Saudi Justice Ministry’s e-services speed up powers of attorney

The ministry also announced a new digital mechanism for updating title deeds and obtaining a duplicate title deed, saving 90 percent of the clients’ time. (SPA)
Updated 19 December 2018
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Saudi Justice Ministry’s e-services speed up powers of attorney

  • “E-notarization will save about 8 million sheets of paper annually, making notarization greener and more cost-effective,” the ministry pointed out

JEDDAH: The Saudi Justice Ministry on Tuesday announced that it has issued more than 163,000 low-risk powers of attorney (PoAs) through its online portal “Najiz” in one month since the launch of its e-services.
The e-notarization system was launched on Nov. 18 to provide several services that dispense with paperwork and spare clients the need to visit notarial offices for low-risk PoAs.
The ministry also conducted 193,229 verification operations through its various electronic channels.
Prior to the launch of the e-notarization service, Justice Minister Waleed Al-Samaani said: “The Saudi Ministry of Justice is continuing its efforts to achieve the objectives of the National Transformation Program 2020 and Vision 2030, which focus on enhancing the user-friendliness and cost-effectiveness of government services.”
“The ministry is keen to overhaul and digitize procedures in the legal, enforcement and notarization sectors, a strategic objective that the ministry has given utmost importance,” he added.
The ministry revealed eight new e-services in the notarization sector, including digital PoAs, which put an end to paperwork and most of the clients’ visits to notarial offices. Digital PoAs are sent to the clients’ Absher-registered mobile numbers.
“E-notarization will save about 8 million sheets of paper annually, making notarization greener and more cost-effective,” the ministry pointed out.
One of the new e-services enables clients to inquire about their PoAs and their validity, terminate unwanted ones, and find out about the agencies that have checked the validity of any of their PoAs.
Another e-service enables government agencies to verify PoAs online through the “Yesser” program, the universal access number 920025888, the ministry’s portal (www.moj.gov.sa), and its official app.
The new system abridges about 70 percent of procedures and directs clients straight to the assigned notary’s office without having to go through the data entry hall.
The ministry also announced a new digital mechanism for updating title deeds and obtaining a duplicate title deed, saving 90 percent of the clients’ time. Under the new procedure, clients need only to visit the notarial office once the updated or duplicate title deed is ready.
Recently, the ministry also set a time limit of 21 days on the acceptance of rights claims made under domestic labor laws.
The time limit relates to labor or domestic labor disputes that are subject to periods of friendly settlement before reaching judicial proceedings.
A 21-day time limit was also set for complaints against the General Organization for Social Insurance regarding membership, registration and compensation issues. If a settlement is not reached in that period, the dispute is brought electronically to the labor courts through the Ministry of Labor and Social Development.
A five-day reconciliation period applies in cases of domestic workers after a dispute is settled. If there is no reconciliation during that time, the committee has 10 extra days to issue its decision and submit it electronically to the labor court.
The ministry recently opened seven labor courts in Riyadh, Makkah, Jeddah, Abha, Dammam, Buraidah and Madinah.


Motherly advice from Dr. Thoraya Obaid

Updated 21 March 2019
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Motherly advice from Dr. Thoraya Obaid

  • n an exclusive interview for Mother’s Day in the Arab world, the woman who paved the way for a new generation of Saudi women shares her life lessons
  • ‘Have faith in Allah, and believe in yourself and that you were created to bring good to the world,’ she advises

RIYADH: The first Saudi to head a UN agency, the first Saudi female to graduate from a US university on a government scholarship, one of 30 women to be appointed to the Shoura Council for the first time, one of 100 notable “Muslim Builders of World Civilization and Culture,” and editor of “The Oxford Dictionary of Islam.” These are just a few achievements on the remarkable CV of Dr. Thoraya Ahmed Obaid. 

For years she politely declined media requests for interviews, saying it was time for the next generation to take the spotlight. But after a year of attempts by Arab News, she finally granted the newspaper an interview. 


 

As the Arab world marks Mother’s Day on March 21, Arab News decided it was a good occasion to sit down with Obaid, a mother of two girls, because she has been a role model to so many young Saudi women.

 

She has been an advocate for women’s rights worldwide, most notably as under-secretary-general and executive director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) from 2001 to 2010. 

But what most people do not know is how humble she is. “Please don’t call me Dr. Thoraya, call me auntie,” she said in a soft voice.

Early beginnings 

“I was 7 when I left for Cairo (to study at a boarding school). There were no girls’ schools in Saudi Arabia at the time, in September 1951, and my father had the same principles for his sons and daughter. He followed our Islamic teaching that advocated education for all,” she said.

“I started crying when he took me to the school in Cairo and told the teacher to take me away.”

Years later, she asked her father how he felt at that time. He told her: “I felt that if I let my fatherly emotions take over, I’d have bundled you up and taken you away.” 

But he decided against it, realizing that this moment would make or break her future, and he wanted to empower her through education.  

That moment, Obaid said, helped her cope anywhere in the world. 

She learned to make a new family through bonds with other students and teachers at the boarding school. 

She went on to get a PhD in English literature, with a minor in cultural anthropology, from Wayne State University in Detroit.

“My generation was focused on education,” she said. “You learn that education isn’t only for you, but also for you to serve others.” 

Working life

Obaid has lived and worked most of her life outside her country, in Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and the US. 

During her time with the UN, she travelled the world. After her meetings in various countries, she would insist on going to villages and poor urban areas where the UNFPA supported government projects, so she could meet the people there. 

“These are the real people that must be empowered to change their own lives, not the ones we meet in the ministries,” she said. “Unless you go and see the poor, the sick and the very basic human rights violations, you won’t know what the country is about, especially if you’re stuck in nice hotels.” 

Even though she sought to visit these impoverished areas, heart-wrenching scenes would always get to her. At the UN they called her the “crying executive director,” but she was not ashamed of her tears. 

In one African country, while checking maternal programs in the village, she encountered a sickly woman who was thrown out of her home by her husband. She told her story to Obaid, both of them with tears streaming down their cheeks. 

In South Africa, she visited the cell in which Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 17 years. The guides were all former political prisoners, who said they kept the prison open in order to demonstrate that apartheid should not exist anymore. As she cried silently, she told them: “You know, there’s another apartheid happening again, in Palestine.” 

Life lessons

Obaid’s experiences taught her much about life. When it comes to family, she had this advice: “For young girls in families, don’t ask for everything and at the same time. Be selective, and have a strategic goal that you want to achieve in your life; focus on that.”

She said: “My most important request was going to university, a goal that’s now taken for granted by the young generation. So I tell girls to have a strategic objective in life. If you work toward it and achieve it, it will change your life.”

She advises daughters not to be inflexible with parents regarding their demands. “When you grow up, you’ll realize the issues weren’t worth it,” she said. “It’s even more obvious when you become a parent yourself.” 

Obaid, who worked hard to realize her dreams, added: “We, as human beings, don’t have unlimited energy, so direct your energy to what will make a difference in your life.” 

As for being Saudi, she said there is no place like home, adding: “I’ve lived 58 years out of my country and returned voluntarily. I’ve never really felt home except in my home, Saudi Arabia, with all its frustrations and complications.” 

It never crossed her mind to get another passport or residency permit, she said. “I learned that one’s dignity lies in their homeland. Wherever you go and however long you stay, you’ll always feel like an outsider. Even if you integrate in the community, you’re still an outsider,” she added. 

When asked what advice she would give youths, she said: “Have faith in Allah, and believe in yourself and that you were created to bring good to the world.”