Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

From the King to the People | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The people of Saudi Arabia listened to the historic speech made by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz yesterday…this speech was historic not just in its language but also in its content, and this reflects the true composition of Saudi Arabia, and its special nature. This speech was followed by the announcement of a huge package of royal decrees that will affect all components of Saudi Arabian society.

King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz began his speech by addressing “the noble people [of Saudi Arabia]” and he followed this by saying something that the people of Saudi Arabia will not soon forget, saying “I am proud of you. Words and meanings cannot describe you.” The King then clarified that “I say this to make history bear witness, pens write, and to ensure that the national memory does not forget, that after Allah Almighty, you are the guarantors for the unity of this country and that you have struck at falsehood with truth, and at betrayal with loyalty and steadfastness through your faithful resolve.”

This speech has many connotations, for the King is obliged to his people, and this is something that is part of the makeup of Saudi Arabia, and can be seen in the Bayaa ceremony [where the people of Saudi Arabia formally and voluntarily endorse a King’s rule, pledging their allegiance] as well as in the mutual relationship between the King and his people, which goes beyond command and guidance. It was also interesting that the King praised the religious scholars, both those in the Saudi Arabian Council of Senior Scholars and those outside of it, and then added “I also have not forgotten the thinkers of the nation and the writers who have fought the enemies of religion, the homeland and the nation.” He also praised the ordinary Saudi Arabian citizens, and reserved the highest thanks and praise to the security sector, which it well deserves.

This was a historic speech which used a compassionate language…a language that revealed the cohesion between the King and his citizens, and how can this not be the case when the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques ended his speech by saying to his people, “don’t forget to pray to Allah Almighty for me.”

The King did more than just present words to his people, for this was followed by a historic series of royal decrees, which are huge both in size and influence. These decrees will be felt by students, the unemployed, and indeed all components of Saudi Arabian society. The King decreed the establishment of a minimum wage for state sector employees, and this is something that is extremely important, whilst he also did not forget the security and military sectors. The series of royal decrees issued yesterday will touch upon all aspects of state service, and more importantly these royal decrees will be implemented quickly and will soon affect each citizen, because these decrees have targeted the right issues, and are marked by a high level of transparency, especially the decision to establish a new government department to tackle corruption. Everybody is well aware that the greatest problems being faced by Saudi Arabia is concentrated in providing housing, and combating unemployment and corruption, and these are all issues that yesterday’s royal decrees explicitly targeted.

There can be no doubt that these royal decrees are extremely important, and it is difficult to summarize them all in this article, however there is one particularly important royal decree that must be mentioned here and that is the establishment of a Saudi Arabian Fiqh [Jurisprudence] Complex. This will have a large and significant impact in putting an end to fanaticism and extremism and in graduating clerics who are aware of the challenges and changers that Saudi Arabia, and indeed the entire region, is facing, and this is something that is in the interest of the country and its people.

Following the global financial crisis we saw how the bastions of capitalism required financial help, especially banks, but it is important to be aware that what we are seeing today in Saudi Arabia is a different model. This is a series of royal decrees that aim to strengthen the economy, not just via institutions, but directly through the deserving citizens, and this is something that will speed up economic growth. This economic growth will be directly felt by the citizens, and will also be reflected in the economic sector. This is most important, for although it is true that these decrees focus upon ordinary citizens and state employees, the private sector will also benefit from this, as well as the state. This is why these decrees are so important and effective, for they aim to speed up economic growth.

Therefore the speech – and the decrees – are historic, as these were issued directly from the King to the people.