Sri Lanka envoy unveils welfare plan for island’s expat workers

Updated 05 February 2016
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Sri Lanka envoy unveils welfare plan for island’s expat workers

RIYADH: Sri Lankan Ambassador Azim Thassim told his countrymen in the Kingdom that his mission has chalked out a 20/20 plan to promote bilateral relations with the Kingdom and to work for the welfare of the island’s 500,000 workers in Saudi Arabia.
The envoy was addressing the Sri Lankan community on the occasion of his country’s 68th anniversary of its Independence Day on Thursday.
A large gathering of the Lankan community, including schoolchildren and Saudi businessmen, graced the colorful ceremony organized by the mission.
Around one-third of the Sri Lankan population of 1.5 million overseas workers are concentrated in the Kingdom.
Expatriates from all walks of life were present at the morning function to meet and greet one another on this auspicious occasion.
Thassim, who also re-launched the mission’s website with new features, said the website will give an insight into the activities of the mission. “It provides a portal to learn about the facilities and services rendered by the mission for the welfare of workers.”
The envoy called upon his community members to build up the various projects earmarked during the next five years.
“We need professional help in social, cultural, economic and educational fields from our countrymen in the Kingdom,” he said, stressing that the expatriate community can help the country as well as the host country in their march toward national development.
He also announced that in addition to the two community schools in Riyadh and Jeddah, the mission has received a license to operate another school in Dammam. “Arrangements are being made to open this school during the new academic year,” he added.
To begin the day’s event, the ambassador unfurled the national flag amidst the beat of drums (Magul bera). Then community members joined the choir of the Sri Lankan International School in Riyadh to sing the national anthem. It was followed by the recital of Jayamangala Gatha and observance of two-minutes silence in memory of fallen heroes. “This was done as a mark of respect to all those, who sacrificed their lives for the sake of the nation,” the envoy said.
Speaking further, the ambassador noted that the new government under the leadership of President Maithripala Sirisena, supported by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, is working hand-in-hand to create a new political culture, economic system and communal harmony in the country.
“Good governance (Yahapalanaya) is the motto of the present government. Following the end of the war, we had massive development drives and projects. Around half a decade later, now the country is led toward the marvelous goals of good governance and social justice where significant paradigm shifts in social, economic and political arenas are at their dawn,” he concluded.
In Jeddah, acting Consul General M.S.M. Ansar, hoisted the national flag at the consulate. More than 100 expatriates in the western province were present at the morning function to meet and greet fellow Sri Lankans.
Typical Sri Lankan dishes were served to guests at both the functions held in Riyadh and Jeddah. They included kiribath with katta sambol, kevum, dodal and kokis.


First pilgrims make journey with official launch of ‘Makkah Road’ initiative

Updated 17 July 2018
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First pilgrims make journey with official launch of ‘Makkah Road’ initiative

  • The official launch of the Makkah Road initiative in Indonesia was marked on Tuesday
  • The attendees were briefed on how the service is organized at the airport and how procedures are being implemented

JEDDAH: The official launch of the Makkah Road initiative in Indonesia was marked on Tuesday by the first journey of Indonesian pilgrims from Soekarno–Hatta International Airport to the Holy Land.
Attending from Saudi Arabia were Major General Sulaiman Al-Yahya, the director general of passports; Osama bin Mohammed Al-Shuaibi, Saudi ambassador to Indonesia; and members of the supervisory committee of the relevant bodies providing services to pilgrims in the Kingdom.
The attendees were briefed on how the service is organized at the airport and how procedures are being implemented. They also met the first Indonesian pilgrims departing through the electronic system in Jakarta and got their feedback on the new system.
The head of the Saudi delegation, Maj. Gen. Sulaiman Al-Yahya, said that the Makkah Road Initiative comes as a function of the directives of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The directives are to serve pilgrims in line with NTP 2020 and Vision 2030 under the direct supervision of the Ministry of Interior, heading the Supreme Hajj Committee.
“The first journey of the Indonesian pilgrims who have benefited from the Makkah Road service has taken off today. Previously, the first two journeys of pilgrims from Malaysia had been launched from Kuala Lumpur Airport. This initiative will be implemented in any country that wishes to benefit from it,” Al-Yahya said.
The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, Hussein Al-Sharif, said that the initiative aims to enhance the pilgrimage services, and facilitate the journeys of the pilgrims.
The Makkah Road initiative was partially implemented during the previous Hajj season in 1438H (2017), processing a limited number of Malaysian pilgrims, and will apply to all Malaysian pilgrims this year (1439H -2018). On Sunday, Saudi Arabia launched two journeys in Malaysia, allowing the Malaysian pilgrims to benefit from immigration pre-clearance and other services that will facilitate their journey to perform pilgrimage.
The initiative includes issuance of visas, completion of customs and passport procedures, ensuring compliance with health requirements, codifying and sorting luggage according to transportation and housing arrangements in Saudi Arabia.
All the above will hugely facilitate the pilgrims’ entry into the Kingdom, allowing them to head directly to their accommodation in Makkah and Medinah, while their luggage is handled by service agencies that transport baggage directly to the visitors’ places of residence.