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Al-Atish: “Delaying the handling of this situation is no longer bearable as the problem is escalating. This isn’t just an environmental catastrophe, but a disaster threatening people’s lives because of the chemical emissions resulting from sewage treatment”

 

Chairman of the Permanent Committee for Shari’ah and Legal Affairs (from Oct 2015)

Member of the Permanent Committee for Shari’ah and Legal Affairs (From Nov 2014)

@Ali_ALAteesh

 

As one of a minority of MPs who served in the previous Parliament, Al-Atish has a long-standing record of speaking out on issues of principle, even if this occasionally puts him at odds with some of his parliamentary colleagues.

In October 2015, Al-Atish was selected uncontested as the Chairman of the influential Parliamentary Legal Committee, after former Chairman Majid al-Majid stepped down. According to the media, Al-Atish enjoyed the support of all his colleagues from this Committee for ascending to his new role.

Little was heard from Al-Atish throughout late March and April 2015, although he was reported as being abroad undergoing medical treatment. Despite being a vocal advocate of ministerial accountability, he was once again absent from the 5 May 2015 parliamentary session for the vote on whether to interrogate the Health Minister over issues raised in the Financial Audit Bureau report.

In May 2015, Al-Atish was one of the MPs speaking out against the proposal for cancelling meat subsidies and criticizing the Government’s failure to coordinate with Parliament over the issue.

During the 2 July 2015 parliamentary session when a majority of 18 MPs approved an increase in the debt ceiling to BD 7bn, Al-Atish voted against the measure.

During summer 2015 Al-Atish spoke out on several occasions calling on the Government to freeze implementation of subsidy reform proposals to allow for greater study and consultation.

In May 2015 Al-Atish submitted a proposal for upgrading the sewage system along the Tubli coast. His proposal was sharply critical of the neglect his constituency had suffered and stressed the health impact on local people. Al-Atish has on several occasions raised the issue of old homes in danger of collapse in the constituency. During the 20 October parliamentary session, Al-Atish argued passionately in favour of increased resources and higher staffing levels for Jid Hafs Health Centre. MPs agreed with his proposal for extending the centre’s opening hours.

Between 2011 and 2014 in the previous Parliament, Al-Atish was one of the non-affiliated MPs (the only one to have survived into the current Parliament. He served as the Chairman of the Legal Committee during the 2012-13 parliamentary year; and returned to the same post in July 2015.

ACTIVITY DURING 2015-2016 PARLIAMENT SEASON

Housing, services & infrastructure

Services: During the 27 Oct parliamentary session, MPs approved with amendments the proposal to set up a centre for Government services in the Northern Governorate. Al-Atish commented that members of the public were increasingly complaining of their circumstances, while the Govt pretended that everything was ideal.

Standards of living, health & education

Food standards: Al-Atish on 18 July questioned why new food security initiatives failed to pledge greater support for domestic agriculture. He voiced his concern that the creation of a new food standards authority would have limited accountability to Parliament and stated that the current economic climate was not amenable to expenditure on new departments.

Retirement: Al-Atish on 24 Sep warned that raising the retirement age to over 65 or 70, if it was mandatory, would be opposed by citizens and MPs. He added that MPs had previously agreed with ministers to reduce the retirement age for women.

Health: During their weekly meeting on 20 October MPs discussed and approved a proposal by Al-Atish to extend the opening hours of Jid Hafs health centre. Al-Atish questioned how just 11 doctors could be expected to attend to 55,000 citizens.

Benefit payments: During their weekly meeting on 20 October MPs voted in favour of measures to enshrine counter-inflation payments into law and more clearly define who is entitled to them. Al-Atish stressed that these payments had become an integral part of people’s monthly budgets. Therefore legislation was needed to guarantee continuation of these payments and reassure the public of their continuation.

Audit report: Al-Atish on 5 Nov said that officials found to have been involved in violations cited by the Financial Audit Bureau report must be held to account. He called on Parliament to use all means at its disposal for achieving this.

