Head of the Permanent Committee for Services
Member of Government Action Plan Committee (Jan-Feb 2015)
As a key figure from the former Parliament, Al-Madhi is a source of expertise and experience, particularly given his long-standing chairmanship of the Services Committee.
Al-Madhi represents the only Shia/opposition majority constituency in Muharraq Island, covering the Dair and Samaheej areas. He is a low key figure and once again heads the Services Committee.
However, he seems to prefer to keep his head down even on issues within his specialization, so it is often other members of his committee, like Osamah al-Khajah, who are observed discussing business that Al-Madhi has presided over.
Al-Madhi has at least twice spoken out in defence of Parliament Chairman Ahmed al-Mulla, following criticism by MPs our outside entities, most recently following strongly-worded criticism by the Salafist society Al-Asalah against Parliament’s Chairman and Deputy Chairman.
ACTIVITY DURING 2015-2016 PARLIAMENT SEASON
Economy & employment
Economy: In mid-August Ahmed Qaratah, Mohammed al-Ammadi and Abbas al-Madhi participated in a parliamentary delegation to an economic conference for the Asian Parliament Society in Jakarta. Head of the delegation, Al-Madhi said that they would be discussing the impact of economic crises on the Asian economy. Al-Madhi on 19 Aug stressed the need for legislation to guarantee “perpetual economic growth”.
Good governance & public finance
Subsidies: Al-Madhi on 9 July stated that subsidy reform should be gradual, carefully planned and not adversely affect civilians.
Policing & regional security
Terrorism: Al-Madhi on 6 Aug condemned the mosque attack in Abha Saudi Arabia, calling for the stiffest punishments against perpetrators.
Parliament role & constituent engagement
Services Committee: According to Al-Watan newspaper on 6 Oct, Al-Madhi is standing for continuing his chairmanship of this Committee in the coming parliamentary term, although some sources suggested that he could be standing down. Mohammed al-Maarifi and Osama al-Khajah could be standing against him.
On 6 Oct the Services Committee met and agreed on a new health centre. Al-Madhi noted that the Committee reviewed a large number of proposals and bills.
ACTIVITY DURING 2014-2015 PARLIAMENT SEASON
Housing, services & infrastructure
Services Committee: Al-Madhi said that on 25 February the issues his committee discussed included educational broadcasting, proposals for an employment fund, bringing investment into line with Islamic principles, and proposed new health centres.
Al-Madhi said on 15 April that his Committee had discussed the Labour Ministry’s observations concerning a private bill for providing training for unemployed young people who had lost their jobs due to inappropriate behaviour. The Committee also discussed proposals related to domestic workers; setting up social centres; and providing health care for Bahrainis abroad.
Al-Madhi on 3 June said that his Committee had discussed measures for ensuring that pensioners were entitled to social insurance, as well as low-income families and those married to non-Bahrainis. They discussed with officials ways of raising social support; as well as proposals for empowering the disabled; along with a number of other private bills.
Housing: Al-Madhi (along with Majid al-Majid and Mohammed Milad) on 19 April proposed changing the housing law to require a 10 year period before newly naturalized Bahrainis can obtain housing support. They suggested that this could help ease the pressure on the Housing Ministry for requests for support.
Events hall: Al-Madhi, along with Isa al-Kooheji, Adel al-Asoumi, Fatima al-Asfour and Majid al-Majid on 8 May proposed an events hall for Al-Madhi’s 6th Muharraq constituency.
Standards of living, health & education
Pensioners: Al-Madhi on 9 April proposed a social centre for pensioners in his 6th Muharraq constituency.
University: Muharraq MPs Ali Bufarsan, Ibrahim al-Hammadi, Jamal Dawoud, Abbas al-Madhi and Abdulrahman Bu-Ali on 18 April called for the establishment of a third campus of the University of Bahrain in Muharraq. Al-Madhi in quotes to the media stressed that this would ease the pressure on the two existing campuses and make life easier for Muharraq students. The proposal was first raised by Bufarsan in December 2014.
Refuse: Al-Madhi criticized a newspaper report which he said was designed to portray Bahrain in a negative light at the time of the Grand Prix. The report apparently highlighted people collecting scraps from rubbish bins to sell. Al-Madhi called on the relevant government departments to look into the allegations raised in the report and the circumstances of the report. (19 April)
Meat subsidies: During the 2 June open parliamentary debate on planned subsidy cuts, Al-Madhi expressed his “anger” at the tiny compensation payments proposed by the Govt. He said that Bahraini citizens had “become a laughing stock to other nations”.
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-Madhi stressed the importance of pursuing the proposals. He stressed that the measures were in line with the Vision 2030 initiative which aimed to make Bahrainis the preferred choice for recruitment.
Foreign workers: During the 3 March parliamentary debate on the so-called “free visa” system”, Al-Madhi said that the necessary laws existed, but they weren’t being implemented.
