Lankans voted ‘against racism and corruption’

Updated 19 August 2015
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Lankans voted ‘against racism and corruption’

RIYADH: The Sri Lankan parliamentary elections result on Tuesday has been a vote against racism, corruption and nepotism, according to the country’s expatriates in the Kingdom. The final results showed that the United National Party (UNP) led by Ranil Wickremesinghe secured 106 seats in the parliament, while former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, head of the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) obtained only 95 seats including the bonus allocations.
Rajapaksa’s allegedly corrupt regime had been overthrown in January by Maithripala Sirisena. “The election results have clearly shown that Sri Lankans are not prepared to entertain racism or nepotism in the country,” Hameed Mowlana, senior executive of a private establishment, told Arab News on Tuesday.
“If any party thinks that it can garner votes playing the racism card it will end in dismal failure. The current result is ample proof of this,” Mowlana said, pointing out that the majority Sinhalese community used the elections to reject parties trying to divide communities.
Ayesh Medis from Arab National Bank said that the people voted collectively to fight against corruption, which was rampant during Rajapaksa’s tenure. Medis said that the combination of Wickremesinghe and Sirisena would help boost socio-economic development.
Senior banker Riaz Usoof said the results signal the dawn of a new era. “All Sri Lankans hope that the joint efforts of Ranil and President Sirisena will ensure stability and growth on the island.”
P. Ali, a senior accountant at a steel facility, said the election results have created a sound opposition in the legislature. “Democracy can be successful only if there is a strong opposition which could form a shadow cabinet to check the activities of the ruling party,” he added.
“The openness and positive manner in which the election was conducted, without any violence and turmoil as in previous years, is most commendable. The outcome is certainly a breath of fresh air for all forward-thinking Sri Lankans who want to see the beautiful island nation blossom into the ‘Taste of Paradise’ it has always been referred to,” said Fazli Sameer, an information technology specialist, who has been in the Kingdom for more than two decades.
Speaking to Arab News from Colombo, Hajara Hameed told Arab News that Muslims felt insecure during the previous regime due to constant agitation by racists. “There is an air of freedom for Muslim women to move freely in the streets of Sri Lanka,” she added.
Wickremesinghe urged the people to work together for the betterment of Sri Lanka and introduce a new political culture in the country.


Peace, security and economy top agenda of Saudi Shoura session

The current Shoura Council is composed of 150 members including 30 women members. (SPA)
Updated 15 November 2018
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Peace, security and economy top agenda of Saudi Shoura session

  • Al-Khunaizi said that King Salman’s speech will have “added political and economic significance, and it will lay out the agenda for the rest of the Shoura’s term”

RIYADH: King Salman on Monday will deliver his inaugural address at the Shoura Council, where he will talk about a range of local and regional issues and urge lawmakers to support the government in taking the country forward.
The king’s speech, which will serve as a guideline for Shoura members, will begin the deliberations of the new parliamentary year of the 150-member council.
“The king’s visit to the Shoura is of utmost importance, and his speech will define domestic, regional and foreign policies,” said Hoda Al-Helaissi, a member of the Shoura Council here on Wednesday.
“With the visit of King Salman to the Shoura Council to mark the beginning of the third year of the seventh term, we take a moment to reflect on the past year,” Al-Helaissi said.
She said that “the past year has been a year of challenges and opportunities both within the Kingdom and abroad.”
“Remarkably, as is in our nature, and as exemplified by our leadership, we have remained steadfast in our values and beliefs, committed as a country to the well-being of our citizens, not least as explained in what has now become known as Saudi Arabia’s road-map for the future, Vision 2030,” Al-Helaissi said.
“As the home of the Two Holy Mosques and as an important strategic player in the region, Saudi Arabia has an important role in global politics and we look forward to hearing the king’s speech this coming Monday,” Al-Helaissi said.
Guidelines for addressing local and regional challenges with a special reference to domestic and foreign policies will be spelled out by King Salman, she said.
“Elaborate preparations have been made to receive the king on this occasion,” said Mohammed Al-Khunaizi, another member of the Shoura Council. Al-Khunaizi said that King Salman’s speech will have “added political and economic significance, and it will lay out the agenda for the rest of the Shoura’s term.”
“The occasion marks the beginning of the new year for the council,” said Al-Khunaizi, while forecasting a number of proposals, decisions, draft legislation, treaties and foreign policy matters to be discussed and debated in 2019.
He said that the king’s speech may touch on subjects such as society, security, peace, stability, extremism, economy, financial reforms, regional challenges and foreign policy matters.
Al-Khunaizi noted that the role of women members of the Shoura Council had lent new dimension to the debate and deliberations of the council. He said that the current Shoura Council is composed of 150 members including 30 women members.