Zero tolerance for corruption: Saudi King


Saudi Gazette report

— Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman delivered on Wednesday his annual speech outlining his government’s priorities for the coming year.

Priorities include focusing on the economy, emphasizing the government’s anti-corruption crackdown, fight against terrorism, push for the private sector, and continuing the reforms process among others.

“We have decided, with God’s help, to confront corruption with justice and decisiveness so that our country can enjoy the renaissance and development that every citizen aspires for,” the King said, inaugurating the second year of the 7th session of the Shoura Council.

“Thus was our order to form a higher committee for public corruption issues headed by the Crown Prince. We praise Allah that those corrupted are few,” King Salman said.

“And what they have done does not prejudice the integrity of honorable citizens of this country of princes, ministers, businessmen, employees, and workers at all levels, and in their various positions of responsibility in public and private sectors, as well as residents, workers and investors, whom we are proud of and wish them all success.”

He also said Saudi Arabia will work to enable the private sector to become a partner in development.

“We will empower and encourage the private sector to increase its contribution to development,” he added.

“We appreciate the role of the private sector as an important partner in development, its support for the national economy, offering employment opportunities to male and female youths, and localizing the industry.”

In a speech focused on economic issues, King Salman said the Kingdom was pushing ahead with its Vision 2030 economic reforms plan to find new sources of revenue.

“For achieving the Vision’s objectives, some government agencies have been restructured and a number of decisions have been taken to serve the interests of society, strengthen the state’s security, combat corruption, and increase the participation of male and female citizens in the national development.”

King Salman emphasized in his speech that Saudi Arabia will not contradict the principles of its faith as it “moves forward on the path of development and modernization.”

“There is no place among us for an extremist who sees moderation as deviation, or who would exploit our benevolent faith to achieve his goals,” he added.

King Salman said that Saudi Arabia plays an influential role in regional and international organizations.

The King asserted that the Kingdom will continue to play a leading role in countering terrorism and its means of financing.

On the US decision to declare Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the King said, “We renew our deep regret over the US decision on Jerusalem.”

“Palestinians have the right to east Jerusalem as their capital, he said.

“The Kingdom has called for a political solution to resolve regional crises, foremost of which is the Palestinian issue and the restoration of the Palestinian people’s legitimate rights, including the right to establish their independent state with east Jerusalem as its capital,” the King said.

King Salman also said Saudi Arabia was working with its allies to confront any “tendency for external interference in internal affairs and fanning the flames of sectarian sedition, and undermining regional security and stability.”

Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh, Shoura Council President Sheikh Abdullah Al-Asheikh, Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Saud Bin Naif, minister of interior, several princes, ministers, and members of the Shoura Council attended the function.