mahinda Rajapaksa appointed, Sajin Vaas Gunawardene as the new Sri Lanka Freedom Party organizer for the Galle district. Sajin Vaas Gunawardene contributed to road development as the Director-General of the "Maga Naguma" institute. An old boy of the Royal College Colombo, Sajin Vaas Gunawardene functioned as a coordinating secretary for President Mahinda Rajapaksa when he was the opposition leader. His father, A Vaas Gunawardene is a former President of the Board of Investments Sri Lanka, and the National Lottery Board. He also performed as president of the Lanka Puthra Bank and several other institutions.
Parliamentary Election results in April 2004.
Galle district winners:
UPFA:
Nishantha Muthuhettigama --124,368

Dr. Ramesh Pathirana -- 94,317

Gunasinghe Weerakoon-- 67,895

Piyasena Gamage -- 66,301

Chandima Weerakkodi -- 66,190

Sajin Vaas Gunawardene -- 53,620

Mohan P. de Silva -- 48,756
UNP:
Manusha Nanayakkara -- 47,060

Gayantha Karunatilleke -- 46,168

Despite Harry Jayewardenea`s assurance Sajin makes UL jittery again
Wednesday, 16 January 2008 - 11:02 PM SL Time
The national carrier, SriLankan airlines, was plunged in to further chaos this week with Mihin Lanka CEO and Presidential confidant, Sajin Vaas Gunawardene claiming that his budget airline Mihin Lanka and SriLankan should work together in the future.
A mass exodus of SriLankan staff was temporarily halted last week when SriLankan Board Chairman and business tycoon Harry Jayawardene assured the airline`s staff that there will be no merger with the government owned Mihin in the future. With the news that Emirates will be pulling out of the management of SriLankan in March this year, many experienced staff resigned in what was seen as a serious threat to the continuation of the national carrier.
Already 20 pilots have left the national carrier and 10 are contemplating to resign. However, a degree of confidence was instilled in the staff when Harry Jayawardene addressed them last week and assured that there will be no interference from the government in the running of the airline. One of the main assurances given to SriLankan staff was that there will be no merger with Mihin Lanka or any involvement of its controversial CEO Sajin Vaas Gunawardene in the operations of the airline.
However, SriLankan sources revealed to The Bottom Line that the staff was once more gravely concerned by recent statements made by Gunawardene which envisioned a greater cooperation between the two airlines.
The verbal heroics of Sajin have posed fresh challenges to Mr. Jayawardena and it is likely that the business tycoon will give further reassurances. Analysts said that Sajin`s comments undermined the assurance given by Mr. Jayawardena to SriLankan staff last week which in fact boosted the moral of the team at the airline.
Sajin, along with Board of Investment Chairman Dhammika Perera were instrumental in terminating the management contract with Emirates which saw the end of a 10 year partnership between the SriLankan and the Dubai based global airline. Relations between the President and SriLankan plummeted with the alleged refusal of the airline to grant 35 seats to the Presidential entourage returning from London in December.
The President was led to believe that SriLankan refused him five seats, when the actual request was for 35 seats,? said an official at SriLankan who wished not to be named. The controversy in December led to the cancellation of the work permit of SriLankan CEO Peter Hill and the eventual pull out of Emirates from SriLankan.
Asked of the potential sharing of passengers as well as SriLankan foregoing Indian routes to Mihini, as stated by Sajin Vaas in a recent media interview, the official at SriLankan said that it is impossible to do so. ?SriLankan and Mihin work on two different tiers. It is impossible to share passengers between a stand alone legacy carrier and a budget airline. How can you transfer a passenger who has booked on a legacy carrier with all its expectations to a budget airline which basically offers nothing more than a seat?? said the source stating that there will be no cost structural basis for a codeshare between two such airlines.
It has been revealed that the President has expressed his desire to see SriLankan and Mihin Lanka work amicably in the future. President Mahinda Rajapaksa`s brother-in-law Nishantha Wickramesinghe, a board member of SriLankan, has indicated the thinking of the top to senior SriLankan staff. However, Harry Jayawardene who had earlier assured his staff of complete independence from government interference in the running of the airline, has strongly opposed any merger with the budget airline.
Meanwhile many at SriLankan are now looking to Ports and Aviation Minister Chamal Rajapaksa to ensure that Mihin Lanka CEO does not interfere in the operations of the airline. It has been reliably reported that the President`s brother and Sajin Vaas have not seen eye to eye in the whole deal which saw the exit of Emirates from the management of SriLankan.
Reports quoted a loss of Rs 1.4 billion made by Mihin in the first year of operations with a Rs 700 million being owned to the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation alone. The budget airline which operates two aircraft on a wet lease is financed in part by Lankaputhra bank, headed by Sajin Vass Gunewardane`s father.

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