Shoura may discuss women driving issue

Updated 18 March 2013
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Shoura may discuss women driving issue

The Shoura Council has accepted a petition that calls for holding fresh discussions on the issue of women driving in a historic move that may eventually facilitate the mobility of women. The petition, signed by 3,000 Saudi citizens including academics, scholars, writers, as well as young Saudi boys and girls, calls for the ban on women driving to be lifted.
"The human rights and petition panel of the Shoura Council has studied the petition and has decided that the issue of women driving should be opened for debate on the floor of the house," said a press statement sent yesterday to Arab News by Abdulla Alami, one of the chief campaigners, backing the women's right to drive. "Merely opening the issue for debate will give credibility to the council," Alami added.
A member of the Shoura Council , however, said: "Women driving is just one of several issues, which can or can't be taken up for discussions." It depends on the decision and the recommendations of the specialized panel, he added. This topic is still "not listed for discussion as far as I know," said the Shoura member on condition of anonymity. He, however, pointed out that he has been personally gathering information and feedback on this subject.
Referring to the call to end ban on women driving, Alami, who recently published a book titled "When would Saudi women drive?", said the petition submitted to the council calls for holding discussions and lifting the ban on women driving. "I call on the newly appointed women members of the council to join forces and to strongly discuss the subject," said Mohammed Al-Zulfa, a former Shoura member, who was the first man to raise the issue in 2006.
"I support the move to allow our women to drive in the capacity of being a Saudi citizen," said Al-Zulfa, adding that the Saudi women drive their cars in different countries where they go for education, business or tourism.
In neighboring countries like the UAE alone, about 36 percent of the Saudi female residents, drive their cars.
In fact, the driving schools in Dubai have witnessed a dramatic increase in Saudi women candidates seeking training and licenses and about 55 trainees receive licenses every month. Also, the Bahraini General Directorate of Traffic has issued more than 6,000 driving licenses to Saudi women in the past two years.
"A large number of Saudi women also hold international driver's licenses," said a Riyadh-based travel and tourism agency that helps in obtaining international driver's licenses.


Major boost for Al-Jouf as Saudi king set to announce new city

King Salman arrived in Al-Jouf on Tuesday. (SPA)
Updated 21 November 2018
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Major boost for Al-Jouf as Saudi king set to announce new city

  • The king will launch Waad Al-Shamaal, a new city aimed at boosting the country’s mining infrastructure

JEDDAH: Projects worth several billion riyals are to be unveiled by Saudi Arabia’s king this week as he continues his tour of the country’s regions.
King Salman arrived in the province of Al-Jouf on Tuesday night where he will announce the construction of a new city, bolstering the local economy and creating thousands of jobs in Saudi Arabia’s most northern region.
On Thursday, the king will launch Waad Al-Shamaal, a new city aimed at boosting the country’s mining infrastructure, the Saudi Press Agency reported. 
He will lay the foundation stone for the first phase of the SR85 billion ($22 billion) city in Toriaf province — worth SR55 billion —  and is also set to inaugurate the projects and facilities of the second phase — worth SR30 billion.
In the past two months the king has visited a number of major cities, announcing projects and initiatives to develop the Kingdom inline with Vision 2030 — a broad strategic plan to diversify the economy and end dependence on oil revenues.
Before arriving in Al-Jouf, King Salman visited Tabuk, where several projects worth more than SR11 billion were launched.
He also met the team heading Amaala, the ultra-luxurious tourist destination that was unveiled in September and dubbed the “Riviera of the Middle East,” and was briefed on plans for the new attraction.
King Salman praised Amaala’s objectives to contribute to promoting economic diversification, creating investment opportunities for the private sector, and developing the tourism sector in Saudi Arabia while preserving the cultural and environmental heritage.
Meanwhile, the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) announced yet another major project in western Saudi Arabia.
Wadi Al-Disah Development Project, which is expected to become one of the Kingdom’s most environmentally diverse tourist attractions, adds to a number of already launched ventures on western coastal regions.
PIF will establish a company to develop Wadi Al-Disah in accordance with international best practices regarding environmental conservation and sustainable development.
In addition to this week’s tour, the king has so far visited Madinah, Qassim and Hail.