‘Good governance’ is the motto of new leadership
‘Good governance’ is the motto of new leadership
After decades of civil war, today Sri Lanka is enjoying peace and harmony and co-existence among the communities.
The country has a new government now under the leadership of President Maithripala Sirisena.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is working hand in hand with the president to create a new political culture; social plethora and economic system and communal harmony in the country.
’Good governance’ is the motto of the country and the government today.
After the war, we we went ahead with massive development drives and projects.
Around half a decade later, now the country is being led toward marvelous goals of good governance and social justice where significant paradigm shifts in social, economic and political arenas are at their dawn.
As correctly mentioned by our foreign minister, it is our duty to work hard to create a Sri Lankan identity based on the cultural diversity of its people.
If Sri Lanka is to harness its true economic potential, it must meet the aspiration of all its different communities to live in ethnic harmony, religious tolerance and in a true and democratic society.
The relationship between Sri Lanka and Saudi Arabia goes back to the Arab era in the 7th century where the first ambassador was sent by a Sinhala King to visit Kaliph Umar Ibnu Kattab.
Also I would like to highlight the link of Makkah and Madinah where the Muslims of Sri Lanka used to come by sailing boats.
King Faizal was the first monarch of Saudi Arabia who has established the Rabithathul Alam Al-Islami and through which we were able to establish mosques in all rural villages in Sri Lanka and assist Madrasas.
Rabithathul Alam Al-Islami opened the doors of the Madinah University for Sri Lankan Muslims to study Arabic and Islam and also supported the Jamiah Naleemia Islamia.
I am very proud to say that my father is the one of the founder members of Rabithathul Alam Al-Islami and its only the living active member.
Saudi Arabia is the largest destination for Sri Lankan expatriates seeking employment opportunities. I am happy to note that there are more than 350,000 Sri Lankan expatriates living in the Kingdom who are considered as the lifeline in furthering our bilateral relations.
I would like to mention that Sri Lankan community has earned a name for discipline, sincerity, talent, hardworking and law-abiding. I pray almighty Allah to accept at Him late Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud for declaring General Amnesty to all undocumented expatriates to correct their status, through which thousands of Sri Lankans were benefitted.
At the same time, I congratulate the new King, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, His Majesty, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud and on behalf of Sri Lanka Government, I thank him for offering General Pardon for some prisoners in the Kingdom which would benefit our Sri Lankans as well.
Sri Lanka is one of the leading manpower suppliers to the Kingdom. Our Sri Lankan compatriots working in the Middle East have remitted $6 billion in 2014 alone which is the highest segment of remittances received from Sri Lankans working abroad. Of this sum a significant portion surely comes from those Sri Lankans in Saudi Arabia.
It is in this backdrop that both countries have signed a labor agreement which aims at regulating the employment of the Domestic workers and ensure their welfare, safety and security.
The Minister of Labour of KSA will be visiting Sri Lanka shortly to implement the signed agreement and if the agreement is fully implemented, I believe most of the problems faced by our domestic workers would be immensely sorted out.
As the ambassador of Sri Lanka, I was able to resolve most the long-standing labor related issues of this mission.
I must sincerely thank the minister of labor of Saudi Arabia for his kind assistance and cooperation in resolving such issues.
There is a lot of potential for Saudi investors in Sri Lanka and on the other hand for Sri Lankan exporters to Saudi Arabia. After my assumption of duty as ambassador, I had discussions with the Council of Saudi Chambers for the formation of Saudi-Sri Lanka Business Council.
Ceylon Chamber of Commerce would be the counterpart of the Council of Saudi Chambers.
Now we are in the process of signing the MoU. After it is signed, we will be able to form the council, which is going to open new gateways in the economic relations between two countries.
Visits of Saudi Nationals to Sri Lanka are increasing dramatically and our beautiful city of Kandy is one of the popular destinations for Saudi families. Saudis are fascinated by the beauty of our country’s waterfalls, tea gardens and wild life.
I am also working to obtain the observer status for Sri Lanka in the OIC, Organization of the Islamic Cooperation which represents 57 Muslim countries. It is also is considered as a strong political bloc in global politics.
There are efforts to establish a fully-fledged Sri Lankan Mission in the Diplomatic Quarters in Riyadh which will be achieved very soon.
The embassy in Riyadh and our Consul General’s office in Jeddah carry out a range of duties. Among them, the two most important are consular and labor welfare services provided to the Sri Lankan community.
These have included the many mobile services that we provide at great cost with a view to rendering the best possible service to our community.
I would like to highlight a point expressed by the incumbent President that “all who is posted in public service are not the owners of the public but the servants of the public. It is the public who own the country and the government.”
I wish all brothers and sisters in Saudi Arabia good health, happiness, and prosperity.
Mohamed Hussain Mohamed
Ambassador for Sri Lanka in Saudi Arabia