Saudi Gazette’s Editor-at-large Khaled Almaeena addresses a Meet the Press program in Jeddah on Saturday. Muhammad Alungal, CMD of Al-Abeer Medical Group and Educity, Sulfeekar Othai and C.K. Shakir are also seen. — SG photo
JEDDAH – Now, it is the time for reverse migration, says Saudi Gazette’s Editor-at-large Khaled Almaeena. Addressing a Meet the Press program organized by local Indian journalists here on Saturday, Almaeena suggested that foreign residents could be discouraged from further migration to the Gulf States and instead they may be facilitated to work in their own country after attracting leading investors from the Gulf.
“People will be much happier to stay at home and work in their neighborhood rather than going to a foreign country for work, leaving behind their kith and kin. If they got an opportunity to work at home, that will be great and more meaningful for them,” he said.
Almaeena said the reverse migration would enable expatriates to find jobs in their home turf. “Those professionals who work here can go and do the same job there in the event of creating more jobs at home through attracting foreign investors. This is more evident in the case of professionals, especially those in the IT and medical fields,” he said while highlighting the role of the multibillion rupee expatriate venture of Al-Abeer Educity in creating jobs for thousands of professionals and Gulf returnees.
By this, expatriates can also get rid of their concerns and anxieties related to Saudization, Gulfization, and Nitaqat.
Almaeena recently visited the Educity in the Malappuram district of Kerala. About 50 percent of the city’s capital will be from foreign investors, mainly those from Saudi Arabia, as well as from non-resident Indians (NRIs).
Going down memory lane, Almaeena highlighted the strong bonds of historical relations between India and Saudi Arabia. “I am always fascinated by India and a fan of Mughal architecture.”
India and Hejaz had maintained very good relations that date back to 70 or 80 years ago. During those days, people from Makkah used to go to India and Haj pilgrims came from there.
More and more Indians started coming to Arabia later and many of their families settled down in Makkah and they included Kalkattawis, Dahlawis, Beshawris and Malaibaris.
He said that there is a great scope for halal tourism in a country like India, especially in the backdrop of the state-owned State Bank of India’s decision to launch an Islamic equity fund in December aimed mainly at attracting investments from the country’s 180 million Muslims.
Commending India’s unity in diversity, he said: “I tweeted this morning that India’s beauty is in its diversity.”
During his visit to Kerala, Almaeena met top leaders of the state, especially Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Industries and IT Minister P.K. Kunhalikutty, and Minister of Education Abdurrab, as well as senior media figures of the state, including O. Abdurahman, editor of Madhyamam/MediaOne group.
Veteran diplomat and the Kerala State Higher Education Council Executive Vice Chairman T.P. Srinivasan interviewed him for Asianet Television channel.
Kerala media community honored him by organizing Meet the Press programs in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city, and Kozhikode, the main city of Malabar. “Apart from the very good support and gesture of hospitality from the media community, I am very much impressed by the simplicity of Oommen Chandy and other leaders, and the way they carried on with determination.”
Almaeena said: “I liked the peacefulness prevailing in Kerala, and the harmony and peaceful coexistence of people of different religions and cultures are wonderful. I was also fascinated by the high rate of literacy of Kerala whose people are enterprising and hard working.”
Highlighting the huge potential of Kerala in education and medical tourism, he said there is a big scope for Saudi investors in the state. He also underlined that the state must focus on preserving cleanliness.
“It is important that the rivers, backwater and lakes must be free from pollution through applying strict pollution control laws. While traveling to highlands of Wayanad, I saw a huge signboard asking visitors not to throw litters and plastics but under the sign board I could see many throw-way plastic bags.”
He said that efforts to entice foreign capital are very strong in Kerala. According to Almaeena, the Educity will become a capital of education for not only people of India but also people from the Gulf.
“The oil prices are falling and many parts of the Arab world are unsafe for going for higher studies. Damascus and Baghdad were once great centers of education and learning, but they are now not at all safe to go there for education, and hence destinations like Kerala as a hub of education are important.”
Almaeena congratulated Muhammad Alungal, chairman and managing director of Al-Abeer Medical Group and Educity, for his outstanding role in establishing a world class Educity.
“Alungal is doing a great work in promoting healthcare and education in the Gulf as well as in India. Keralites can be proud of such a great businessman, who is honest and magnanimous.”
Alungal was also present at the Meet the Press in which Sulfeekar Othayi; president of Jeddah Indian Media Forum, was in chair; Media Forum secretary C.K. Shakir welcomed the gathering; and treasurer Sadiqali Thuvoor proposed the vote of thanks.