Good governance & public finance

Subsidies: Al-Atish on 9 July claimed that media statements regarding meat subsidy reforms were “irresponsible”. He said that many such statements contradicted what had been agreed in Budget debates. He called for MPs to be ready to use the parliamentary tools of ministerial interrogation and no-confidence votes during the next season. Al-Atish on 16 July said that a delay in implementing proposed measures for removing food subsidies would allow time for careful consideration of the measures and would reduce any negative impact.

Al-Atish on 5 Oct said that although most MPs opposed the Govt’s measures on meat subsidies, it was unlikely that there would be a ministerial interrogation, given the tough criteria for this in the current parliamentary code. He said that although the Govt wasn’t bound by the recommendations of the parliamentary Subsidies Committee, it was supposed not to take measures without parliamentary support.

Al-Atish on 6 Oct told Al-Bilad newspaper that there was no benefit to be had from an open parliamentary debate on the subsidies issue, which only passed on recommendations to ministers. He noted the difficulty of reaching the parliamentary criteria for agreeing to a ministerial interrogation on the issue.

Public debt: In a 2 Nov statement Al-Atish acknowledged that MPs would be forced to agree to the Govt request to increase borrowing levels, in order that public benefits and living standards not be affected.

Policing & regional security

Security: Al-Atish on 7 Aug called on the Interior Ministry to continue providing enhanced security for mosques, given regional security threats.  

Youth, culture & sport

Sport: Al-Atish on 23 Aug demanded an investigation into deaths which occurred at the Arsenal football ground in Karranah.

Libraries: Al-Atish on 2 Nov questioned the Education Ministry about the number of public libraries and how they were resourced.

Parliament role & constituent engagement

Committees: According to Al-Watan newspaper on 6 Oct, Majid al-Majid is standing for continuing his chairmanship of this Committee in the coming parliamentary term, although reportedly Ali al-Atish is standing against him, with support from Committee members Anas Buhindi, Fatimah al-Asfour, Khalifa al-Ghanim, Mohammed Milad and Isa Turki.

According to Al-Watan newspaper on 8 Oct Ali al-Atish is the most likely candidate for the chairmanship of the Legal Committee, with Majid al-Majid indicated to be stepping down. Isa Turki and Khalifa al-Ghanim, both members of the Legal Committee are also signaled to be members of the as-yet-unannounced Accord Bloc which is said to be backing Al-Atish in return for support in other areas.

On 14 October 2015, Al-Atish was selected uncontested as the Chairman of the influential Parliamentary Legal Committee, after former Chairman Majid al-Majid stepped down. According to the media, Al-Atish enjoyed the support of all his colleagues from this Committee for ascending to his new role.

Private bills: During the 3 Nov parliamentary session, MPs reacted angrily to the Govt’s rejection of a number of private bills put forward by MPs. Al-Atish criticized the Govt’s rejection of so many proposals. He criticized the rejection of the proposal to halt the “un-Islamic” profits made on retirement funds, saying that according to the Constitution Islamic principles were the basis for Bahraini law.

During the 17 Nov MPs once again responded angrily to a new set of responses from the Government rejecting almost all of their proposals which had been submitted as private bills. Al-Atish questioned how the Govt could say that that the proposal for promoting health tourism had been accomplished when the health service was in such a poor state.

Legal Committee: Al-Atish on 4 Nov said that his Committee agreed on the constitutionality of a draft bill for setting up a national authority for regulating health professions and services and a number of other draft bills.

Al-Atish on 15 Nov said that his Committee had met with the Justice Minister to discuss a number of legislative measures concerning the Appeals Court and the judiciary.

Al-Atish on 19 Nov said that his Legal Committee was preparing behaviour guidelines for MPs. He noted that such a document had not existed in the past.

 

Al-Atish on 19 Nov said that his Committee had approved a proposal for a legal advice hotline at the Justice Ministry, among other issues.

 

 

ACTIVITY DURING 2014-2015 PARLIAMENT SEASON

Housing, services & infrastructure

Housing: Al-Atish in the 20 January parliamentary session criticized the Government’s “negligent” handling of the issue of homes that were close to collapsing.

