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.


Major projects, investments worth over $685bn unveiled on Saudi National Day

A photo taken on July 5, 2018, shows Bader al-Ajmi, 38,(L) owner of "One Way Burger" serving customers from his truck at a main street in the capital Riyadh. (AFP)
Updated 22 September 2018
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Major projects, investments worth over $685bn unveiled on Saudi National Day

  • The private sector’s contribution to the GDP at constant prices doubled to around SR1236.6 million in 2017

JEDDAH: A major economic boost in the form of 10 major projects and investments exceeding SR685 billion ($183 billion) were unveiled as celebrations of the 88th Saudi National Day got under way.
The Council of Saudi Chambers released a report focusing on great economic achievements in 2017.
These projects reflect the Kingdom’s vision under the wise leadership of King Salman and that of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to provide a brighter future through diversifying sources of national income, tackling environmental challenges and increasing investment and prosperity.
The report summarized the most important events and economic developments in the Kingdom over the past year. These include the lifting of the ban on women driving in June, and the establishment of the General Authority for Cyber Security, in addition to the numerous royal decrees providing financial support to Saudis.
It also noted the important decisions related to the Saudi business sector. These include the launch of a private sector incentive program with a value of SR72 billion, the privatization of 10 government sectors and the establishment of the General Authority for Real Estate. The private sector is still showing a strong performance as an efficient partner in the inclusive development process and in the achievement of the Kingdom’s 2030 Vision, the report noted, as it contributes 39 percent to the Saudi gross domestic product (GDP).
The private sector’s contribution to the GDP at constant prices doubled to around SR1236.6 million in 2017. There has been increased contribution to GDP from non-oil private sector streams.
The private sector also witnessed an increase in the number of workers, in its capital, in the number of shares on the Saudi market, in the cumulative number of establishments operating in the Kingdom, and in non-oil exports.
Continued growth of the private sector was attributed by the report to the Saudi government’s support. This support comes through initiatives such as the removal of obstacles to financial development, improvements to the working environment and policies adopted to boost investment.
It also reviewed the private sector’s efforts to support diversification of the economy and lower unemployment rates.
The importance of the measures taken to prioritize the employment of qualified Saudi workers over the employment of expatriates in the private sector were stressed, as well as the sector’s role in providing education and health services.