Medical staff: Abdulrahman Bufarsan, Ghazi Al Rahmah and Al-Madhi on 20 April issued a joint statement quoting statistics showing that more than half of doctors and nurses are foreigners. Al-Madhi said that statements by the Health Minister contradicted those of his officials which claimed that many medical roles had a high proportion of Bahraini staff. Al-Madhi called on the Ministry to abandon proposed measures and only recruit foreign staff on short term contracts, while recruiting Bahrainis on a permanent basis.
Pearl monitoring: During a stormy 10 March parliamentary debate over a bill for privatizing monitoring the quality of pearls and precious stones, Al-Madhi recommended that MPs reject the bill, noting that foreign companies were known to issue “falsified certificates”.
Good governance & public finance
Public debt: On 25 March, stressed that Parliament’s decision to reject a rise in the debt ceiling had been based on the recommendation by the Financial Committee following a considered assessment, specifically based on advice from the National Bank. Al-Madhi rejected rumours that services to citizens could be halted in the light of the parliamentary decision not to increase the debt ceiling.
According to Al-Watan on 14 May Al-Madhi was one of the 20 MPs who said that they would give conditional support to raising the debt ceiling to 7bn BD.
Budget: In a joint 4 April statement Adel al-Asoumi and Al-Madhi praised the Prime Minister’s recent comments about ensuring that the rights and benefits of citizens are not removed in the forthcoming Budget.
Minister interrogation: Al-Madhi was one of around 30 MPs who originally signed themotion calling for the Health Minister’s interrogation over issues related to the Financial Audit Bureau Report. However, he withdrew his name in order to be part of the committee do discuss whether or not the interrogation should go ahead. This Committee voted in favour of the interrogation. However, Al-Madhi failed to attend the 5 May vote. During the 5 May parliamentary session an insufficient number of MPs voted in support of interrogating the Health Minister (23 supported, below the 2/3 quota of 27 MPs).
MPs’ benefits: Al-Madhi’s Services Committee on 11 May recommended the approval of increases in retirement benefits for MPs. However, Al-Madhi’s deputy, Mohammed al-Maarifi registered his opposition. Al-Madhi told the media that increasing retirement benefits for MPs wouldn’t affect the State Budget “because of the small number of those benefitting”.
On 12 May, Parliament voted to delay two weeks the vote on modifying retirement payments for MPs. Al-Madhi noted that most MPs wouldn’t be entitled to the full 4,000 retirement bonus in any case. However, many of the MPs who had stood in the 2011 by-election “faced huge problems, with security cameras all night at their homes in fear of attacks. They deserve to be acknowledged”.
Rights & freedoms
Women’s rights: Al-Madhi on 28 February told the Gulf Daily News that women were often prejudiced in the workplace: “In Bahrain now, most ministries prefer men over women in some jobs,” he said. “Younger generations don’t have that problem, but the older generation does. There is still gender discrimination.”
Human rights: Al-Madhi congratulated MP Jamila al-Sammak on behalf of his Services Committee on 9 March for her appointment on the International Parliament’s Human Rights Committee.
Media: In early February Al-Madhi said that the Government had requested the withdrawal of the proposed new media law that was being debated by Parliament.
On International Press Freedom Day, Al-Madhi stressed the need for a media law “in line with the reform programme of his majesty the King, reflecting the huge developments in the field of media”. (1 May) Al-Madhi on 2 May pledged that Parliament would pass a media law within its current term if it was submitted by the Government. He noted that at the beginning of the year the new Information Minister had withdrawn the existing draft.
Nationality: Al-Madhi on 24 May put forward a proposal that only those who had possessed Bahraini nationality for 10 years could work for in government sector posts. Majid al-Majid, Ghazi Al Rahmah and Adel Bin-Hamid co-sponsored the proposal.
Parliament role & constituent engagement
Walkout: Following the 10 February walkout by MPs affiliated with Asalah. Abbas al-Madhi said in a statement that these figures had acted “according to narrow and non-nationalistic affiliations”, calling for measures to be taken against “all MPs who exceeded the limits of respect”.
He specifically criticized Mohammed al-Ahmed who began shouting at Parliament Chairman Ahmed al-Mulla when his microphone was turned off during the session.
Chairman of Parliament: Abbas al-Madhi on 28 May issued a statement praising the role of the Parliament Chairman in serving the nation and ensuring the national interest. This statement is possibly in response to attacks made against the Chairman of Parliament and his Deputy by the Salafist society Al-Asalah in response to a discussion held by the Parliament Bureau reportedly concerning possible compensation for some of those adversely affected by the 2011 unrest.
Urgent bills: Al-Madhi on 21 April criticized the legitimacy of the “urgent” marking on many Government bills. He noted that the Government had just put forward four “urgent” bills requiring treatment over the coming four weeks. Al-Madhi said that the urgent marking meant that MPs didn’t have enough time to consider key bills. Al-Madhi said that his Services Committee had discussed proposals for modifying laws related to pharmacies and health services. He noted that these bills had been marked with “urgent” and they were rejected on principle.
