Legislator urges voting rights for Sri Lankans back home

Sunil Handunnetti
Updated 23 January 2017
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Legislator urges voting rights for Sri Lankans back home

RIYADH: Visiting Sri Lankan legislator Sunil Handunnetti told Arab News that the country’s expatriates should be given voting rights, and that their community schools should be affiliated to the Education Ministry in Colombo.
Handunnetti, chairman of the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) in Parliament, was on a brief visit to Riyadh to tell his countrymen about his brainchild, the Organization for Overseas Sri Lankans (OOSL).
Handunnetti, who was given a red-carpet welcome by his countrymen, met Sri Lankan expatriates in the capital and explored ways of assisting them back home.
He told Arab News that he was happy that Sri Lankan workers are happily placed in the Kingdom, but that their interests in their homeland had to be looked after.
“Irrespective of the period of stay in the Kingdom, Sri Lankans are natural citizens of the island and they should have their civic rights back home. They should be given voting rights to elect their own representatives to Parliament,” he said, adding that his organization would do its best in this regard.
He said returnees from the Kingdom should be given full assistance to earn a living back home, including a duty-free allowance to import machinery to continue their businesses. “They should be given a monthly pension to keep the home fires burning,” he added.
Handunnetti said he had visited some 20 countries and has set up the OOSL in 26 countries. “They have nothing to do with the local set up, and will only work for their countrymen’s welfare back home,” he added.
He said he would make representations to concerned authorities to make overseas Sri Lankan community schools affiliated to the Education Ministry in Colombo, so teachers and students will be treated as if they are in Sri Lankan government schools.
He lamented that Sri Lankan expatriates are treated as foreigners when they want to admit their children to Sri Lankan universities, and that they have to pay exorbitant fees.
He thanked Saudi authorities for hosting his countrymen and thereby helping their homes and motherland.


Saudi ministry, tourism authority sign job training deal for unemployed

It is predicted that Saudi Arabia will see a 40 percent jump in domestic vacations by 2020. (SPA)
Updated 19 October 2018
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Saudi ministry, tourism authority sign job training deal for unemployed

  • The tourism authority will develop a training program in partnership with the National Center for Human Resources Development (Takamul), and provide courses in tourism and hotel management for people on social security
  • Free housing will be provided for participants in the program

JEDDAH: The Ministry of Labor and the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage have signed an agreement that aims to provide jobs in the growing tourism industry for unemployed Saudis.
The deal was signed by the Director General of the Ministry of Labor and Social Development in Riyadh, Yousef bin Mesfer Al-Sayali, and the Director General of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, Abdul Aziz bin Hassan Al Hassan. It will offer training to working-age members of the 60,000 families on social-security benefits.
Under the agreement, the tourism authority will develop a training program in partnership with the National Center for Human Resources Development (Takamul), and provide courses in tourism and hotel management for people on social security in families with at lease six members, the youngest of whom must be at least 13 years old.
Free housing will be provided for participants in the program, in addition to which water and electricity bills will be paid and medical insurance provided for the family. Periodic follow-ups will be carried out to check the success of the program.
Al-Sayali said the agreement will contribute to the filling of many jobs in the tourism sector and will help families to benefit from its growth and development.