Plans to solve Lankan expatriate issue, Hajj quota | Daily News


Saudi Shoura Council speaker in SL:

Plans to solve Lankan expatriate issue, Hajj quota

Speaker of the Saudi Shoura Council, Dr. Abdullah Al-Asheikh said that he would deal with relevant authorities in the Kingdom to resolve issues related to Lankan expatriates in Saudi Arabia and look into the possibility of increasing the Hajj quota for the island in the coming years.

He disclosed these facts when he met with Speaker Karu Jayasuriya at the latter’s chamber at the Parliament yesterday.

City Planning, Water Supply and Higher Education Minister Rauff Hakeem, Deputy Speaker Ananda Kumarasiri, former Minister of Hajj affairsA.H.M. Fowzie, and Parliamentarian Mujibur Rahman and Shoura Council members Lina Almaeena, Dr. Osama Al-Rabiah, Dr. Fathima Al-Shehri and Atta Al-Turki were also present at the meeting.

Dr. Al-Asheikh said that the Kingdom and Sri Lanka enjoy historical relations and hoped that his visit would further widen the areas of bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

He also extended an invitation to the Speaker and other legislators to visit the Shoura Council Headquarters in Riyadh to boost the relations between the two countries. He also suggested that the economic cooperation could also be developed through mutual investments to develop various sectors in trade in Sri Lanka as well as in his Kingdom.

On a matter raised by one of the Lankan legislators, he said that he would advise Saudi authorities to expedite payments of compensation to the families of the deceased Lankan workers in Saudi Arabia.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said he was delighted to have the Saudi Parliamentary delegation in Sri Lanka which would help enhance the existing relations between the two bodies.

MP Rahman told the Daily News that it was a useful interaction which paved the way for extended areas of cooperation between the two countries. He said such dialogues between the members of the two houses will help Sri Lanka to understand the respective systems, cultures and parliamentary practices. MP Fowzie said he was happy that the Saudi Speaker pledged to take the subject of Hajj quota again to Saudi authorities to consider a further increase. “This year, we received an increase of 500 pilgrims to reach a total of 4,000 Hajj pilgrims,” Fowzie said, recalling the original quota of 7,000 which was slashed down to 2,500 due to expansion works in the holy city of Makkah. He stressed the need for an increase in Hajj quota due to the increasing population.

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