Saudi king's speech underwhelms Indonesian lawmakers

Saudi king's speech underwhelms Indonesian lawmakers
King Salman of Saudi Arabia walks beside Indonesian President Joko Widodo after praying at the Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta, Indonesia March 2, 2017.
PHOTO: Reuters

The Saudi king's speech was too short and contained little substance.

Or at least that is the verdict of some Indonesian lawmakers who listened to a two-minute speech delivered by King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud at the House of Representatives on Thursday.

Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdul Aziz (2nd L) waves next to parliament speaker Setyo Novanto (front R) at the parliament in Jakarta on March 2, 2017. 
Saudi Arabia's King Salman called on March 2 for a united fight against terrorism in a speech to Indonesia's parliament during a landmark state visit to the world's most populous Muslim-majority country.Photo: AFP

"His speech failed to provide answers to problems plaguing relations between the two countries such as the haj quota and the welfare of Indonesian migrant workers in Saudi Arabia," Golkar Party lawmaker Firman Soebagyo told The Jakarta Post.

Firman said that King Salman's speech, delivered in Arabic, was not a sufficient response to House Speaker Setya Novanto's speech.

Setya mentioned a number of issues in his speech, including a request for a bigger quota for Indonesian haj pilgrims and clemency for Indonesian migrant workers facing criminal charges in Saudi Arabia.

The king's speech focused on the importance of the two countries standing united against global challenges, particularly terrorism, and working together to achieve world peace.

Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdul Aziz (centre L) and Indonesia's President Joko Widodo (centre R) attend a meeting with Islamic figures at the presidential palace in Jakarta on March 2, 2017.
Saudi Arabia's King Salman called on March 2 for a united fight against terrorism in a speech to Indonesia's parliament during a landmark state visit to the world's most populous Muslim-majority country.Photo: AFP

"We understand that maybe the king needs to consider a few things before responding to our demands," Firman said.

PDI-P lawmaker Rieke Diah Pitaloka said that the king and Indonesian government should not be focusing only on the haj quota and investment, but also the rights of Indonesian migrant workers.

"We believe that Saudi Arabia, which implements Islamic Law, knows how treat people well and fairly. We want Saudi Arabia to stop all unfair trial practices affecting our migrant workers," Rieke said.

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