Sri Lankan worker receives end-of-service award — 22 years after he left Saudi Arabia

Mohammed Zizan Hameed Lebbe, right, with Rihan Razick, who found him in Sri Lanka. (Supplied)
Updated 22 February 2018
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Sri Lankan worker receives end-of-service award — 22 years after he left Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: A domestic aide who left Saudi Arabia 22 years ago will soon receive his end-of-service awards in Colombo. His Saudi sponsor, who died six years ago, requested his next of kin to pay the benefits to the man if he could be found after his return to Sri Lanka.
Based on an Arab News report — ‘Dead’ sponsor sends end-of-service benefits to domestic aide who left KSA 22 years ago — published on Feb. 16 and which recorded more than 40,000 hits online, the beneficiary was found in Sri Lanka and the authorities will make the payment shortly on completion of formalities.
Saudi sponsor, Shukr Sweilem Al-Shammary, who died six years ago, requested his next-of-kin to pay the end-of-service to Mohammed Zizan Hameed Lebbe, a Sri Lankan domestic driver, who had worked with him from 1987 to 1996 in Riyadh.

According to the last will of Al-Shammary, the deceased asked his heirs to pay SR11,000 to the driver or to his family.
Indika Thilakaratne , labor counselor at the Sri Lankan Embassy, said that he received the money and it has been sent to the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment to pay the nominee or his next-of-kin.
Al-Shammary’s grandson, Abdullah, had handed SR11,000 to the Sri Lankan Embassy in Riyadh to be given either to the driver, if living, or to his family members.
Nalin Rajapaksa, media officer at the Ministry of Foreign Employment, told Arab News that the ministry launched an islandwide search for the driver to clear the payment.
Rihan Razick, managing director at Asma Travels, told Arab News from Colombo that based on the report from Arab News, he had searched for the driver on humanitarian grounds. “Fortunately, I found the man in my own village,” he said, adding that he was now running a tea kiosk in Bandawa, Polgahawela, some 70 kilometers from the city of Colombo. Razick said he was unaware of the news and it came as a pleasant surprise.
According to Razick, the driver has handed the identity documents to the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment in Colombo and will soon receive his dues from his employment abroad.


Saudi Arabia, South Korea reach agreement on visas

King Salman chairs the Cabinet session in Riyadh on Tuesday. (SPA)
Updated 16 January 2019
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Saudi Arabia, South Korea reach agreement on visas

  • Cabinet OKs air transport pact with Indonesia

JEDDAH: The Saudi Cabinet met to discuss a series of national and global developments on Tuesday, in a session chaired by King Salman.

At the forefront of the agenda was the escalation in tensions between Israel and Hamas along the Gaza border, and the continuing encroachment on Palestinian land by Israeli settlers in the West Bank. The Cabinet responded by demanding that the UN Security Council intervene. King Salman also relayed to ministers the outcome of his talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, which covered many regional issues.

The minister of media, Turki bin Abdullah Al-Shabanah, announced that after reviewing proposals from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a decision from the Shoura Council, a memorandum of understanding between the government and the Republic of Korea on granting visit visas had been agreed upon.

The Cabinet approved the amendment of the air agreement on regular air transport between Saudi Arabia and Indonesia.

The Cabinet, meanwhile, praised the progress of the 2025 Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development Program, aimed at enhancing farming techniques by promoting sustainable water and renewable energy sources.

They also discussed the framework in Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Program 2020 for building a sustainable renewable energy sector, reiterating aims to lead global renewable energy developments over the next decade, and create projects such as the wind-powered plant at Dumat Al-Jandal, as part of the King Salman Renewable Energy Initiative.

In a statement, though, Al-Shabanah said: “The Cabinet discussed the announcement made by the minister of energy, industry and mineral resources about the Kingdom’s oil and gas reserves, which highlighted the importance of Saudi Arabia as a secure source of oil supplies in the long term.”

He added, in closing, the Cabinet’s praise for the efforts of Saudi security forces in the tracking and arrest of seven people in Qatif, which foiled a planned terrorist attack.