There’s an app for contact with FNC

Dubai member hopes her new application to keep in close contact with the public would also assist her fellow councillors.

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ABU DHABI // An FNC member is hoping a new application will allow the public to have closer interaction with the council when the new session begins.

Azza bin Suleiman, of Dubai, has overseen the development of an app that allows the public to send messages and post videos and photos on what they would like the FNC – which held its last meeting of the session on Tuesday – to discuss.

Ms bin Suleiman came up with the idea after a Twitter poll about her followers’ preferred method of contacting her. That tweet alone was viewed 82,893 times and most said either directly or through social media channels.

“There were suggestions from the public to start an application, because the new generation wants something easy they can use,” Ms Suleiman said.

“It is almost ready and a number of qualified local youngsters worked on it. Now I can communicate the public’s inquiries and questions.”

The app has been provisionally named Weyakum, meaning “with you” in Arabic.

“I started it for myself but if any of the council members would like to be part of it, they are welcome,” Ms bin Suleiman said.

Looking back at the session that has now finished, she said her highlight was her first question to the Government.

Ms Suleiman asked Dr Abdullah Al Nuaimi, Minister of Infrastructure Development and chief executive of the Zayed Housing Programme, about special allowances for retired Emiratis who are over the age of 60, but with pensions of less than Dh15,000 a month.

“The minister sent me a written response but it was not enough for me and I requested his attendance,” she said. “It was my duty to continue with him until the end. Housing is very important and it was the subject of my electoral campaign in 2011, so I will continue to follow it up.”

One of the most significant laws passed by the FNC in the past session related to possessing wild animals.

The draft law placed an outright ban on private ownershipand imposed stringent penalties and fines against offenders.

“I saw some people question why the council ‘wasted time’ discussing this law, but it’s quite the opposite because this law protects people’s lives,” said Ms bin Suleiman.

Dr Nidhal Al Tunaiji, a member for Ras Al Khaimah, said discussions about the Telecoms Regulatory Authority were of vital importance to the country.

The FNC made 34 recommendations for the TRA, including improving the quality of services in rural areas and the time it took the TRA to respond to complaints.

“One of the most important points that were raised was that there should be prompt response to complaints,” Dr Al Tunaiji said. “After the session I heard there were calls and follow-ups made regarding these complaints.

“The bulk of it was about service packages and upgrading the services.”

Dr Al Tunaiji was also vocal in expressing her concerns over the standards of health care in the Northern Emirates.

She called for Abdul Rahman Al Owais, Minister of Health, to visit all the hospitals in the region to see their shortcomings for himself.

“Health is a vibrant issue that requires development and constant follow-up,” she said.

During the past session of the FNC, 26 questions were answered in person by ministers and seven questions were answered in writing.

Seventeen federal laws were approved and 34 recommendations made to the Government.