BURAIDAH: MUHAMMAD AL-HARBI
Published — Wednesday 25 September 2013
Last update 8 November 2013 4:30 am
An 80-year-old citizen here has revealed how he proposed to the founder of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, King Abdul Aziz, to compensate citizens for land appropriated by the government.
Nasser Al-Omari said he was 18 years old when he sent a telegram to King Abdul Aziz about people from Qassim living near Mesial Al-Butah, whose land had to be appropriated for strategic reasons.
“When King Abdul Aziz asked me to propose a solution to the problem, I suggested that the value of the houses be evaluated and compensation given to the residents by offering them a new piece of land to build their houses on, with a mosque and a well drilled on it to supply water.”
He said King Abdul Aziz agreed and a piece of land to the north of the citadel was chosen called Halet Al-Qusman. “This is the first compensation process of its kind in the history of the Kingdom,” said Al-Omari.
Al-Omari said King Abdul Aziz was always helping people. He remembered when he was asked to collect loans incurred by farmers in Qassim in 1943. “When the King heard about this, he ordered the chief of police to bring me to his palace in Al-Safaa, and asked me to brief him on the details of what I was doing,” he said.
“I was surprised when he called the head of the court at the time, Sheikh Muhammad bin Dagthar, and dictated a telegram stating that the state would waiver the loans of the farmers who could not pay.”
Al-Omari spent his working life in the education and press sectors, and contributed to the cultural movement in the Kingdom. He founded a newspaper in Qassim when King Saud visited Buraidah.
He recalled how the King sent a minister to him to ask for suggestions on how to develop the country. “I suggested establishing an Islamic law commission in Riyadh and Makkah. The next day the same minister came back and said the King approved my proposal.”
He said he still takes pride in two letters he wrote to the late princes Sultan and Naif. “The letter I sent to Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz was a poem. I said in the poem that the cost of electricity was very high and people could not afford to pay. I asked him, as a good prince, to be fair to them and reduce the cost, which he did.”
He said Prince Naif also responded positively to his call to reduce the cost of electricity.