Ministry’s appeal: Ignore rumors, maintain peace

Updated 10 March 2013
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Ministry’s appeal: Ignore rumors, maintain peace

Major Gen. Mansour Al-Turki, spokesman of the Ministry of Interior, made an appeal last night to people to maintain peace and harmony in the country and ignore rumors.
Addressing a press conference, Al-Turki said only 2,772 people are behind bars in the Kingdom.
“Some of the people, he said, have been using social networking sites to spread rumors that a large number of Saudis are in prison. The fact is that 2,221 Saudis are currently in prison including those in Buraidah, he explained.
Some people are also spreading rumors about the role of policemen in controlling the protests in Buraidah, he said. “This is not true. Members of a deviant group are trying to spread rumors and mislead the local media about those detained in Qatif and Buraidah.”
He said: “The Ministry of Interior is seriously considering a plan under which the name of any accused person and his criminal profile will be uploaded on to the Internet to be seen by the general public.
A total of 112 people, including 12 women, detained for participating in an illegal gathering in Buraidah have been released on bail, he said.
Officials have also completed procedures for the release of another nine people, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
Al-Turki said the Saudi government will not tolerate any violence or protests in Buraidah or elsewhere in the Kingdom. He said that government agencies including the police will do their duty to ensure peace and security in Qassim. A total of 176 people, including 15 women, were arrested last Friday after they staged a sit-in protest outside the Bureau of Investigation and Prosecution in the city.
Al-Turki said that the security authorities are currently examining charges against other detainees. He pointed out that protesters were detained after they repeatedly flouted orders from security agencies to maintain peace in the city.
He said that demonstrators were trying to create problems and influence public opinion in the name of those who have been accused of crimes in the past.
The protesters, he said, were demanding the release of several members of “deviant groups” convicted by the courts in Qassim region.
He said that the Kingdom has taken several steps to foil terror plots and tackle organized crime and drug trafficking.
Al-Turki took a group of journalists from Riyadh to Buraidah, where he and senior security officials of Qassim region addressed the press.
According to a report published recently, Saudi women will be recruited by intelligence and security agencies. Priority will be given to students on scholarships abroad who are academically competent and have language skills.
The report said that Saudi women will be allowed to work at the General Directorate of Investigation. The decision was announced by Prince Mohammad bin Naif, the interior minister, to a Saudi delegation attending a career event in the Ottawa recently.


Saudi businesswomen eye greater role in the economy with end to driving ban

The end of the driving ban is expected to help bring an economic windfall for Saudi women. (Shutterstock)
Updated 23 June 2018
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Saudi businesswomen eye greater role in the economy with end to driving ban

  • The historic move is a huge step forward for businesswomen in the Saudi Arabia, says businesswoman
  • A recent survey by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce indicated that transportation was a major concern holding Saudi women back from joining the labor market

The end of the driving ban will boost women’s financial power and allow them to play a bigger role in economic and social diversification in line with Vision 2030, prominent businesswomen said on Friday.

Hind Khalid Al-Zahid was the first Saudi woman designated as an executive director — for Dammam Airport Company — and also heads the Businesswomen Center at the Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 

She sees the historic move as a huge step forward for businesswomen in the Kingdom.

“Women being allowed to drive is very important; of course this will help a lot in sustainable development as the lifting of the ban on women driving came as a wonderful opportunity to increase women’s participation in the workforce,” she told Arab News on Friday, ahead of the end of the ban on Sunday.

She added that women in the job market are under-represented; they make up to 22 percent of the national workforce of about six million according to official estimates. Lifting the ban will help to take women’s representation in the workforce to 30 percent by 2030, she said.

“This is not just the right thing to do for women’s emancipation, but also an essential step in economic and social development as part of the reforms,” she said.

She said that there were different obstacles in increasing women’s participation in the workforce and other productive activities, and the driving ban was one of them. It was a strategic issue that needed to be addressed on a priority basis. With the issue resolved, it would help immensely in giving Saudi women better representation as they would help to diversify the Saudi economy and society.

She said that women could contribute hugely to the workforce and labor market as half of Saudi human resources were female, and unless allowed to excel in different sectors it would not be possible to do better, mainly because of restricted mobility.

A recent survey by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce indicated that transportation was a major concern holding Saudi women back from joining the labor market.

Nouf Ibrahim, a businesswoman in Riyadh, said: “It will surely boost female economic participation and help increase women’s representation in the workforce immensely. It will also help to reduce the overall national unemployment rate as most of the unemployed are women and many of them are eligible as university graduates.”

She echoed the opinion that the move would help to bring an economic windfall for Saudi women, making it easier for them to work and do business, and thus play a bigger and better role that would help economic and social diversification in line with Saudi Vision 2030.

“Being able to drive from Sunday onwards after the ban is lifted will be a wonderful experience. Earlier we were dependent on a male family member and house driver to take us to workplace, to the shopping center, school or other required places for some work, now we can drive and that will allow active participation in productive work,” Sulafa Hakami, a Saudi woman working as the digital communication manager with an American MNC in Riyadh, told Arab News.

“Saudi women can now share effectively the bigger and better responsibilities,” she said.