Shoura postpones discussion on proposal to curb Haia autonomy


Okaz/Saudi Gazette

RIYADH — After a heated discussion, the Shoura Council on Monday decided to postpone taking up a controversial proposal to merge the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Haia) with the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance.

The Council agreed to discuss the proposal when the Haia’s annual report is discussed after three months.

The proposal was tabled by three members including woman member Latifa Al-Shaalan.

“The promotion of virtue and prevention of vice is an Islamic duty for every Muslim, and the Sharia tenets had never considered practicing to be under an independent organ or an autonomous entity,” the report said, citing the proposal’s supporters which included Atta Al-Thibaiti.

The Council members were quoted as saying the merger would also help ease the state’s budget deficit by “avoiding duplication of efforts and cutting expenditure.”

Speaker Abdullah Al-Ashaikh noted that the proposal was not on the agenda shown on computer screens.

But Shaalan showed him a print copy of the agenda including the proposal which was distributed among members about 10 days ago.

“The next annual report of the Haia is not far way. It may come after three months only,” he said.

Shaalan described the postponement as a victory for them because it meant that their proposal was still on the agenda of the Council, and has not been dumped.

Spokesman of the Council Mohammed Al-Muhana created a social media buzz when he denied the existence of any proposal before the Council to merge the Haia with the Islamic Ministry.

The Council, on the other hand, asked the Haia to train its staff on public relations and to coordinate with other concerned government ministries and departments to send awareness messages.

The Council also sought the merger of the Consumer Protection Society with the Competitive Council since the duties of the two are similar.

It also asked the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) to reduce the price of domestic air tickets and to increase seating capacity on domestic flights.