Sri Lankan expats in Oman hopeful of voting rights in home country
Sri Lankans in Oman are optimistic about getting voting rights soon as the Sri Lankan parliament is set to pass a motion enabling voting rights for its citizens abroad on Wednesday, the Times of Oman reported. “If the parliament passes the motion, then we would be happiest lot. Getting a say in our country’s politics is not a small thing. The demand for voting rights for migrant Lankan workers is a long standing one. Hope it becomes a reality this time,” Deepal Pallegangoda, country manager of Mihin Lanka in Muscat, said. According to media reports, the possibility of enabling more than 1.5 million migrant Sri Lankan workers to vote at elections is to be examined by a Parliamentary Select Committee. A motion put forward by 23 parliamentarians was submitted last month and is supposed to be approved by parliament on Wednesday. An official from the Sri Lankan embassy in Oman confirmed media reports, saying that they are waiting for updates from Lanka. According to the official, there are around 25,000 Lankans in Oman. Bandulla Perera, a Lankan expatriate in Oman, said it’s a good move on part of the government. “Lankan migrants contribute around 60 per cent of foreign exchange revenue through remittances. When they play such an important role in the country’s economy, they deserve a say in their government forming too. Enabling voting rights is a welcome move,” Perera, who is an official at HSBC Oman for the last eight years, said.