The wind of change is blowing



EACH one of us would like to keep up with the times and become part and parcel of the progress and prosperity that is taking place in our country. Since the beginning of creation, human nature has been pushing men and women to take part actively in the efforts to build the world and improve the environment around them. Since last year, we have seen the implementation of a number of vital projects in different parts of the Kingdom to develop infrastructure and expand services.

The most striking thing is that these huge development processes are subject to adjustment and correction procedures that bring them back on track, at the same time they are moving toward realizing their goals. We have also noticed the positive attitude and response of some government officials who are ready to accept criticism better than before.

Some of them have expressed their interest in what we write criticizing the shortcomings in certain government projects and services and they accept those criticisms with a sportsman’s spirit. This has given citizens a feeling that they are also partners in development.

As we watch the Kingdom’s tremendous pace of progress with the implementation of new gigantic projects such as the Haramain Railway and the Riyadh Metro it gives glad tidings about a brighter future, enhancing progress and prosperity of present and future generations. It’s now harvesting time for the Kingdom after investing billions of riyals on vital projects.

Recently, the Haramain railway project, valued at SR63 billion, carried out a test run between Jeddah and Madinah to find out if there were any issues to correct before the final launch. The railway is expected to serve 60 million passengers annually, mostly pilgrims who come to the Kingdom to perform Haj and Umrah. We expect that the railway would be operational next year.

We are also looking forward to the opening of Riyadh Metro project, which is estimated to cost $22.5 billion. Work on the metro project started in 2014, and we are witnessing its progress day by day. We have seen some of its stations being built in various parts of the city. The metro will have a total of 85 stations. The most impressive aspect of the metro project is the participation of more than 833 Saudi engineers extending their contributions to its various activities.

We have seen substantial progress in the judiciary with the wide use of electronic systems to facilitate and quicken judicial procedures. Execution of verdicts has now on our fingertips, with the pressing of button. Compare this to the previous long time taken for the execution of the verdicts and many people had lost many years of their precious life in the process.

The Supreme Judiciary Council has decided to isolate judges who do not have the minimum qualification and achieved lower than the average rating. These are significant developments toward ensuring speedy justice. The Ministry of Justice has started exercising more control over judges. About 60% of the judges' work is now subject to inspection, and no judge is exempted from such inspections.

There is good news from the Education Ministry. It has decided to appoint women teachers at primary schools for boys. This important decision will make big difference in the attitude and academic performance of primary school boys. Every teacher is a mother even if she does not have children. Female teachers possess instinctive skills to teach small children effectively. We hope it would be followed by a quick decision to teach English language from the first grade of primary school, to improve the quality of education and prepare students for university education.

Recently, the minister of labor and social development received unemployed Saudi engineers and agreed that migrant workers’ profession would not be changed to engineers. The minister’s assurance was in addition to the move to control recruitment of foreign workers. But there are some officials and influential people who wanted to keep the recruitment gate open.

Last week, the ambassador of Bangladesh in Riyadh, Golam Moshi, said that Saudi Arabia would recruit 3,000 workers from his country this year to work for private companies. He said the workers would be given proper training before they arrive in the Kingdom. The ambassador asked Saudi businessmen to help recruit engineers and doctors from Bangladesh. He reiterated that his government would provide training to its workers before allowing them to travel to Saudi Arabia.

I would like to hear from a senior Saudi official to refute the ambassador’s statement and emphasize that the Kingdom would not allow recruitment of more foreign workers as part of ongoing efforts to combat unemployment among Saudi men and women.