Donald Jasen Ranaweera

Donald Jasen Ranaweera, MBE, JP (20 March 1924 - ????) was a Sri Lankan plantation owner, press baron and politician. He was the Chairmen of the Times of Ceylon and served as the member of parliament from Maskeliya (1960) and Nuwara Eliya (1965-1970).[1]

Donald Ranaweera

Member of the Ceylonese Parliament
for Maskeliya
In office
Preceded byS. Jinadasa
Succeeded byEdmund Wijesuriya
Member of the Ceylonese Parliament
for Nuwara Eliya
In office
Preceded byT. William Fernando
Succeeded byGamini Dissanayake
Personal details
Born(1924-03-20)20 March 1924
Political partyUnited National Party
Occupationplantation owner and press baron

Early lifeEdit

Born to a wealthy land and plantation owning family from Yatiyana, Matara. The family fortune was founded by his grandfather, Yatiyana Ralahamay who had bought the Panilkanda Estate in Deniyaya and later acquired Fetteresso and Attabagie Group in Dickoya and Gampola. He built the Yatiyana 'Sisiragiri' Walawua as the family seat and served as the Chairmen of the local village council. Taking over his family businesses, he became a wealthy financier owning several plantations and served as the Chairmen of the Times of Ceylon with H. W. Amarasuriya serving as Deputy Chairmen.[2][3]

Political careerEdit

Donald Ranaweera was elected from the Maskeliya electorate from the United National Party in the 1960 March general election defeating the incumbent S. Jinadasa from the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna and P. Gamini Ariyatilake from the Lanka Sama Samaja Party. He was defeated in the 1960 July general election by Edmund Wijesuriya of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party. He then contested the 1965 general election from the Nuwara Eliya electorate from the United National Party and won. In 1970, he was refused nominations from United National Party for the 1970 general election from Nuwara Eliya in favor of the young Gamini Dissanayake by Dudley Senanayake, whose first bid for parliament in the 1970 general election from his late father's party, Sri Lanka Freedom Party had been refused in favor of T. William Fernando. The angered Ranaweera, contested the 1970 general election from the Maskeliya electorate as an independent and polled fourth. In the 1970s he lost most of his holdings to government take over. His plantations were nationalized under the land reforms and the Ceylon Times Group following several years of financial mismanagement was nationalized under the Sri Lanka Freedom Party government.[4][5]


He was appointed a Justice of Peace and a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in the 1955 Birthday Honours for public services.


He married Sumithra Rambukwelle, they had ten children and their daughter Kalyani Viveca, married Dr Shirantha Ratwatte.


  1. ^ "Home Members of Parliament Directory of Members Ranaweera, Donald Jasen Hon. Ranaweera, Donald Jasen, M.P." Parliament of Sri Lanka. Retrieved 8 July 2020.
  2. ^ Karunanayake, Hugh. "TEA PLANTATIONS OF SOUTH CEYLON". History of Ceylon Tea. Retrieved 8 July 2020.
  3. ^ 1969-70 Ferguson's Ceylon Directory. Ferguson's Ceylon Directory. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
  4. ^ Thenabadu, Sunil. "Superlative revelation of a supreme politician". Daily News. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
  5. ^ "POWER STRUGGLE IN TIMES NEWSPAPER GROUP". Declassified/Released US Department of State. Retrieved 31 August 2020.