27 June, 2019

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Kiriella Justifies Political Interference; Nirmal Says Justification More Dangerous Than Letter

Higher Education minister Lakshman Kiriella has justified his attempts to politically interfere with the Kelaniya University citing that the letter sent by him instructed the head of the political science department to grant the lecture position ‘only after checking the candidate’s relevant credentials.’

Lakshman KiriellaKiriella’s media office in a statement also claimed that in accordance to article 19 of the university act, the minister had the authority to make recommendations to university positions.

The statement also said, “it’s no secret that certain members belonging to the hierarchy of universities went to the extent of even taking part in television debates in their attempt to defeat Maithripala Sirisena. But, despite engaging in politics, steps were not taken to remove them from their positions. If they acted in accordance to their conscience, they should have ideally resigned from their positions themselves. Instead, they sought sympathy from the ‘yahapalana’ government, but engage in conspiring and also releasing letters sent by the minister to the media.”

Meanwhile, former President of the Federation of University Teachers’ Association (FUTA) Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri said that interpreting article 19 of the university act, which reads as ‘The Minister shall be responsible for the general direction of university education and the administration of this Act,’ was completely hilarious.

“If you interpret it in the way the minister has interpreted it, then the minister is capable of anything. This justification is even more dangerous than the letter itself,” Dewasiri added.

The Federation of University Teachers’ Association (FUTA), yesterday had raised concerns over President Maithripala Sirisena’s good governance policy, after Higher Education Minister Lakshman Kiriella tried to influence his way to get a supporter appointed as a lecturer to the Kelaniya University.

The association expressed disappointment to the President saying that the Minister’s letter was an indication that the current government was reinforcing political interference in the university’s system.

“We would like to bring to your attention to the fact that Minister Kiriella previously attempted to appoint a member to the Council of the University of Kelaniya. His conduct as the minister in charge of higher education is condemned as it is both unethical and irresponsible,” the letter stated.

FUTA while condemning the minister’s action as a political interference to the national university system, called on President Sirisena for an assurance that political interference of such would not take place in future.

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Latest comments

  • 10
    0

    I thought that he would have had the sense to retreat quietly or the courtesy to express regret.

    Those whom the Gods wish to destroy make them arrogant.

  • 8
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    I am no fan of Dewasiri. He was an apologist for the nefarious MR Mafia.

    However I have to agree with Dewasiri on this. Kiriella justifying his action in favouring his supporter for a University Job is more dangerous and I would add more reprehensible than issuing the letter itself.

  • 7
    8

    Making a mountain out of a mole hill in true style of the irishiya peramuna. According to the esteemed brahmins the minister has no power to do anything and if he so much as says one peep they will all get a fit. These are the very same fellows who never said a word when Pavithra Wachalarachi sent letters to the private sector demanding jobs for her pets or when Namal reserved all sate banking sector jobs for the Nil Balakaya. There was a time when there was a snow balls chance in hell of a qualified professional to get a job in Sri Lanka unless he or she was a Rahapkaya boot licker. Where were you mutts then. Did you have kate pittu syndrome eh?

    • 6
      1

      That is why we send them packing. We do not need similar thing happing from this rascals too. They may be boot lickers may be sometime not, but you are definitely an ass licker of these rascals.

      • 3
        1

        It is not a similar thing that happened. It is the custom for Ministers to send letters in support of a candidate for a job. If a vacancy exists and there are candidates being interviewed. It is up to the hiring authority to decide on whom he/she wants based on the qualifications. It is like a character reference but a powerful one. If a minister cannot do even this then what is he supposed to do as minister? sit on his chair and warm it?

  • 2
    1

    Vise thinking of the Prime Minister in naming the ministries is evident,now that the minister can appoint this academic to Road Development Authority for laying asphalt.

  • 7
    1

    When we have clowns like this, is it any wonder we keep producing unemployable graduates ? FUTA plays more politics than our Politicians ! They think they are squeaky clean ! Get a life and do what you are hired to do. VC can ignore the Minister’s letter and he will get the message !!

  • 8
    2

    Mr Kiriella,

    Its time to get on the back-foot I think. Your forward lunge has only resulted in a dolly catch to slip.

  • 5
    4

    “Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri said that interpreting article 19 of the university act, which reads as ‘The Minister shall be responsible for the general direction of university education and the administration of this Act,’ was completely hilarious.”

    Dr. Dewasiri, whether you like it or not, that is the law. Laugh all you want. Your side lost the argument by starting the first article of three CT articles leaving key words out of the translation of the Minister’s letter on checking the candidate’s qualification. That is what I find completely hilarious.

