Saudi Press Roundup

Saudi Press Roundup

Coronavirus and the bureaucracy

One of the problems facing the government is the centralization and bureaucracy and they do not differentiate between local and national issues. As a result, many local issues have turned into crises requiring national attention. The question is why don’t we address local issues at local level.
We have failed here because we don’t have a strong local authority to deal with such important issues. Yes, we have municipal and principality councils but they lack adequate powers and do not enjoy financial or administrative independence. The centralized administration, even if it is highly capable, will not be able to address all local issues efficiently. We need local authorities with full powers and responsibilities to deal with various issues including uplift work. They will be directly reporting to the central authority.
I believe that this is the ideal solution for many of the problems facing the society, as it would ensure greater participation of citizens in the development process. It will also encourage citizens to present solutions for problems facing them, such as unemployment, housing, marriage and poverty.
We have to address the issue of MERS not only at health level but also at administrative level because the issue is closely linked with the decision-making process and distribution of responsibilities.
We have to set standards to assess performance and make mechanisms to question officials and hold them accountable for negligence.
We know that the coronavirus spread in different cities of the Kingdom and had each city administration taken appropriate steps, we would have controlled the disease.
— By Dr. Adnan bin Abdullah Alshiha

Crisis management

Health is wealth. The scare created by the increasing number of MERS cases among the Saudis has its justifications. I have learned from the WHO website that the Saudi Health Ministry informed the organization about four confirmed cases on March 28 and April 2, 2014 while at international level there were 211 confirmed cases, including 88 deaths.
It is the duty of the Health Ministry to inform citizens and residents about the deadly virus and how quickly it is spreading in the country, giving accounts of how many died and the reasons for those deaths. It should also inform the public the measures that been taken to combat the disease before it transforms into an epidemic. According to a WHO report, the coronavirus is found among humans for the first time. The Health Ministry should have a complete plan for crisis management. It should also have a strategy, an emergency plan and an operational framework.
We have to identify the problem correctly on the basis of sound information and take steps to contain the issue. Now the question is what is our plan to combat coronavirus? Do we have any project to ensure health security?
— By Zainab Ibrahim Al-Khodairy

Admitting mistake

Acknowledging mistake is a welcome behavior. We as Muslims can see many examples for that from our puritan predecessors. Caliph Omar Bin Khattab has reportedly told Salman Al-Farsi “May Allah bless the person who pinpointed my mistakes.”
We Arabs often repeat this slogan that “Failure leads to success.” We also know that to solve a problem we have to first admit that there is a problem. But these slogans remain in words and not practiced. Most officials in Arab countries are surrounded by sycophants and hypocrites who always praise the officials and do not tell them about their mistakes. They attack those who try sincerely to advise them to correct their mistakes and improve their administration. The problem becomes even more complicated when the official sits in the ivory tower without knowing what is happening on the ground and without hearing the voice of people in the street. They don’t make use of the information provided by the media.
Al-Sahaf was one of the worst information ministers in the Arab world. During the second Gulf war, the western media was reporting the imminent fall of Baghdad while Al-Sahaf was telling the media that things are going smoothly in Iraq.
We have seen several officials like Al-Sahaf in the Arab world who believe that acknowledging mistake would reduce their stature and clout. Sometimes they put the whole blame on a single person and make him a scapegoat to save the ruler and cover his administration’s failure.
— By Lamia Al-Barahim

Poor planning

If we closely watch some of our government organizations, we can find that they lack proper planning. It seems that the Ministry of Economy and Planning, which is the main agency for planning, has been focusing just on economy without doing anything to plan development in different areas. The mayoralties implement a major portion of development projects in the country but they often do them in a haphazard manner. If we look at Jeddah roads, for example, we can see new digging works almost every month.
Proper planning must also be done for the various needs of a city including schools, mosques, recreational facilities and public utilities. We have noticed that some municipal projects have been either halted or canceled with the change or transfer of an official. The floodwater canal in Jeddah is a good example. It was aimed at transforming the canal into a recreational facility within three years. But after five years, the contractor stopped work and the area became a breeding ground for diseases.
— By Dr. Mohammed Salim Al-Ghamdi

Tribal and family bias

All evidences have proved that racism has nothing to do with nature. It was developed over the years of human history. Arab communities show this behavior by expressing pride over the achievements of their tribes and families and considering them as symbols of nobility, generosity and courage.
Islam came to change all these un-Islamic behaviors and attitudes and advised its followers to shun such feelings in order to strengthen bonds among members of the Muslim society. Such racist thoughts were the cause of many battles in the past.
Allah says in Surah Al-Hujrat: “O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.” Being the citizens of Saudi Arabia our attachment should be to our Islamic faith and nation. We all have the same rights and duties.
— By Bakheet Alghabbash

Strangers in the village

People say that the world has become a village and that the modern information media has made people feel as if they live in the same house. The IT revolution has removed barriers that had separated people. Now everybody can see what others are doing. They know the culture and traditions of others. Now my question is whether the media was successful in bring peoples closer. Do you really know about others as a result of the spread of knowledge? There is a saying that people are enemies of what they do not know.
The most strange thing is that although the modern media and IT help us know what is happening all over the world by just pressing a button, we do not know the person who lives next door.
Why do we allow others to think on behalf of us and allow our brains and minds to be filled with their destructive and meaningless ideas?
— By Mirza Al-Khuwailedi
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Arab News' point of view