The Ten Points of Reform
Since its establishment, the Saudi State has embarked on an ambitious construction journey. Since then, long years marked with sweat and blood have passed during which the late King Abdulaziz went through a rough path of fierce battles, and was eventually able to establish the entity of this outstanding foundation. Then, he laid the foundations of our renaissance. Despite the fact that the fruits of such processes are not concrete and that our oil resources did not flow until recently, King Saud’s government was able to benefit from this important resource from which we could reap immediate results. With the King’s expert guidance, we could overcome the long distance between the Kingdom’s furthest areas, its harsh desert nature, and the lack of competences.
The government is pleased to announce the result of this hard and continuous effort. It is high time for the citizens and the sons of this nation to savor the fruits of their efforts.
The government will exert every effort to develop and strengthen the entity of this State and offer its people the decent life they deserve, because this population has been, since the dawn of Arab history, the center of true Arabism and the source of enlightenment for the Islamic civilization.
Thus, the government put forward a leading reform program which may be summarized as follows:
Whereas the governance system in any state should be a genuine image of the development of the community, the government has been keen on developing the Saudi society in the scientific, cultural, and social fields so that it reflects an advanced governing system representing the great goals of our honorable Sharia. In fact, several developments of the Saudi governance marked the evolution of our community and scaled it up. The government believes that it is time to issue a new basic law inspired by the Book of Allah, the Prophet’s Sunnah, and the example of the rightly guided Caliphs. This law shall put forward all the essential principles of governance, define the relationship between the governor and the governed, organize the State’s different authorities as well as the relationship between different parties, and stipulate the fundamental rights of citizens, including their freedom of expression within the limits of the Islamic faith and the public order.
The previous government started developing the Shura Council to practice its role as a regulation authority for the country. This study, along with the modifications and additions that will be applied to it, will constitute a part of the basic law which will be promulgated soon and which will be a true reflection of the advancement our nation has achieved and the great model it sets for the Islamic governing system based on the texts and spirit of the Sharia.
With our tolerant, flexible, and developed religion that allows us to face all circumstances based on the changing requirements of the time and place, we will be able to attain our noble goal.
The Government did not stop at elaborating a basic law related to central governance rules, but conducted different studies to elaborate a law for the provinces explaining the local governance for the different regions of the Kingdom. Various studies related to the draft of the province law were conducted thoroughly so that the law will be promulgated soon. Once issued, it will be an effective factor in the administrative, political, and social development of our Kingdom.
The Government is keen on protecting the judicial system because it represents justice, and preserving its independence and noble status is one of Islam’s objectives. Therefore, we have set our eyes on exerting every possible effort to achieve this goal and establish the independence of the judiciary system administered by the Supreme Council of Justice. The Government has also decided to establish the Ministry of Justice to supervise the administrative affairs of the judicial system, in addition to a public prosecution service to protect the citizens’ interests and rights from all harm, in cooperation with the numerous courts of the State.
Whereas the content of the Quran and the Prophetic Tradition is fixed, while our times and situations are ever-changing; whereas the Constitution of our State is based on the texts and spirit of the Quran and the Prophetic Tradition; therefore, we need to turn to the fatwa and promote the enlightening role of our jurists and scholars in solving our nation’s problems by drawing from the Sharia to serve Muslims’ best interests. The Government has, thus, decided to form a committee for issuing fatwa. The committee is comprised of twenty scholars of fiqh who examine matters assigned to them by the Government and offer consultancy to members of the State. The committee shall serve as a means of enlightenment to help overcome the obstacles that hinder progress.
The Government holds the duty of disseminating Islamic knowledge and ingraining the values and foundations of Islam in actions and in words, and it shall strive to fulfill this noble mission.
This Islamic nation is characterized by its promotion of virtue and prevention of vice. Islam is keen on preserving this mission based on the teachings of the Sharia that call for showing the right path of God with wisdom and good advice and spreading love as well as standing up for righteousness and good will. Therefore, the Government has decided to immediately reform the Committee for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice in compliance with the noble objectives that this committee was initially established to serve, in an endeavor to eliminate vice from people’s hearts as much as possible.
The Government is determined to promote the nation on the social level. It has, therefore, taken major steps in this field, such as providing its people with free treatment and medicine nationally and internationally. It has also offered free education for all academic levels, as well as, generous financial awards to help students provide for their living expenses. Furthermore, the Government has offered thousands of scholarships in different educational fields and has sent students to study abroad. It has even granted exemption from custom duties on several food materials and offered substantial subsidies to decrease costs for the consumers. Last but not least, the Government applied the social security system becoming fully in charge of the elderly, the weak, the orphans, and the women who have no legal supporter or guardian. It won’t be long before every person in need will get the opportunity to live a decent life.
With the elaboration of a system that protects workers from unemployment, the Kingdom reached the social level that several developed countries are still aiming for and attained the objectives of social justice, while preserving the freedoms, rights, and resources of its citizens.
Providing self-sufficiency and job opportunities to the people is only the start, as the Government still plans on applying major modifications to the social life in the Kingdom and providing means of entertainment.
The Government believes that the economic, commercial, and social growth that our society has witnessed in recent years still lacks organization. Therefore, major regulations are being promulgated in an endeavor to create a comprehensive organizational structure that helps achieve quick advancement and attract capitals. The Government will also form independent bodies in charge of implementing the set regulations. The Government ensures that every step it takes complies with God’s Sharia and goes in line with the nation’s higher interests.
The Government mainly focuses on enhancing financial stability and economic growth, as well as on preserving the Kingdom’s strong financial position worldwide. In this regard, the Government is taking several steps toward applying concrete reform programs that lead to continuous economic prosperity and a stable high-quality lifestyle to all citizens. Among the projects being developed is a wide street system interconnecting all the cities and areas of the Kingdom. Tens of millions of Saudi Riyals will be invested in checking water sources and providing irrigation and potable water. The government will also construct the necessary dams to store rainwater and provide harvesting structures.
Support will be provided for light and heavy industries to protect them and make them attract capitals. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will soon become, with the help of God, an industrial country with agricultural self-sufficiency and several sources of income which facilitates its mission of serving its people.
In addition to the amounts earmarked for the implementation of the projects from the Government budget, the Government has also decided to dedicate all the installments to be paid by Aramco – which the Government has been claiming for years – for executing developmental projects, such as the establishment of streets, dams, public facilities, and more. This endeavor will promote the Kingdom’s economy and help advance its constructive projects. Currently, the Government is going through the final phases of studying the establishment of an industrial and an agricultural bank. Moreover, the public association for oil and minerals will soon be launched. These three associations will cooperate with other governmental and non-profit institutions to shed the light on the Kingdom’s resources and its mineral wealth.
It is well known that the Islamic Sharia called for setting slaves free. It is also known that slaves of this modern era no longer totally comply with the Islamic legislations that allow enslavement. Saudi Arabia faced, since its inception, the challenge of slaves and slavery. The State strove to gradually put an end to slavery. It banned the importation of slaves and made this act punishable by law. Furthermore, Saudi Arabia has recently prohibited selling and buying slaves. And the Government deems it an appropriate time to completely eliminate enslavement and set all slaves free. The Government will also remunerate those who proved deserving of remuneration.
These are some of the main procedures that the King’s government is planning on implementing. There are certainly other matters that the government is attaching huge attention to, and decisions will be announced in the right time as we ask God to guide us in our quest to serve Him.
Upon the Council’s approval on the content of this statement, it decided to form two committees, with the first charged with elaborating the draft for the Basic Law mentioned in this statement and the second charged with elaborating a draft for an independent judiciary system hereby mentioned as well.