Cairo: A draft amendment, recently approved by the Saudi Shura Council, does not include changes to contents of the kingdom's flag, emblem and flag, with the aim being to lay down binding rules, author of the motion has disclosed.
Earlier this week, the advisory council unanimously approved the draft amendment.
Shura member Saad Al Otaibi, who tabled the draft, said the amendment aims to protect the flag and the national anthem from “harming, tampering and changes”.
Proposed regulations include defining places and times of the flag hoisting, he told Saudi-owned television Al Arabiya.
“They also define specifications of the state emblem and the national anthem and when it should be played,” he added.
“The private sector has the right to hoist the national flag after getting a permit specifying regulations, the shape and size of the flag so that all flags used by the private sector should comply with certain regulations,” Al Otaibi said.
He noted that the kingdom’s basic law of governance, instituted 50 years ago, did not include specific rules for the national anthem. “Now regulations are set,” Al Otaibi said without elaborating.
The idea of amending the flag system, which was issued nearly 50 years ago, is to keep pace with the great movement witnessed by the kingdom in recent years in reviewing and developing many systems and legislative texts supporting the goals of the Saudi Vision 2030, Saudi news portal Sabq earlier reported.
Saudi Arabia’s flag is inscribed with the Islamic proclamation of monotheism: There is no god but Allah and Mohammed is the Messenger of Allah. The green flag is also emblazoned with a sword.
Public prosecution in Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, has warned that insulting the national flag or any other Saudi emblem is punishable by maximum imprisonment of one year or fines of up to SR3,000 or both penalties.
Last week, Saudi police said they had arrested four expatriates suspected of insulting the national flag.
The four Bangladeshis were arrested by police in the Saudi port city of Jeddah, spokesman for the local police said.
The arrests were made after an online video showed a person collecting the Saudi flag from garbage where the offenders had apparently dumped with throwaways inside it.
The unidentified person in the footage is seen then removing the items, cleaning and folding the flag.