- Standards of living, health & education – 5
- Housing & services – 5
- Policing & regional security – 3
- Good governance & public finance – 4
- Economy & employment – 7
- Supporting constituents & youth – 4
- Rights & freedoms – 6
- Constructive Parliament role – 5
- Public visibility – 3
- Progressive/reformist credentials – 5
Results of 2014 elections – 6th Muharraq
Areas covered: Dair & Samaheej
Housing blocks: 231, 232, 233, 234, 235, 236, 237
Registered voters: 7,762; Percentage 1st round voter turnout: 11.1%
First round vote:
Abbas al-Madhi (MP) – 273 (38.8%); Nabil al-Ashiri – 270 (38.4%); Hassan al-Samaheeji – 82 (11.7%); Abbas al-Faraj – 78 (11.6%)
Second round vote:
Abbas al-Madhi (MP) – 308 (52.9%)
Nabil al-Ashiri – 274 (47.1%)
Profile of election campaign: Abbas Isa Ali Hassan al-Madhi
Al-Madhi won his seat unopposed in the 2011 by-election. He cited the importance of “accumulated experience” for serving in Parliament, noting that his previous presidency of the Services Committee qualified him to play a useful role in future legislation.
Al-Madhi has listed the improvement of living standards and reducing public debt as the key priorities for the coming Parliament.His second round rival Nabil al-Ashiri has been an active campaigner with his statements regularly appearing in the media. Al-Ashiri was only three votes behind Al-Madhi in the first round and 34 votes behind Al-Madhi in the second.
MP Abbas al-Madhi’s home was reportedly attacked several times by opposition militants in the period leading up to the elections. Al-Madhi said that he would not be deterred by such attacks.
The significant opposition population in this area made efforts to enforce the boycott inevitable. However, several figures from the local Shia community have spoken out against the boycott.
The 11% first round turnout is in stark contrast to participation of around 80% in all the other Muharraq districts.
Know your deputy: Profiles of other Bahrain MPs
Adel al-Asoumi – 1st Capital
Ahmed Qaratah – 2nd Capital
Adel Bin-Hamid Abdulhussain – 3rd Capital
Deputy-Head of Parliamentary Human Rights Committee
Abdulrahman Bumjaid – 4th Capital
Nasser al-Qaseer – 5th Capital
Deputy Head of the Permanent Committee for Financial and Economic Matters
Ali al-Atish – 6th Capital
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
Head of Committee for Youth and Sports
Ibrahim al-Hammadi – 2nd Muharraq
Jamal Buhassan – 3rd Muharraq
Isa al-Kooheji – 4th Muharraq
Head of the Permanent Committee for Financial and Economic Matters
Mohammed al-Jowder – 5th Muharraq
Abbas al-Madhi – 6th Muharraq
Ali al-Muqla – 7th Muharraq
Abdulrahman Bu-Ali – 8th Muharraq
Fatimah al-Asfour – 1st Northern
Deputy Head of the Committee for Women and Children
Jalal Kadhim al-Mahfoudh – 2nd Northern
Deputy Head of Committee for Youth and Sports
Hamad al-Dossary – 3rd Northern
Ghazi Al Rahmah – 4th Northern
Deputy Head of Permanent Committee for Public Utilities and Environment
Ali al-Aradi – 5th Northern
Deputy Head of Parliament
Rua al-Haiki – 6th Northern
Shaikh Majid al-Majid – 7th Northern
Head of the Permanent Committee for Shari’ah and Legal Matters
Dr. Isa Turki – 8th Northern
Abdulhamid Abdulhussain al-Najjar – 9th Northern
Deputy Head of Committee for Supporting the Palestinian People
Mohammed al-Ammadi – 10th Northern
Head of Committee for Supporting the Palestinian People
Jamal Dawoud – 11th Northern
Head of Permanent Committee for Public Utilities and Environment
Jamila al-Sammak – 12th Northern
Head of the Committee for Women and Children
Khalid al-Shaer – 1st Southern
Head of Parliamentary Human Rights Committee
Mohammed al-Ahmed – 2nd Southern
Abdulhalim Murad – 3rd Southern
Second Deputy Head of Parliament
Mohammed al-Maarifi – 4th Southern
Deputy Head of the Permanent Committee for Services
Khalifa al-Ghanim – 5th Southern
Anas Buhindi – 6th Southern
Deputy Head of the Permanent Committee for Shari’ah and Legal Matters
Abdullah Bin-Huwail – 7th Southern
Head of the Permanent Committee for Foreign, Defence and National Security Affairs
Dhiyab al-Noaimi – 8th Southern
Mohsin al-Bakri – 9th Southern
Ahmed al-Mulla – 10th Southern
Head of Parliament