Saudi youth must learn to respect the rule of law

The public needs to understand that the rule of law means once legislation has been passed everyone has to obey it

Samar Fatany
Samar Fatany
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The Shoura Council recently approved a draft law for better and faster first aid services. The law proposes providing first aid courses and training and public awareness programs to promote the service and encourage the public to participate.

The draft law also includes rules to ensure the quality of the service and strict measures against violators.

Promoting such initiatives can reflect very positively on the prevalent social attitudes and behavior of Saudi youth some of whom tend to be negative or insensitive to the needs and rights of different members of society.

We must teach our youth to respect laws and follow rules and regulations. Not respecting the rules to keep our cities clean or to dispose of medical waste are some of the reasons why we are suffering from many viruses and diseases.

Mosquitoes, cockroaches and rats are everywhere and our children no longer live in a safe environment. Refusing to follow the rules of cleanliness is also harming our economy causing millions of riyals to be allocated to the healthcare sector instead of being spent on education or housing.

The public needs to understand that the rule of law means once legislation has been passed everyone has to obey it.

Samar Fatany

Disrespect for traffic laws has led to many deaths and injuries. Innocent women and children are daily victims of such negligence.

Many drivers deliberately ignore the no parking or no through road signs in an attempt to find a shortcut. These drivers are reckless and in a hurry.

Ignoring speed limits and making the roads more dangerous for everyone. There should be stricter implementation of the rule of law in our society.

The rule of law

The public needs to understand that the rule of law means once legislation has been passed everyone has to obey it.

It is fundamental to justice and without it there can be no progress and no discipline. Chaos and ignorance will prevail.

Laws are not effective when they are not supported by efficient representatives and are weakened by poor implementation strategies.

The government has a responsibility to appoint officials and legislators who are progressive and have the wisdom to enact laws that can serve the people and address their needs.

Decision makers should not be rigid; they should be flexible and able to adapt to the new realities of the 21st century. Some are not in tune with the needs of the public.

They tend to be very bureaucratic in their approach and are too arrogant to learn or admit their failures and mistakes. The public needs to feel that laws are put in place for their own interests and for their protection.

Unfortunately, sometimes our decision makers enforce laws that cause public frustration and resentment. One example is the imposed U-turns in Jeddah that have caused many accidents on the road.

In spite of many public complaints, officials continue to ignore the problems these U-turns cause. There are also labor laws that have irritated the business community and killed entrepreneurial initiatives.

The bureaucratic procedures involved in securing business licenses have caused many local and multinational companies to close down and shift their operations elsewhere.

Restrictions on licenses to establish sports facilities for women or even to hold a public event have killed the civic sense among citizens.

Legislation should be entrusted to progressive, innovative and experienced lawmakers. Legislators should play a central role in the policy making process by holding government officials to account and scrutinizing their decisions.

Enacting laws that serve our country and educating the public to respect the rule of law are basic requirements that can help our country achieve greater prosperity.

There is a need for nationwide campaigns to build law-abiding citizens. Many countries have developed faster than others because their people follow rules and regulations.

The only way we can achieve social order and a safe environment is through preserving the rights of all citizens - men, women and children.

Members of the Shoura Council are called upon to carefully review proposed drafts. They should play a more effective role in promoting innovative government policies, providing advice and supporting the drafting of laws that can serve the community and the development of the nation.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2015.

Samar Fatany is a Chief Broadcaster in the English section at Jeddah Broadcasting Station. Over the past 28 years, she has introduced many news, cultural, and religious programs and has conducted several interviews with official delegations and prominent political personalities visiting the kingdom. Fatany has made significant contributions in the fields of public relations and social awareness in Saudi Arabia and has been involved in activities aiming at fighting extremism and enhancing women’s role in serving society. She has published three books: “Saudi Perceptions & Western Misconceptions,” “Saudi Women towards a new era” and “Saudi Challenges & Reforms.”

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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