Sri Lankan diplomat mourned

Faizer Mackeen
Updated 31 March 2017
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Sri Lankan diplomat mourned

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.
Duty-free allowances
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.


Careem’s first ‘Captainah’ ready to hit the road

A video made for the big day also features Captainah (the female version of captain) Enaam Gazi Al-Aswad, Careem’s first female driver in Saudi Arabia, sharing her thoughts on the historic event
Updated 23 June 2018
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Careem’s first ‘Captainah’ ready to hit the road

  • Mudassir Sheikha, CEO of Careem, said the historic moment was set to drive economic and positive social change in the country
  • Careem, which plans to open 100,000 jobs to female drivers in the wake of the decree, said that far from losing business, the company stands to benefit from an energized economy. 

As the largest mover of people in the Kingdom, the ride-hailing app Careem has been preparing for women driving by investing almost $80 million over the past five years in its Saudi operations. 

The money has been spent on infrastructure, call centers and affordable on-demand transportation services across the country.

Mudassir Sheikha, CEO of Careem, said the historic moment was set to drive economic and positive social change in the country. 

“We created this committee whose basic job was to figure out the changes that we need to make in our platform to make it more open and acceptable to women,” he said. 

“We have invested more than $100 million in Saudi Arabia. We are truly excited to be part of this 2030 change. We made a pledge that we will have 20,000 captains (drivers) on our platform by 2020,” Sheikha added.

A video made for the big day also features Captainah (the female version of captain) Enaam Gazi Al-Aswad, Careem’s first female driver in Saudi Arabia, sharing her thoughts on the historic event.

“I’m very glad. Finally, I got my license from Saudi Arabia. I wished a long time ago to have these things in my country. I have freedom now to ride anytime I want to drive … with income! It will help me financially (and) socially to feel alive again, go out to drive, meet people and have income. I think it is a nice opportunity in this life and it is going to be in the history also,” Al-Aswad said.

Careem even set up a women’s captain committee to better understand what barriers might exist for women wanting to drive.

Throughout 2018, $30 million has been invested in Careem’s Saudi operations alone as the company shows its support for Vision 2030.

Careem, which plans to open 100,000 jobs to female drivers in the wake of the decree, said that far from losing business, the company stands to benefit from an energized economy. 

“While it’s true that 70 percent of our users in Saudi are female, our success and growth in the country is mainly because we offer a safe, reliable and affordable service,” said Abdulla Elyas, co-founder and chief people officer at Careem.

“When we have more women who are employees and entrepreneurs, and the whole country has increased mobility, the domestic economy gets energized and that’s when transportation services will be in more demand.

“As with the possibility of registering women captains (drivers), we will be able to welcome new female customers who feel more comfortable riding with another female.”