RIYADH: Members of the Sri Lankan community and diplomats mourned the death of Faizer Mackeen, Sri Lankan consul general in Jeddah, who passed away at a city hospital in the western province on Saturday.
His funeral took place after noon prayers in Makkah attended by people from all walks of life including the Sri Lankan Ambassador Azmi Thassim.
Mackeen’s body was brought from the hospital morgue to Al-Amoudi Mosque, opposite the Sri Lankan Consulate, for the funeral prayer, and for people to pay their last. Later, the body was taken to Makkah for burial.
Mackeen who was 64 suffered a cardiac arrest when he was addressing members of his community at the consulate to mark his country’s National Day on Feb. 4.
He underwent open-heart surgery and was in the intensive care unit at the time of his death.
During his ailment, the External Affairs Ministry in Colombo appointed U.L.M. Niyas, a diplomat from the Riyadh Embassy, to act as consul general in Jeddah.
Niyas said news of the death sent shock waves among the members of the community since Mackeen had earned the goodwill of his compatriots.
Former Sri Lankan Ambassador Mohammed Hussein Mohammed told Arab News from Sri Lanka that the country lost a devoted diplomat who had done so much for the community in a short period.
The Sri Lankan government has announced new duty-free concessions for its overseas workers who have spent more than 12 months abroad.
According to a circular issued by Parakrama Basnayake, Customs deputy director, the government has decided to further extend the duty concession granted to Sri Lankan expats on their return to the country.
Basnayake earlier said expats were granted a customs duty concession to purchase goods valued at $1,500. But now expats returning home after a one-year stint would be allowed to bring in several goods without any duty.
The goods include bathroom equipment, bedroom furniture, solar energy panels, computers, laptops, printers, two mobile phones, motorcycles under 350cc engine capacity, scooters and 55-inch TV sets.