Vandalism: Al-Atish praised recent comments by the Prime Minister on 11 March, while demanding that action be taken in Bahrain’s villages to repair the damage done by “saboteurs”. He said that the village of Jidhafs had been “singled out by some extremists because of its political stances”.

Sewage: On 27 May Al-Atish put forward a proposal for urgently addressing problems concerning the sewage system on the Tubli coast area. His petition stated: “Delaying the handling of this situation is no longer bearable as the problem is escalating. This isn’t just an environmental catastrophe, but a disaster threatening people’s lives because of the chemical emissions resulting from sewage treatment”

Standards of living, health & education

King’s speech response: “We agree with the King on the need to develop education, yet we witness what the Education Ministry is doing to complicate the situation” for students. Al-Atish also called for greater investment in opportunities for young people. (17 February)

Medical: Al-Atish criticized the Ministry of Education’s decision to stop recognizing educational certificates from Chinese medical colleges. He said that the Ministry had failed to provide any evidence for the weaknesses of these institutions.

Food safety: Al-Atish called for greater support for the import of live animals for meat, rather than frozen carcasses which could increase health risks. (7 April)

Meat subsidies: Regarding the Govt’s plan to halt meat subsidies and replace them with cash payments to Bahraini citizens; Al-Atish on 20 May warned that this move would increase the costs of living and noted that the measure would come into effect before Ramadan. Al-Atish had said that the Finance Minister had promised not to take such measures without consulting Parliament.

Education: Al-Atish on 18 April expressed his “outrage” at the presence of teachers without university degrees in government schools. He called on the Education Ministry to transfer them to other roles.

Economy & employment

Bahrainization: Al-Atish has sponsored a proposed measure banning non-Bahrainis from taking public sector roles, except in exceptional circumstances. (31 January)

Good governance & public finance

Action Plan: During the 3 February parliamentary vote on the Action Plan, Al-Atish said: “During the period of discussion of the Plan, the Government submitted statistics, figures and promises to clarify details of the proposals and the mechanisms for implementation… the statistics submitted by the Government to the Committee should be considered to be an integral part of the Plan”.

Planning: Al-Atish in Parliament on 20 January spoke out against the proposal for establishing a governmental institution for planning, saying that its powers would conflict with the powers of other governmental institutions.

Ministerial accountability: Al-Atish was one of five MPs have submitted a proposal in early February for making it quicker and simpler for Parliament to summon ministers over issues of concern. He pointed out that monitoring Government performance was one of Parliament’s most significant roles.

Furthermore, the 2012 Constitutional Amendments give a minimum of five MPs the right to summon a minister for questioning. However, Al-Atish noted that the parliamentary code of practice set out provisions that complicated this process and went against the spirit of the 2012 Amendments.

Corruption: The 17 February parliamentary session saw a standoff between Majid al-Majid, head of the Legal Committee which had worked on measures against officials being investigated on criminal charges; and Ali al-Atish who questioned the manner in which the amendments had been handled and the motivations for introducing these measures.

Budget: Al-Atish on 4 May stressed that the privileges obtained by citizens should not be compromised on in the coming budget. He said that the deficit should be addressed without resorting to further borrowing. Al-Atish welcomed the fact that the Budget was not marked as urgent, so as to give MPs time to study it properly.

Interrogation provisions: Ali al-Atish, Ali al-Aradi, Mohammed al-Ammadi, Ahmed Qaratah and Mohammed Milad on 8 May submitted a bill for simplifying the provisions for interrogating a minister, including removing two stages of the approval process and cancelling the need for a two-thirds majority.

Al-Atish on 10 May stressed the need to change the Parliamentary Code after the failure to agree on interrogating the Health Minister. He called on MPs to approve the proposal to abolish the procedures which complicated the interrogation process.

