Members mark 41st anniversary of UAE's FNC

FNC members celebrated the council's 41st anniversary yesterday - by preparing to get down to work with another marathon debate of the proposed Companies Law.

FNC members gather at the Raffles Hotel to celebrate the 41st anniversary of the council. Razan Alzayani / The National
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DUBAI // FNC members celebrated the council's 41st anniversary yesterday - by preparing to get down to work with another marathon debate of the proposed Companies Law.

And some members fear the second, unprecedented, two-day session that begins today might not be enough.

At last week's debate they clear only 108 of the law's 383 clauses, including one that would have allowed for foreign majority ownership of more UAE companies, which they rejected.

That leaves 275 articles to get through in an extraordinary session today and tomorrow, which some admit will be a tall order.

Faisal Al Tunaiji (Ras Al Khaimah) was among those at yesterday's anniversary celebration who doubted two more days would be enough.

"It will take four to six more sessions to go through," he said. "This is by far the longest law I have had to work on."

The legislation has more than double the number of articles of the average law, Mr Al Tunaiji pointed out. "Every person has an opinion about this law and most people will be affected by it. People will have to restructure their businesses, and even if they're not affected immediately it will affect them in the future."

FNC member Hamad Al Rahoomi (Dubai) said: "We have no time restrictions in this regard. It depends on the extent of discussion and debate.

"Many discussions are formalities but there are several matters in this law that need more discussion, and therefore more time."

He agreed that the nature of the law was important to everyone, including nationals, expatriates, businessmen and the poor, making the extended sessions more relevant.

Mr Al Tunaiji, an FNC member since 2011, said yesterday's occasion was significant as it was a chance for current members to celebrate with council members of the past.

"These founding fathers and grandfathers helped to shape the country," he said. "It is our duty to safeguard their achievements and build on them to progress the nation."

Mr Al Tunaiji's grandfather, Ahmed Abdullah Al Tunaiji, was also a member of the council when it was formed on February 12 1972, just two months after the foundation of the UAE.

"He was present at the very first meeting in 1972 but sadly couldn't be here as he passed away five years ago. One of the things I regret the most is my grandfather not being around to see me become a council member."

"The old members see us as extension to what they have done," said Mr Al Rahoomi.

He said he supported such meetings as the current members benefited from the experience of the older members, from whom they routinely sought advice.

"We are in touch with some of them so as to seek their opinion on matters brought up during meetings, and we must remember yes we will be old members one day too."

On the occasion of the anniversary Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for FNC Affairs, praised the council for helping to increase knowledge of political participation.

This was felt among all sections of the community, with the FNC also playing an active role in discussing citizens' issues and their needs, Dr Garagash said.

The FNC speaker Mohammed Al Murr further congratulated the council, and said that without its honest contributions the UAE would have not reached its current level of progress.

"We take pride in the fact that the UAE has become a destination for thinkers, politicians, scholars, businessmen and tourists," he said.

"You have all contributed to this great federal institution that has offered a model for many Arab states."