Al-Asfour: “Many people think that the relationship between Parliament and the Government should be a conflict. However, the Constitution stipulates that it is a relationship of cooperation. We should complete the work of the Government, not be in opposition to it”

Al-Asfour: “War has reached our doors. Failing to approve the Budget will harm the security situation. Despite our reservations about many matters in this Budget, we must approve it”


Member of the Permanent Committee for Financial and Economic Affairs

(from Oct 2015)

Member of the Investigative Committee on Unregistered Foreign Workers (March 2015)

Member of the Human Rights Committee

Member of Mumtalakat Investigation Committee (April 2015)

Member of Parliamentary Sub-Committee for Reviewing Subsidy Reform (July 2015)

Member of Committee for Supporting the Palestinian People

Member of the Permanent Committee for Foreign, Defence and National Security Affairs (Nov 2014 – Oct 2015)


Shia Cleric Al-Asfour was the only deputy to win his seat by default in the 2014 elections, after the other candidates pulled out in a local campaign marred by violence.

Al-Asfour’s Sitra constituency is an opposition stronghold although he comes from the staunchly loyalist Asfour family. During his 2014 election campaign, Al-Asfour endured multiple arson attacks against his property from militants trying to deter him from participating.

Al-Asfour has worked hard to prove himself to be a deputy committed to the issues concerning his constituents. The high number of votes he received from across Parliament for his membership of the Finance and Women and Children Committees is testament to his popularity with his colleagues.

He appealed to the Minister of Works to devote more attention to the localities of Nabih Saleh and Sitra for the purpose of winning local hearts and minds. During the 2 July 2015 vote on the State Budget, Al-Asfour spoke passionately about the need to pass the Budget for the sake of the precarious security situation.

After nearly a year serving on the Defence and Foreign Affairs Committee, Al-Asfour announced his intention to step down in October 2015, saying that he felt like “an illiterate in the company of teachers”. During the 14 October vote concerning membership of the Finance Committee for the new parliamentary term, Majid al-Asfour won 31 votes from other MPs.

Through his role on the Subsidies Committee, Al-Asfour has become a consistent voice in updating the media on the views of MPs regarding this issue. 



Housing, services & infrastructure

Utilities: Al-Asfour on 30 July praised the efforts of the Energy Ministry for swift action to remedy power cuts at homes of his constituents. On 2 Aug he called for local constituents to be excused from utility bills, given recurrent power cuts.

Economy & employment

Unregistered workers: During a 15 Nov meeting with officials to discuss the issue of unregistered foreign workers, Al-Asfour stressed the need for urgency in implementing new legislation to address the issue. He stressed the issue of unregistered market sellers.

Good governance & public finance

Subsidies: Al-Asfour on 24 Aug told the media that there had been discussions about wage rises following subsidy reform, with the aim of offsetting potential negative impact for citizens. However, the proposal had been rejected because of the potential for price inflation.

AlAsfour on 9 Sep said that the Sub-Committee would be submitting its conclusions to the Joint Subsidies Committee the following day. He said that the meeting would discuss subsidies in general, but with a particular focus on meat subsidies, given the tight timescale.

Al-Asfour on 10 Sep anticipated that the Sub-Committee would submit its final report the following week. He noted the large number of proposals and alternative approaches still being discussed.

Subsidies Sub-Committee member Al-Asfour on 29 Sep said that the Govt was not obliged to adopt the MPs’ Committee recommendations. He noted that the Committee was continuing its study of subsidy reforms at a time when the Govt was determined to the financial compensation option.

Al-Asfour on 6 Oct told Al-Bilad newspaper that there was no benefit to be had from an open parliamentary debate on the subsidies issue. He said that all that would happen was that “deputies will just issue condemnations in the most foul language for the sake of video clips to demonstrate their position on the social media.” He added: “May God attest that we have defended the rights of citizens as strongly as possible in the current conditions. If further information and a favourable climate are forthcoming then we will move to implement the available constitutional tools”.

Al-Asfour on 12 Oct said that if the smart card proposal was rejected, MPs would demand that compensation payments per person be increased to BD 10.

