UAE ministers’ no-show annoys FNC members

Four ministers of state failed to appear for the Federal National Council session on Wednesday.

Ahmad Al Shamsi (Ajman) says his question about an amendment to the child custody law for non-Emirati mothers has been raised at least four times over the past few months. The concerned minister has failed to show up. Lee Hoagland / The National
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ABU DHABI // Four ministers of state failed to appear for the Federal National Council session on Wednesday.

Members of the council said they were unhappy with the ministers’ absence, arguing that there would be no time in future sessions to discuss the topics at hand.

Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for FNC Affairs and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, was due to attend to discuss Etisalat’s sponsorship of Barcelona Football Club and a new policy to curb domestic abuse.

Hamad Al Rahoomi (Dubai), who planned to ask why the telecommunication company was sponsoring the Spanish team, said he was unhappy with the ministers’ actions.

“There are people waiting for a reply. Next session, the same issues will occur,” he said.

In a letter to the council, Dr Gargash apologised for not being able to attend.

However, regarding the policy on domestic violence, Dr Gargash said the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Justice were the proper authorities to discuss the policy.

He also approved all recommendations provided to him by the council regarding the sponsorship of Barcelona.

Mohammed Al Murr (Dubai), Speaker of the FNC, said the minister could not attend as he was on an overseas diplomatic mission.

Sultan Al Badi, the Minister of Justice, also did not appear as expected.

Mr Al Badi was to be questioned by Ahmad Al Shamsi (Ajman) about amending an existing law to include child custody for non-Emirati mothers.

“This is the fourth or fifth time that I have requested the minister over a period of months and he does not appear,” Mr Al Shamsi said. “According to the policies, the minister concerned must give an answer within two weeks. He also failed to attend the last session.”

Mr Al Murr said the minister was meant to attend the session on Tuesday, which was postponed to Wednesday.

Sultan Al Shamsi (Ajman) was scheduled to ask Mr Al Badi about bonuses for public notaries.

Hussain Al Hammadi, Minister of Education and chairman of the Federal Authority for Government Human Resources, was due to be questioned by Musabeh Al Ketbi (Sharjah) on the possibility of making the last 10 days of Ramadan a public holiday.

In a written statement, Mr Al Hammadi said he was unable to attend the session because of other meetings.

He stated the authority would study the proposal and would discuss the issue with the authorities concerned.

The Minister of Health, Abdulrahman Al Owais, also did not attend the session as planned. Mr Al Owais was to be questioned by Aisha Al Yammahi (Fujairah) on procedures for cleaning hospitals.

Ms Al Yammahi was provided a detailed report on the procedures by the minister.