Rights freedoms & religion

Quran: On 21 March Al-Atish announced his withdrawal from the recently-formed parliamentary committee to investigate improper recitation of the Quran. He stressed his “outrage at the crime which occurred in a Bahraini private school”. He said that he had been surprised to read of his inclusion in the committee while undergoing medical treatment abroad. He said that he was withdrawing from the committee because he didn’t see any point in it, as the incident was a one-off event that the authorities had already dealt with.

 

 

Effectiveness rating

  1. Standards of living, health & education – 7
  2. Housing & services 4
  3. Policing & regional security– 4
  4. Good governance & public finance – 7
  5. Economy & employment – 6
  6. Supporting constituents & youth – 5
  7. Rights & freedoms – 6
  8. Constructive Parliament role – 5
  9. Public visibility – 5
  10.  Progressive/reformist credentials – 6

 

Results of 2014 elections – 6th Capital

Areas covered: Khamis, Musalla, Tashan, Abu Baham, Adhari, North Sehla, South Sehla

Housing blocks: 365, 366, 367, 368, 369, 405, 407, 411, 413, 419, 421, 423, 425, 701, 705, 707, 711, 713

Registered voters: 10,946;    Percentage 1st round voter turnout: 26.2%

First round vote: 

Ali Hassan Ahmed Ali al-Atish (MP, Rabitah) – 1039 (41.8%); Abdullah al-Kooheji – 835 (33.6%); Masoumah Abdulrahim – 438 (17.6%); Ihsan al-Faraj – 63; Abdulnabi Mahdi – 112

Second round vote:

Ali al-Atish (MP, Rabitah) – 1280 (69.3%)

Abdullah al-Kooheji – 567 (30.7%)

 

Profile of election campaign: Ali Hassan Ahmed Ali al-Atish – Rabitah

Al-Atish is a former MP representing the Al-Rabitah Society. Although he was the incumbent, Al-Atish’s election campaign was relatively low-key, in comparison with some of his rivals; so many people were surprised at him coming so far ahead of the competition in the first round.

Al-Atish entered Parliament during the 2011 by-election, following Al-Wefaq’s walkout from Parliament. During his time in the previous Parliament, Al-Atish was chairman of the legislative and legal affairs committee.

Businessman Abdullah al-Kooheji was arguably the most visible contestant in this constituency and clearly invested a lot in his campaign. However, at the last minute during the second round he announced that he was withdrawing in favour of Al-Atish, citing this as being in the higher interests of Bahrain.

 

 

Constituency demographic

Several areas of this district were incorporated from parts of the Northern Governorate, producing an area where opposition support is prevalent. The 26.2% shows that the opposition’s efforts to shore up the boycott were partially successful, but that many people still braved the threats and warnings to come out and vote.

In violence after the Shia Ashura processions in early November 2014, there was an outbreak of vandalism in the area, including the destruction of candidacy billboards.

 

 

Know your deputy: MPs profiles

Adel al-Asoumi – 1st Capital

Chairman of Permanent Committee for Public Utilities and Environment 

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-adel-al-asoumi-1st-capital

Ahmed Qaratah – 2nd Capital

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-ahmed-qaratah-2nd-capital

Adel Bin-Hamid Abdulhussain – 3rd Capital

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-adel-bin-hamid-abdulhussain-3rd-capital

Abdulrahman Bumjaid – 4th Capital

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-abdulrahman-bumjaid-4th-capital

Nasser al-Qaseer – 5th Capital 

Chairman of Parliamentary Human Rights Committee

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-nasser-al-qaseer-5th-capital

Ali al-Atish – 6th Capital

Chairman of the Permanent Committee for Shari’ah and Legal Matters

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-ali-al-atish-6th-capital

Osamah al-Khajah – 7th Capital

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-osamah-al-khajah-7th-capital

Shaikh Majid al-Asfour – 8th Capital 

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-shaikh-majid-al-asfour-8th-capital

Mohammed Jaffar Milad – 9th Capital

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-mohammed-jaffar-milad-9th-capital

Nabil al-Balooshi – 10th Capital

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-nabil-al-balooshi-10th-capital

