OUTLOOK — By Ahmed Al Falahi — Some time ago — I think there are still some people who save videos — a video on a member in Majlis Ash’shura was spread about his comments on the observations of the Council of Ministers on the state budget for the year 2012. According to some comments, the member has crossed the lines of traditions and customs or the protocol. I was surprised that people related his intervention to the area of customs and traditions of society, as if these customs and traditions are the approved incubator of dialogue ethics with members of the society, and on its basis the conduct of any individual in this society is measured. This assessment reflects a very serious and alarming problem.
We as members of this community must consider, appreciate and respect Majlis Ash’shura members. We must admire his attitude, his views, and we have to encourage and support his steps towards the construction and development, which is not a blind support but the kind of support that safeguards the interests of Oman, above everything else. As long as we as a society gave this member the trust and responsibility to represent us in the Council, it is not wise to negatively evaluate his attitudes. If these attitudes give him the right to express his role in representing the society, especially as the Statute of the country gives him the right of freely expressing his views as provided by Article 58.
There is no doubt that the parliamentary experience of the Sultanate is still very young compared to its age of 22 years, and thus the society seems it needs a similar life period to realise the size of dealing with opinions in full transparency and clarity, not only under the dome of the Council of Oman, but in all the places that require this opinion. What reinforces this view is the results of measuring the opinion of the Arab public opinion project for the year 2011, which was carried out by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, based in Qatar, in 12 Arab countries including one Gulf country and here I put a summary text of the results:
The majority of public opinion — in the Arab region — assess the performance of their parliamentary boards, the functions of the government, and expressing the problems of citizens and public interest negatively as people satisfied with their performance did not exceed 30 per cent as an average in the countries covered by the survey. It also assesses the performance of foreign government policies, and the domestic economy negatively as well as only 34 per cent of the public believes that the foreign policies express the public’s views, and 31 per cent believe that the economic policies of their countries takes into account their views. There is a public opinion of about 83 per cent that the financial and administrative corruption is very widespread in their countries; and 4 per cent only sees it is not common. Indeed, the majority of public believes that the country does not apply the law equally among the citizens.
All of these countries where measurement of opinion was conducted on them precede Oman in the years of the parliamentary experience, and the satisfaction with the performance of their boards still not exceeding 30 per cent. Therefore we as a society need to give the council an opportunity to exercise the parliamentary right and we need to support them. We are all sons and daughters of a homeland that deserves our loyalty, honesty, and sacrifice.