  • 3
    3

    Here is the full statement by the Minister, taken from today’s Island. It gives a different impression from that by the simple extract by CT:

    “According to the Article 19 of the Universities Act, the Minister has the authority to give directions to Universities. In the letter sent to the University of Kelaniya, the Minister has specifically stated that the candidate shall be considered only if he or she is suitably qualified. If the qualifications are not met, the candidate can be rejected. With good governance prevailing as well as universities being given the necessary autonomy to function, the Minister has not used the Universities Act powers willfully at any given moment. By not using the powers which have been given, some have forgotten the powers that have been vested to the Minister in accordance with the Universities Act.

    “It is no secret that some figures holding high posts in Universities during the previous regime were openly active in politics during the previous Presidential Election towards the defeat of Maithripala Sirisena. But the new Government has not taken any steps towards the withdrawal of posts or any acts of revenge for those who engaged themselves in politics. If they had any self-respect, the respectable thing they could’ve done was resign from their respective posts. By releasing the letter sent by the Hon. Minister to the press, it appears that those who worked against the current government at the Presidential Election are up to their old tricks to bring back defeated ideology.”

  • 8
    2

    All politicians think that they are above the law.The president and the PM seem to act like puppets without giving them a good kick on their bum.

    • 2
      2

      Didn’t you know?they act like puppets because they are puppets!!!
      There is nothing surprising here when you put a ‘gona’ in charge of education.

  • 4
    6

    Kiriella has said, employ “‘only after checking the candidate’s relevant credentials.’”

    Issuing letters of this nature is standard form in Sri Lanka. I wish it would change, but Lakshman Kiriella has not done anything so very wrong. Of course there will be lackeys who will take it as an order. We must change this trickle down culture, but it is not possible for one politician to do it.

    So let’s stop attacking Lakshman Kiriella personally, support the stand taken by Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri, and hope that the system will change gradually. Meanwhile, we’ve got our own lives to live, and not bother with everything that others do.

    • 7
      2

      I remember an incident in Saudi Arabia. I was DGM (Operations) in a large agriculture and dairy farming/processing company at that time. a friend of the owner cum Chairman came to me and said that the owner had asked to get a young pregnant heifer from the farm free. I refused and sent the person off.

      I thereafter went upto the owner and asked why he did so. His reply was, ” I could not refuse him, but I knew you would”.
      He then thanked me.

      Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    • 2
      2

      The previous government did not have the YAHAPALAYANA Label did they?? “

  • 9
    2

    My brother whos is in construction trade says luxman is not as sqicky clean as he potrays. He has appointed his close family members including his son in law erc. And using some close assoictes to[Edited out]. If PM does notstop these things. The UNP days are numbered.

  • 3
    0

    Dear Minister,
    The recruitment circular 721 of UGC is favourable to the university academics for appointing their own students who had given classes. Please rectify that circular in such a way any graduate irrespective of general or special degree can be applied. Please introduce a system so that higher degree holders can be recruited.
    It is funny in the 721 circular, UGC equated Master degree with doctoral degree.

    Mark

    • 3
      2

      Heeeh hee hooo ….UNP has no dates to number!!! they are already on borrowed time….heeeh ….heee.

    • 0
      0

      1) “Please rectify that circular in such a way any graduate irrespective of general or special degree can be applied” — What do you mean?

      2) “It is funny in the 721 circular, UGC equated Master degree with doctoral degree” — just not true

  • 6
    3

    Kiriella should resign ASAP or the president should sack him immediately.

  • 2
    4

    people who says ‘only after checking the candidate’s relevant credentials.’ so kirialle have done nothing wrong in here have never applied for a job in the news paper . or maybe every one of them have got jobs thru favouration . you can’t just get the job in the news papare just because that person have required qualifications isn’t it ? isn’t that this person just bypassing the process that an average job seeker had to go thru ?

  • 3
    0

    Why the minister had to issue a letter of recommendation is the question,
    If there was a vacancy and the applicant had the neccessary qualifications,why the minister’s interference?

    Gonpart!!!

  • 5
    1

    Dr. Rajasingham Narendran: I admire you for the action taken in Soudi Arabia. This is Sri Lanka and especially if you took such an action between 2009 to 2014 you would not be living in this planet. However, we see things are changing bit by bit as a result of this type of exposure and hopefully if and when that much sought after “Right to Information” legislation comes into being, we will have a better chance to change this “Culture” of political interference in day to day administrative matters that must rest with the officials who are tasked to perform their duties.

  • 0
    0

    with all these allegations which are justifiable mr.kiriella will never talk about good governance in the future. he has lost all his credibility because of this letter. i worked for 40 years in the university as an academic but never came across such a letter in respect of academic appointments. but non academic app. came under the exclusive purview of the minister of higher education.
    -dayal

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