On 6 Oct Al-Asfour said that the Govt had signaled its clear intention to remove electricity subsidies for foreigners at the beginning of the coming year, but that Bahraini homes wouldn’t be affected.

Following the Government directive to set up a committee to discuss prospects for a subsidies smart card, on 8 Oct Al-Asfour said that this was the correct move and was in line with the proposals put forward by MPs. Al-Asfour noted that he had been advocating for serious consideration of the smart card option for some time.

Al-Asfour told the media on 26 Oct that the Govt’s decisions on subsidies weren’t final. He said that the Govt hadn’t formally responded with regard to the smart card proposal, which Al-Asfour said that MPs and the public supported.

During the 27 Oct open parliamentary debate on subsidy reform, Al-Asfour acknowledged the Govt’s right to take executive decisions on subsidy reform, but said that the objections of MPs had to be listened to. He noted the wide range of people harmed by these reforms, particularly butchers.

In the Bahrain TV show on the views of MPs following the 27 Oct parliamentary session, MPs Al-Asfour and Buhassan were extensively interviewed on their views on the subsidies issue. Al-Asfour noted the difficult economic circumstances but said that the public should not be adversely affected by measures taken and the Govt shouldn’t act unilaterally. Buhassan’s responses  were along similar lines, acknowledging support for subsidy reform, but disagreeing with the manner in which it had been implemented.

Al-Asfour on 2 Nov met butchers from Sitra who complained that the National Livestock Company was bypassing them and selling meat directly to consumers. The stressed the harm that had been done to their trade as a result of subsidy reforms.

Audit report: Al-Asfour on 7 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 MPs not to opposed any usage of their powers in order to take measures for addressing violations.

Policing & regional security

Terrorism: Al-Asfour on 29 July condemned the recent “terrorist incidents” resulting in the killing of two policemen in Sitra. He stressed that the people of Sitra did not accept those who worked in secret to these ends.

Iran: Al-Asfour on 23 July condemned statements by the Iranian leadership concerning Bahrain, which he described as interference in Bahrain’s internal affairs. Al-Asfour called for Iranians to be given their own freedoms before talking about freedoms elsewhere.

Rights & freedoms

Human Rights Committee: Reports over recent weeks have indicated that up to 15 MPs were competing for the five seats in the parliamentary Human Rights Committee. After failing to reach agreement, the matter came to a vote during the 10 November parliamentary session. New members, Majid al-Asfour, Abdulrahman Bumjaid and Nasir al-Qaseer were voted in, with 25, 22 and 20 votes respectively.

Majid al-Asfour, Mohammed al-Jowder and Mohammed al-Maarifi on 16 Nov are reportedly contending for chairmanship of the Human Rights Committee.

Parliament role & constituent engagement

Parliament Dec 2014-July 2015: Al-Asfour during a round-table Al-Wasat interview on 11 July alongside other MPs commented: “The debate and approval of the Government Action Plan and the 2015-16 State Budget were the most significant achievements for deputies in this parliamentary term. The nature of the first term doesn’t allow for achievements in other areas, as we were very busy with these two files. The agreements and modifications of the Action Plan and Budget were no small achievement.

“If anyone were to compare the last annual term of the previous Parliament and the first year of the current Parliament, they wouldn’t find a major difference in performance, despite the inexperience of 30 new deputies in the current Parliament. There has been a strong usage of parliamentary questions, there have been four committees of inquiry formed and many MPs have continuous meetings with the public.”

“Many people think that the relationship between Parliament and the Government should be a conflict. However, the Constitution stipulates that it is a relationship of cooperation. We should complete the work of the Government, not be in opposition to it.”

“The National Dialogue must take place within the Parliament. Therefore, this must get underway and an appropriate formula for taking this forward should be found.”

Committees: According to Al-Watan newspaper on 6 Oct, Al-Asfour intends to resign from the Defence Committee and join the Finance Committee.

Affiliation: According to several media sources on 13 October, around 13 MPs are moving to form a parliamentary bloc. These are Jalal al-Mahfoudh, Ghazi Al Rahmah, Nasir al-Qaseer, Abbas al-Madhi, Khalid al-Shaer, Adel Bin-Hamid, Majid al-Majid, Majid al-Asfour, Isa al-Kooheji, Jamila al-Sammak, Fatima al-Asfour and Ali al-Aradi, with Hamad al-Dossary indicated as being the head of the bloc, with “unanimous” agreement.

