A Saudi prince wants to drive in reforms with women

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It is a solution that can bring sweeping changes in conservative Saudi Arabia and it has roayl seal of approval. Saudi billionaire Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal has proposed to allow women to drive in Saudi Arabia. With this he wants to to achieve twin objectives, one to give freedom of movement to the women and deport illegal migrant drivers.

"Deporting illegal foreign workers was the right decision and allowing women to drive will result in saving at least 500,000 jobs held by foreign drivers and subsequent economic and social benefits for the nation," Al Waleed posted on his Twitter account.

His tweet has raised a storm as he has 315,479 followers.

The desert kingdom has recently launched a massive campaign to deport foreign workers who overstayed their visit visas or residence and work permits.

Women drivers in Saudi Arabia

The campaign was, however, after King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud called for a three-month grace period for the foreigners staying illegally in the country to legalise their status and avoid being deported.

It was intended to encourage unemployed Saudi nationals to take up jobs in the country where more than eight million expatriates live.

The debate over allowing women to drive has been heating up in Saudi Arabia. The business tycoon who insists on the significance of reforms last week tweeted that the era of the "ostrich" was over and the era of "openness" has begun.

There is no law that bans women from driving in Saudi Arabia and the issue is related mainly to social traditions.

King Abdullah has been talking about reforms and women's rights. He has sought "balanced modernisation compatible with Islamic values was a significant necessity."

Who is Al Waleed?

The Saudi prince has a fleet of private jets, two super yachts and over 200 cars including Lamborghinis, Ferraris, apart from regular collection of palaces.

Al Waleed is also the second biggest shareholder in Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. He was recently in news because he was disgusted that he was 26th in the Forbes list of wealthiest people. He said the Forbes estimate of his wealth was undervalued.

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