The budget proposal to establish a pension scheme for Sri Lankan migrant workers and appointing of the select committee to establish voting rights for Sri Lankan migrant workers were commended yesterday in Parliament.
Opposition lawmaker Sunil Handunnetti, who was keen to uphold the rights of migrant workers, upheld the contribution made in terms of foreign currency. “The domestic tax system helps to run the country, but the foreign currency required to pay the debt are earned by migrant workers. We should appreciate their contribution. As a result of the struggle, we had to safeguard the voting rights of migrant workers. I am thanking the Speaker who has appointed a parliamentary select committee.”
“I trust the select committee should be able to get some mechanism in place to receive the suggestions of migrant workers. During the recent US elections, US nationals living in other countries had the opportunity to cast their votes. We also endorse the pension plan proposed in this budget for Sri Lankan migrant workers. However, we would like to know the contribution from the Government rather than using money earned by migrant workers in full,” he said.
Joining the debate, Deputy Minister of Social Empowerment and Welfare Ranjan Ramanayake commended the Government for being able to get back to Sri Lankan migrant workers who were sentenced by a Saudi Court. “For the first time, we were able to bring back two Sri Lankans sentenced to death by a Saudi Court. One person was to be stoned to death and the other was to be beheaded. This is a serious achievement and this is the change we now have in this country. During the previous regime, a female Sri Lankan migrant worker was beheaded. The Government was unable to save her,” said MP Ramanayake, requesting the Ministry to establish a pension scheme for migrant workers. (AH)