On 14 November 2015 Hamad al-Dossary announced that he had been selected as the leader of a new bloc, with Adel Bin-Hamid as his deputy. This bloc straddles the sectarian divide, because as well as including many Shia MPs (Jalal al-Mahfoudh, Ghazi Al Rahmah, Nasir al-Qaseer, Shaikh Majid al-Asfour, Shaikh Majid al-Majid, Jamila al-Sammak and Adel Bin-Hamid); the bloc also includes several Sunni MPs, Hamad al-Dossary, Jamal Buhassan and Khalid al-Shaer.

Private bills: 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-Asfour said that the rejection of the proposal to provide health support to Bahrainis abroad conflicted the principle of equality.




Housing, services & infrastructure

Public infrastructure: Al-Asfour during the 17 February parliamentary session called on the Minister of Works to accelerate projects planned for Nabih Saleh, saying “Let’s win over the hearts and minds of the people of Nabih Saleh by accelerating the work on infrastructure for the area adjacent to the new housing project”.

On 2 March Al-Asfour questioned the Minister of Energy about its approach for repairing non-functioning street lamps.

Standards of living, health & education

Teachers: During the 24 March parliamentary session concerning recruiting Bahraini teachers stated his hope that the Ministry of Education and Bahrain University would cooperate in working with Parliament to help employ Bahraini teachers. “You are the father of the nation and everything is above your head;” he told the head of Parliament Ahmed al-Mulla.

Meat subsidies: During the 26 May parliamentary discussion, a majority of MPs spoke out against the Govt’s plan for halting meat subsidies. Al-Asfour said: “The halting of subsidies is a dangerous indicator of the lack of forward planning.” He said that both the halting of meat subsidies and the growing financial deficit were both symptoms of this problem.

Economy & employment

Bahraini workers: During the 24 February parliamentary debate concerning the Shura Council’s rejection of proposals to prefer Bahraini workers for jobs, Al-Asfour said that the Shura Council’s decision had “created a negative impression towards the legislative sector” and that Bahrainis should always be given preferential treatment for work.

Private sector: Al-Asfour tabled a question on 7 April to the Labour Minister about initiatives to increase the proportion of Bahraini workers in the private sector. During the 19 May parliamentary session, the Labour Minister responded to questions by Al-Asfour regarding the proportion of Bahrainis working in the private sector. He thanked the Minister for taking action to enforce regulations for recruitment of Bahrainis on private sector companies.

During the 19 May parliamentary session Al-Asfour cited the cases of various private sector companies which got rid of their Bahraini workers after two years. He also mentioned examples of Bahraini graduates earning less than 250 BD per month.

Fire: Al-Asfour on 1 May expressed his regret at the fire at a Sitra paper factory, calling for a “rapid and transparent investigations” to discover the circumstances.

Fishing: During the 19 May parliamentary debate on the fishing industry, Al-Asfour praised the direct engagement between fishermen and MPs. However, he complained that it had proved impossible to contact officials regarding the issues raised.

Good governance & public finance

Planning: Al-Asfour criticized the Legal Affairs Committee’s decision to reject the proposal for establishing a governmental institution for planning, saying that all around Bahrain evidence could be seen of the lack of strategic planning. (20 January)

A majority of parliamentarians on 21 April voted in favour of the Legal Committee’s recommendation to reject the proposal for a new Planning Authority. Al-Asfour said he didn’t agree with the Committee’s recommendation and criticized the Committee’s failure to solicit opinions from relevant entities.

Public debt: During the 24 March parliamentary session to discuss a possible rise in the debt ceiling, Al-Asfour supported sending the proposal back to the Finance Committee, because there hadn’t been sufficient consultation over the issue, particularly as the opinions of the two parties that had been consulted – the Government and the National Bank – had opposed one another. Al-Asfour was one of only six MPs who abstained and did not support the measure to reject an increase in the debt ceiling.

