Chamal Rajapaksa is a Sri Lankan politician and a former parliamentarian who is known to be the elder brother of Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Chamal Jayantha Rajapaksa was born on Sunday, 30 October 1942 (age 80 years; as of 2022) in Palatuwa, Matara, British Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). After completing his formal education at Richmond College, Chamal joined the police force in 1964.
Height (approx.): 5′ 8″
Hair Colour: Salt and Pepper
Eye Colour: Dark Brown
Chamal Rajapaksa belongs to a Sri Lankan Sinhalese family.
Parents & Siblings
His father, D. A. Rajapaksa, was a freedom fighter and a politician. His mother’s name was Dandina Rajapaksa. His younger brother, Mahinda Rajapaksa, served as the President of Sri Lanka from 2005 to 2015. He was also the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka from 2019 to 2022. His brother, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, is the former President of Sri Lanka, who fled the country in July 2022 amidst the economic crisis in Sri Lanka. Gotabaya returned to the country in September 2022. His younger brother, Basil Rajapaksa, is the former minister of finance and a former member of the parliament.
His younger brother, Dudley Rajapaksa, is the vice president of QA/RA/Technical Service at Berlin Heart GmbH.
His brother, Chandra Tudor Rajapaksa, died in July 2022.
His younger sister, Gandini Rajapaksa, died on 8 May 2017. His younger sister, Jayanthi Rajapaksa, is a former member of the Sri Lankan parliament and a former deputy minister (2010 – 2015) of water supply and drainage. His sister, Preethi Rajapaksa, was a teacher. His other sister’s name is Gandini Rajapaksa.
Wife & Children
His wife’s name is Chandra Malani Rajapaksa. The couple got married to each other in 1975. His elder son, Shasheendra Rajapaksa, was the Chief Minister of Uva Province and the custodian of Katharagama Sri Skandakumara Maha Devalaya. His younger son’s name is Shamindra Rajapaksa.
Chamal Rajapaksa follows Buddhism.
He resides at House No. B90, Gregory’s Road, 7th Lane, Colombo 07, Sri Lanka.
Chamal Rajapaksa joined the Ceylon Police in 1964 as a Sub-Inspector. He served with the police force for more than eight years. As a police officer, Chamal served as the bodyguard of Sirimavo Bandaranaike, the world’s first female President. In 1972, Chamal left the police force and joined the State Trading General Corporation (STGC). He left the corporation in 1985 as the Assistant General Manager.
In 1985, Chamal Rajapaksa joined the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and contested the 1985 by-elections in Sri Lanka from the Mulkirigala Electorate. In 1989, Chamal Rajapaksa contested and won the parliamentary elections from the Hambantota constituency following which he entered the Sri Lankan parliament as its member. Between 1989 and 2022, Chamal Rajapaksa held several key ministerial appointments such as Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Lands, Deputy Minister of Ports & Southern Development, Deputy Minister of Plantation Industries, Minister of Agricultural Development, Minister of Irrigation & Water Management, and Minister of Ports & Aviation. As a Minister of Irrigation & Water Management, Chamal Rajapaksa implemented several irrigation projects at Maw Ara, Weheragala, Weli Oya, Menik Ganga, Uma Oya, Deduru Oya, Kekiriobadakan Oya, and Yan Oya. In 2010, Chamal Rajapaksa was appointed the speaker of the Sri Lankan parliament by his younger brother, President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
He served as the speaker of the house till 2015. Later, he left the Sri Lankan Freedom Party (SLFP) and joined Mahinda’s Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP). On 9 November 2018, Chamal Rajapaksa was appointed the Minister of Health, Nutrition, and Indigenous Medicine.
On 17 August 2020, he was once again appointed as Minister of Irrigation & Water Management by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
In November 2020, he was sworn in as the State Minister of National Security, Home Affairs, and Disaster Management.
Chamal resigned from his post as cabinet minister on 3 April 2022 amidst the outbreak of violent protests in Sri Lanka due to the Sri Lankan economic crisis. Throughout his political career, Chamal has held several non-ministerial appointments such as President of the Sri Lanka – Russia Parliamentary Friendship Association, President of the Sri Lanka – Hungary Parliamentary Friendship Association, and Chairman of the District Development Committee, Hambantota. Chamal Rajapaksa never lost an election between 1989 and 2022 and has remained the Member of the Parliament (MP) in Sri Lanka from the Hambantota constituency for more than 32 years.
- Chamal Rajapaksa is also known by his other name “The Bodyguard.”
- According to Chamal Rajapaksa, he used to play football during his school and even represented his school at various football tournaments.
- While serving as a member of the parliament, the Sri Lankan government bestowed Sri Lanka Janaseva Vibhushana, an honourary title, on Chamal Rajapaksa.
- In May 2022, Chamal Rajapaksa issued a statement in the Sri Lankan parliament in which he said that Mahinda Rajapaksa, his younger brother, should have retired after completing his second tenure as the President of Sri Lanka. Talking about it, he said,
One should be prepared to give up positions. I believe Mahinda should have left when he completed his second tenure as the President of Sri Lanka. Failure to do so has led to him having to face the current situation. Being greedy for power leads to situations like what is being faced by us today.”