The shock therapy for rapid cure


Al-Riyadh newspaper

THE basic message conveyed by Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, during his recent interview with The Washington Post, which is a strong critic of Saudi Arabia, was that the Kingdom has nothing to hide or skip and that all files are open to debate and discussion with all parties, more with its opponents than its supporters.

The Crown Prince spoke to David Ignatius of The Post about most issues that concern the international community and the Kingdom as well as some internal issues, especially the big transformations, anti-corruption campaigns, empowerment of women, and the methodology of building a “new Saudi Arabia.”

The most striking thing I have noticed in the Crown Prince’s speeches and decisions is the power of correction after acknowledging the mistakes of the past. This is a completely new approach of the Saudi government, displaying greater transparency, continuous evaluation and speedy assessment of decisions and policies to bring about reasonable solutions demanded by changing situations.

Recently when the government decided to reinstitute allowances of civil servants on the advice of the Council of Economic Affairs, it was an important economic rectification procedure, reflecting a new trend of reviewing decisions.

When Prince Muhammad Bin Salman stated earlier that "we want to return to moderate Islam” of the pre-1979 period, it was a strong move for societal and intellectual correction. His anti-corruption drive had the same impact as the campaign was aimed at boosting the Kingdom’s overall development.

In his interview with The Post, the Crown Prince emphasized the need to counter the cancer of corruption. He said when you have a cancer, the cancer of corruption, growing inside, you need to undergo chemotherapy, or the cancer will consume your entire body.

Another important remedial action the Crown Prince initiated in the course of correction is the rapid change, and the application of the so-called “shock therapy.”

This is not an analysis but what the prince said during his interview with The Post, when he stressed that his anti-corruption putsch in November was an example of “shock therapy” the Kingdom needed because of endemic corruption.

I believe that this shock treatment would certainly help the Kingdom compensate delays in all areas by shortening stages or eliminating some of them, and showing quick results clearly and dynamically. During this process reactions can be measured, changes can be introduced and new work methodologies can be adopted.

At the same time, it must be understood that many visions and projects are different and cannot be measured at any stage, and what we live today is something different. The Crown Prince has rightly pointed out this fact in the interview: “What we are trying to do here is something new.”

I would like to conclude this article by reproducing a quotation from the Crown Prince’s interview: “The Kingdom could not meet budget targets without halting this looting.” This is what we all seek in order to take Saudi Arabia to greater heights of progress and prosperity.