Ali Bufarsan – 1st Muharraq 

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-ali-bufarsan-1st-muharraq

Ibrahim al-Hammadi – 2nd Muharraq

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-ibrahim-al-hammadi-2nd-muharraq

Jamal Buhassan – 3rd Muharraq

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-jamal-buhassan-3rd-muharraq

Isa al-Kooheji – 4th Muharraq

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-isa-al-kooheji-4th-muharraq

Mohammed al-Jowder – 5th Muharraq

Chairman of the Permanent Committee for Foreign, Defence and National Security Affairs

Deputy-Chairman of Parliamentary Human Rights Committee

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-mohammed-al-jowder-5th-muharraq

Abbas al-Madhi – 6th Muharraq

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-abbas-al-madhi-6th-muharraq

Ali al-Muqla – 7th Muharraq

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-ali-al-muqla-asalah-7th-muharraq

Abdulrahman Bu-Ali – 8th Muharraq

Chairman of the Permanent Committee for Financial and Economic Matters

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-abdulrahman-bu-ali-8th-muharraq

Fatimah al-Asfour – 1st Northern

Deputy Chairwoman of the Committee for Women and Children

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-fatimah-al-asfour-1st-northern-1

Jalal Kadhim al-Mahfoudh – 2nd Northern

Deputy Chairman of the Permanent Committee for Financial and Economic Matters

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-jalal-kadhim-al-mahfoudh-2nd-northern-1

Hamad al-Dossary – 3rd Northern 

Deputy Chairman of Committee for Youth and Sports

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-hamad-al-dossary-3rd-northern

Ghazi Al Rahmah – 4th Northern 

Chairman of Committee for Youth and Sports

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-ghazi-al-rahmah-4th-northern

Ali al-Aradi – 5th Northern

Deputy Chairman of Parliament

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-ali-al-aradi-5th-northern

Rua al-Haiki – 6th Northern

Chairwoman of the Committee for Women and Children

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-rua-al-haiki-6th-northern

Shaikh Majid al-Majid – 7th Northern

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-shaikh-majid-al-majid-7th-northern

Dr. Isa Turki – 8th Northern 

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-dr-isa-turki-8th-northern

Abdulhamid Abdulhussain al-Najjar – 9th Northern

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-abdulhamid-abdulhussain-al-najjar-9th-northern

Mohammed al-Ammadi – 10th Northern

Chairman of Committee for Supporting the Palestinian People

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-mohammed-al-ammadi-minbar-10th-northern

Jamal Dawoud – 11th Northern

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-jamal-dawoud-11th-northern

Jamila al-Sammak – 12th Northern

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-jamila-al-sammak-12th-northern

Khalid al-Shaer – 1st Southern

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-khalid-al-shaer-1st-southern

Mohammed al-Ahmed – 2nd Southern

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-mohammed-al-ahmed-2nd-southern

Abdulhalim Murad – 3rd Southern

Second Deputy Chairman of Parliament

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-abdulhalim-murad-asalah-3rd-southern

Mohammed al-Maarifi – 4th Southern

Deputy Chairman of the Permanent Committee for Services

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-mohammed-al-maarifi-4th-southern

Khalifa al-Ghanim – 5th Southern

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-khalifa-al-ghanim-5th-southern

Anas Buhindi – 6th Southern

Deputy Chairman of the Permanent Committee for Shari’ah and Legal Matters

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-anas-buhindi-6th-southern

Abdullah Bin-Huwail – 7th Southern 

Chairman of the Permanent Committee for Foreign, Defence and National Security Affairs

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-abdullah-bin-huwail-7th-southern

Dhiyab al-Noaimi – 8th Southern 

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-dhiyab-al-noaimi-8th-southern

Mohsin al-Bakri – 9th Southern 

Deputy Chairman of Permanent Committee for Public Utilities and Environment 

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-mohsin-al-bakri-9th-southern

Ahmed al-Mulla – 10th Southern

Chairman of Parliament

http://www.citizensforbahrain.com/index.php/featured-articles/entry/know-your-deputy-ahmed-al-mulla-10th-southern

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