According to Al-Watan on 14 May Al-Asfour was one of the 20 MPs who said that they would give conditional support to raising the debt ceiling to 7bn BD.

Budget: Al-Asfour has spoken out on the need to reduce State Budget dependence on oil. He said: “Planning for diversification of sources of revenue is a matter of life and death”. (March)

Follow-up: Al-Asfour said that many MPs supported the creation of a “follow-up committee” to monitor the implementation of Government projects. Al-Asfour said that many good initiatives had failed in the past due to lack of parliamentary follow-up. (9 March)

Audit report: During the 14 April parliamentary debate concerning the annual Financial Audit Bureau report, Al-Asfour stressed the need for a specialized committee to follow up with the various departments to prevent recurrence of these violations.

Minister interrogation: During the 5 May parliamentary session an insufficient number of MPs voted in support of interrogating the Health Minister over issues raised in the Audit report (23 supported, below the 2/3 quota of 27 MPs).Al-Asfour voted in favour of the interrogation.

Rights, freedoms & religion

Quran: During the 17 March parliamentary debate about the proposal for setting up an inquiry committee over the reading of Quranic verses during a talent contest Al-Asfour said: “We appreciate the religious zeal of those who put forward this proposal… However, the pupil was clearly trying to express a religious impulse and inserting the Quranic text into poetry is a widespread practice, the only problem is the use of music”.

Sexual abuse: During the parliamentary debate on 7 April concerning a new Domestic Violence Protection Law, Al-Asfour represented the outspoken voice of opposition to the domestic sexual abuse clause, arguing that: “Sex is an intimate issue between husband and wife, we can’t get into it. No-one has the right to question it, as sometimes it involves rough sex.” He added: “We can understand abuse that comes from beating as it can be easily determined through bruises, cuts or other injuries to the husband or wife… But we can’t measure the sexual relationship and if it constitutes abuse or harm.”

Human rights: Al-Asfour on 4 May tabled a question for the Foreign Affairs Ministry about measures taken following the issuing of foreign human rights reports.

Policing & regional security

Terrorism: Al-Asfour on 9 May condemned the attempt to smuggle explosives into Saudi Arabia across the Causeway. He said: “It is unacceptable that the Kingdom’s security be compromised, especially in the context of the spread of terrorist groups in many Arab states.”

Youth, culture & sport

Sport: During a 7 April open parliamentary debate about sport in Bahrain Al-Asfour said that MPs should not just consider sport but all aspects pertaining to opportunities for youth.

Parliament role & constituent engagement

Constituency: On 31 March Al-Asfour spoke to Al-Wasat newspaper about interaction with his constituents in the context of local calls for boycotting Parliament. He acknowledged that sometimes levels of interaction from local people was “less than would have been desired”.

He said that he respected the views of people who advocated the boycott, but noted that there were pressing issues which needed addressing. He expressed his hope for an increase in levels of political awareness, noting a lack of understanding of the significance of the role of Parliament.

Al-Asfour said he was pleased at levels of social media interaction with constituents, although he noted that sometimes there wasn’t the “time to absorb the huge number of requests from people” on a diverse range of issues.

Private members’ bills: During the 7 April parliamentary session MPs voted to commit the Government to a time limit for implementing proposals submitted by MPs and agreed on by Parliament. Majid al-Asfour questioned the purpose of the Government agreeing to a private bill, but never implementing it.

Urgent bills: During the 28 April parliamentary debate on the Finance Committee’s recommendation to reject 4 government bills marked urgent, Al-Asfour said that the “urgent” marking had caused “consternation” among MPs and that such bills should be presented so as to allow Parliament to have more time. However, Al-Asfour said that he recognized that the Dispute Resolution bill was important and urged MPs not to reject it.



Effectiveness rating

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


Results of 2014 elections – 8th Capital

Areas covered: Nabih Saleh, Sitra, Industrial Area, Marqoban, Mahaza

Housing blocks: 380, 381, 382, 601, 602, 603, 604, 605, 606

Registered voters: 9,372


Profile of election campaign: Dr. Majid Muhsin Mohammed al-Asfour

When the dust settled after the October registration process, there were three candidates standing for the Sitra constituency; Shia cleric Majid al-Asfour, Amin Mansour and Jaffar Abdullah.

