Suspension of graduate recruitment drive: Sajith denies involvement

ECONOMYNEXT – A government-backed misinformation campaign on social media has falsely accused him of involvement in suspending a controversial graduate employment programme, former opposition leader Sajith Premadasa said.

Social media posts were alleging that he had written to the Election Commission (EC) to have the recruitment programme suspended were going viral online, he complained.

Premadasa’s statement came in the wake of an announcement this morning that government officials would meet EC Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya today to clarify a directive issued by him to stop handing over letters of appointment dated March 1 to over 45,000 graduate recruits.

In a letter addressed to the Ministry of Public Administration, Deshapriya had previously ordered to postpone these appointments to one week after the upcoming parliamentary election.

Premadasa told reporters this afternoon that the government has failed to fulfil its promise to recruit unemployed graduates to the state sector within a month after coming into power.

“As the ruling party, they know when the parliamentary election will be held as they are the ones who decide when parliament is dissolved. They surely would’ve known that the EC chairman would suspend these appointments as the elections are near,” he said.

“Knowing that full well, they sent letters of appointment to some of the unemployed graduates two days prior to the dissolution of parliament. Now, some 44,000 unemployed graduates have become helpless,” Premadasa said. (The exact figure is 45,585, according to co-cabinet spokesman Minister Bandula Gunawardena).

The former opposition leader promised to recruit all unemployed graduates to the state service within three months after the upcoming parliamentary election if he becomes prime minister.

“I assure you that I will send proper letters of appointment to all unemployed graduates within two weeks. In three months, we will recruit them as permanent employees,” he added.

Meanwhile, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa told newspaper editors today that he is in disagreement with the EC chairman on the latter’s directive. (Colombo/March5/2020)

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