DUBAI // The Government relies on the FNC to act as a channel between it and the people, the Vice President says.
On Wednesday at an iftar banquet for the FNC at Zabeel Palace, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, also Ruler of Dubai, called on FNC members to listen to public concerns so they could pass them on to the nation’s leadership.
“It’s true that our doors are always wide open to citizens to express their views and requirements,” Sheikh Mohammed said.
“But we really depend on you, as FNC members and representatives of the people and part of the people, to communicate to us opinions of citizens and probe their concerns on your field visits to various parts of the country.
“Let me tell you that we all – leadership, Government and FNC – work as one team for serving and developing our beloved state at all levels and domains, to bring about happiness for our citizens across this glorious country.”
FNC member Ali Al Nuaimi later said the speech was a motivation for the council to work harder, while colleague Ali Jassim said there was a need to improve communication with the public.
“He asked us to interact more with citizens and to know their needs, and this is what we are doing,” Mr Al Nuaimi said.
“FNC members are always interacting with the public, whether on an official level through organised meetings and seminars, or when members of the public contact us personally.
“We also follow our local media closely to find out what issues the citizens are facing.
“This is reflected in the issues we bring up at the council and the questions we present to the ministers at the sessions.”
Mr Al Nuaimi said the council was always ready to listen to concerns.
“The members can be reached and we listen to any concern and work with ministries to solve problems,” he said.
Mr Jassim, who has been a member of the FNC for 20 years, said the disconnect with the public was not a new problem.
“This is the missing link we should work to establish,” he said. “There is no real communication between the members and citizens. They do not have a real sense of citizens’ needs. They are far from their reality.”
Mr Jassim was particularly roused by Sheikh Mohammed’s words. He said the speech reaffirmed to him the role all FNC members should play but that many do not.
“Many members are not aware of the role of the FNC,” he said. “There is not a parliamentary culture among the members, they do not have a clear direction.
“Many are there for the wrong reasons: they are there for the prestige but what they need to understand is that they are foremost there to serve their nation.”
Mr Jassim said the FNC needed to work with a plan of action firmly in place.
“Members should do field visits not to only listen to the complaints and concerns of the people, but also to explore the achievements of the Government,” he said.
“The council needs to put a plan in place to be able to interact better with the Government and the people.”
The need for members to reach out to the community has been shown by the lack of knowledge among young people about the FNC’s functions.
Khawla Darwish, 27, an Emirati artist, said she was not aware of what the FNC did.
"I do not know much about it. I know that a while back there were elections but that's it," Ms Darwish said. "I am an artist. I only read about things that interest me. I am not interested in politics."