Shia cleric Majid al-Asfour was the favourite candidate throughout and gained the most media attention. This was also a campaign marred by boycott threats and attacks by local militants on anything related to the elections. Al-Asfour had his property attacked and his car set alight.

These factors possibly contributed to the decision made by the other two candidates on 9 November to withdraw in favour of Majid al-Asfour. Reportedly, at least one of the candidates phoned Al-Asfour and told him of the decision to withdraw and that he was the preferred and more experienced candidate.

After the announcement by the Justice Ministry of his win, Al-Asfour told the media: “I will do everything I can to find jobs for the unemployed in the constituency. Considering that our area is surrounded by factories, I will do whatever I can to ensure that these factories contribute to employing the unemployed young people in this constituency”.

Al-Asfour during his campaign told the press: “Everything grinds to a halt if there is no security. Therefore the necessary steps must be taken because we all need security, which is necessary for exercising freedoms”. Al-Asfour said he will prioritize raising standards of living, public services and housing.

On 20 October, Al-Asfour’s property was attacked and two of his cars were set on fire. Al-Asfour said that rather than just detaining those who had perpetrated the attacks, police should target those who had instigated these attacks and exploited the youths involved. Al-Asfour came fifth place in the 2006 elections, with 134 votes.


Know your deputy: MPs profiles

Adel al-Asoumi – 1st Capital

Chairman of Permanent Committee for Public Utilities and Environment

Ahmed Qaratah – 2nd Capital

Adel Bin-Hamid Abdulhussain – 3rd Capital

Abdulrahman Bumjaid – 4th Capital

Nasser al-Qaseer – 5th Capital 

Chairman of Parliamentary Human Rights Committee

Ali al-Atish – 6th Capital

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

Osamah al-Khajah – 7th Capital

Shaikh Majid al-Asfour – 8th Capital

Mohammed Jaffar Milad – 9th Capital

Nabil al-Balooshi – 10th Capital

Ali Bufarsan – 1st Muharraq

Ibrahim al-Hammadi – 2nd Muharraq

Jamal Buhassan – 3rd Muharraq

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

Abbas al-Madhi – 6th Muharraq

Ali al-Muqla – 7th Muharraq

Abdulrahman Bu-Ali – 8th Muharraq

Chairman of the Permanent Committee for Financial and Economic Matters

Fatimah al-Asfour – 1st Northern

Deputy Chairwoman of the Committee for Women and Children

Jalal Kadhim al-Mahfoudh – 2nd Northern

Deputy Chairman of the Permanent Committee for Financial and Economic Matters

Hamad al-Dossary – 3rd Northern 

Deputy Chairman of Committee for Youth and Sports

Ghazi Al Rahmah – 4th Northern 

Chairman of Committee for Youth and Sports

Ali al-Aradi – 5th Northern

Deputy Chairman of Parliament

Rua al-Haiki – 6th Northern

Chairwoman of the Committee for Women and Children

Shaikh Majid al-Majid – 7th Northern

Dr. Isa Turki – 8th Northern

Abdulhamid Abdulhussain al-Najjar – 9th Northern

Mohammed al-Ammadi – 10th Northern

Chairman of Committee for Supporting the Palestinian People

Jamal Dawoud – 11th Northern

Jamila al-Sammak – 12th Northern

Khalid al-Shaer – 1st Southern

Mohammed al-Ahmed – 2nd Southern

Abdulhalim Murad – 3rd Southern

Second Deputy Chairman of Parliament

Mohammed al-Maarifi – 4th Southern

Deputy Chairman of the Permanent Committee for Services

Khalifa al-Ghanim – 5th Southern

Anas Buhindi – 6th Southern

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

Abdullah Bin-Huwail – 7th Southern 

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

Dhiyab al-Noaimi – 8th Southern

Mohsin al-Bakri – 9th Southern 

Deputy Chairman of Permanent Committee for Public Utilities and Environment

Ahmed al-Mulla – 10th Southern

Chairman of Parliament

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