Sri Lankan maid gets SR88,600 salary dues for 17 years of service in Saudi Arabia

Re-union -Kusumawathi meets her 19 year old daughter after 17 years
Updated 31 October 2017
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Sri Lankan maid gets SR88,600 salary dues for 17 years of service in Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: With the help of Saudi authorities, a Sri Lankan maid received SR88,600 ($23,625) in back wages for the past 17 years.

This is considered the largest amount, around 3.6m Sri Lankan Rupees, recovered as salary arrears paid to a Sri Lankan migrant worker in the history of the island.

K.G. Kusumawathi, 44, came to the Kingdom in 2000 when she was only 27 and had a two-year-old daughter Hansika Sewwandi, and a son Thushitha Madusha, four years of age.

The sponsor kept her for this period without allowing her to go home.

According to Kusumawathi, the sponsor regularly paid her monthly salary of SR400 for the first eight years, and she had SR38,600 in cash in hand when the authorities tracked her at the workplace. The balance of SR50,000 was paid by the employer.

Speaking to Arab News, Susil Kumar Peli, the labor counselor at the Sri Lankan Consulate in Jeddah, the mission tracked the maid based on a complaint made in Colombo by the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) and Justice and Foreign Employment Minister Thalatha Atukorale six months ago.

Based on the information provided, he said the mission sought the assistance of the governorate in Taif which traced the sponsor, and the maid was promptly brought to the mission.

According to the diplomat, the maid had worked as a shepherdess in the remote village of Ateef, 40 km away from Taif on the Riyadh-Taif highway.

The maid had told the mission that there was no harassment by the sponsor except for the refusal to grant her permission to go home after the contracted period.

According to Saudi regulations, the sponsor is duty bound to send maids back home on completion of their work contracts.

The counselor said that the maid was sent home and she had a grand reunion in her hometown, he said, adding that she was very happy when she saw the two-year-old daughter she left had grown into a woman.

Nalin Rajapaksa, media spokesman of the SLBFE told Arab News that the minister was thankful to the Saudi government and the island’s consulate in Jeddah for their cooperation in sending maid back home with her paid-up salary.


Lights, camera, action: Gala heralds rebirth of Saudi cinema

Updated 19 April 2018
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Lights, camera, action: Gala heralds rebirth of Saudi cinema

  • Saudi Arabia plans to open nearly 350 cinemas, with more than 2,500 screens, by 2030
  • Movie theaters are expected to contribute more than $24 billion to the Saudi economy and create more than 30,000 jobs by 2030

RIYADH: It was a night to remember: Cinema returned to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday with the first major movie screening in 35 years in a spectacular new theater in King Abdullah Financial District in Riyadh.
The gala screening of the Hollywood blockbuster Black Panther was attended by hundreds of invited guests in the sleek and chic complex — described by AMC cinema chain bosses as “the most beautiful movie theater in the world.”
As the guests took their seats, Princess Reema bint Bandar told Arab News: “It’s a privilege to be here. I hope everyone gets to enjoy the experience I’m having this evening.”
In an official opening ceremony before the movie began, AMC bosses joined Saudi government officials on the stage. Each placed their hand each on a large handprint, triggering a shower of glittering, colorful confetti on the audience. It was a magical moment — just like the movies, in fact.
Paul Hill, the general manager of AMC, told Arab News: “It’s an absolute honor and privilege to be part of the opening It’s a historic achievement. This really will be the place to go.”
The opening was overseen by the Development and Investment Entertainment Company, a subsidiary of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and a partner with AMC in the new cinema complex.
Dr. Awwad Alawwad, the Saudi Minister of Culture and Information, and Adam Aron, chief executive and president of AMC Entertainment, joined diplomats and industry experts to watch Black Panther in the first in a series of invitation-only screenings during April.
“I know for sure that Saudis are very eager to be able to watch their favorite films here in their own country, as now made possible by Vision 2030,” Dr. Alawwad said before the screening.
“This is a landmark moment in the transformation of Saudi Arabia into a more vibrant economy and society. None of this would be possible without the visionary leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.”
The cinema will open to the public on Friday. “There are some surprises and secrets on how we are promoting it. The tickets will be sold online and there will be more information in 24 hours,” said AMC Vice President Jason Cole.
Three more screens will be added to the cinema complex by September. Saudi Arabia plans to open nearly 350 cinemas, with more than 2,500 screens, by 2030.