Al-Mahfoudh: “Ministries are acting against the directives of the leadership by obstructing the recruitment of Bahrainis in order to keep employing non-Bahrainis”.
Al-Mahfoudh: “For 14 years until now the Northern Town [housing project] hasn’t seen the light. We therefore fear that the establishment of a secondary school for the residents of the villages of Budaya Road is a dream that won’t become reality”.
Deputy Chairman of Committee for Youth and Sports
Member of the Permanent Committee for Financial and Economic Affairs
Deputy Chairman of Mumtalakat Investigation Committee (April 2015)
Member of Government Action Plan Committee (Jan-Feb 2015)
Member of the Investigative Committee on Unregistered Foreign Workers (March 2015)
Al-Mahfoudh’s constituency is centred around Diraz and was therefore at the heart of the opposition’s elections boycott. As one of the younger candidates, Al-Mahfoudh fought a brave and energetic elections campaign in 2014 and continues to be an assertive figure who has made good on his promises to raise the concerns of young people from his locality.
Al-Mahfoudh led the 24 March 2015 open parliamentary debate on Bahraini teachers, presenting the Minister of Education with CVs for 376 Bahraini teachers who he said had been rejected by the Ministry which had nevertheless recruited foreign teachers.
The 9 June 2015 session also saw a heated debate between Al-Mahfoudh and the Education Minister, with Al-Mahfoudh once again accusing the Minister of failing to employ talented and qualified Bahraini teachers while criticizing the abilities of some teachers who had been employed.
Several proposals sponsored by Al-Mahfoudh, including for a secondary school servicing the villages along the Budaya Highway and for youth and sports facilities for his constituency were approved by Parliament during spring 2015.
Al-Mahfoudh has demonstrated a commitment to raising issues that affect his constituents, such as fishing facilities, schools provision and housing. He is also active on the social media. Another issue which Al-Mahfoudh has consistently addressed is the importance of facilitating movement of goods across the Saudi Causeway.
On 19 May Parliament voted in favour of a bill by Al-Mahfoudh for ensuring the recruitment of 1,912 graduates who worked for five years for the Government and then their temporary contracts were terminated. Several other proposals by Al-Mahfoudh for improving services and living conditions have been approved.
ACTIVITY DURING 2015-2016 PARLIAMENT SEASON
Housing, services & infrastructure
Housing: During a parliamentary debate on 13 Oct in which the Housing Minister was present, Jalal al-Mahfoudh called for recently-naturalized Bahrainis to not be eligible for housing provision.
Land usage: Al-Mahfoudh on 4 Oct called for the imposition of fees on lands which were not in use. He said that this was to avoid the monopolization of lands which were not being put to effective use.
Services: During the 27 Oct parliamentary session, MPs approved with amendments Al-Mahfoudh’s proposal to set up a centre for Government services in the Northern Governorate. Al-Mahfoudh argued that numbers of residents were dramatically increasing, while the provision of services remained the same.
Standards of living, health & education
Health: Al-Mahfoudh on 20 Aug called for health authorities to take action in the case of a youth with elephantiasis.
Al-Mahfoudh on 1 Oct voiced support for early retirement schemes for those with chronic illnesses, particularly in the case of Sickle Cell.
Al-Mahfoudh on 9 Oct told the media that plans were in place for developing Budaya Health Centre. Al-Mahfoudh recently met senior health officials to discuss expanding and renovating the existing centres.
Drugs: During a 26 July speech, Al-Mahfoudh affirmed the joint responsibility between the state and citizens for addressing the issue of drug addiction.
Education: Al-Mahfoudh on 4 Aug called for the opening of centres for supporting gifted young people in the governorates, in order to benefit from their talents.
Schools: Al-Mahfoudh on 20 Oct filed a question for the Education Minister concerning the decline in children attending public schools vis-à-vis private schools, and the implications of this for teaching standards.
Retirement age: Al-Mahfoudh on 24 Sep warned that raising the retirement age to over 65 was not appropriate for Bahraini society. He stressed his outright rejection of such a prospect.
Animal health: Al-Mahfoudh on 6 Oct demanded urgent action to address shortages of certain veterinary medicines for horses.
Economy & employment
Employment: Al-Mahfoudh on 5 Aug met union representatives and discussed the challenges of recruitment and labour regulations in the private sector. He called for the Ministry of Works to put forward a plan for taking possession of coastal areas.
Al-Mahfoudh on 31 July called for measures to guarantee the preferment of Bahrainis for employment ahead of foreigners. He warned of the harm caused by unemployment while citing the large numbers of qualified Bahrainis in the jobs market.
Medics: Al-Mahfoudh on 13 July expressed his outrage at the Ministry of Health’s refusal to employ 50 Bahraini medics, preferring instead to offer them temporary training contracts. He said:“Ministries are acting against the directives of the leadership by obstructing the recruitment of Bahrainis in order to keep employing non-Bahrainis”.
Markets: Al-Mahfoudh on 6 Sep demanded that the Bahraini market be 100% free from monopolies in order to provide consumers with greater choice and encourage foreign investment. He said that this process should coincide with subsidy reform to avoid price rises.
Good governance & public finance
Govt revenues: Al-Mahfoudh on 5 Sep discussed the potential impact of further declining oil revenues. He said that public sector wages and living standards should not be impacted. Rather, Govt departments should find ways to make further savings.
Government: Al-Mahfoudh on 18 Sep emphasized the importance of the proposed reduced-size Cabinet, for confronting Bahrain’s economic challenges.
Al-Mahfoudh on 25 Oct called for a Govt strategy to enhance the performance of those serving the public in Govt departments, and reducing levels of absenteeism and underperformance.
Subsidies: Al-Mahfoudh on 6 Oct told Al-Bilad newspaper that he supported the prospect of interrogating the Commerce Minister over the issue of price rises related to subsidy reforms. Al-Mahfoudh said that he supported the smart card issue, arguing that not all Bahrainis deserved to be receiving the compensation payments. He said that the reforms go against what was agreed in the Budget and they should have been delayed until the next budgetary period.
During the 27 Oct open parliamentary debate on subsidy reform, Al-Mahfoudh warned that MPs should not be held accountable for the Govt’s unilateral measures. He said that the Govt had “cut off the hand” extended by MPs.
Policing & regional security
Security: Al-Mahfoudh on 9 July said that saboteurs had attacked his home and family. He praised the Interior Ministry’s response and noted a previous occasion when his car had been set alight during his elections campaign. Al-Mahfoudh said that campaigns of incitement, vandalism and extremism were all counter to Bahrain’s interests.
Terrorism: Al-Mahfoudh on 28 July condemned the recent attack in Sitra which killed 2 policemen. He called for combined efforts to “besiege these terrorist plots in Bahrain”. Al-Mahfoudh on 29 Aug strongly condemned the Al-Karranah bombing which killed one policeman.
Al-Mahfoudh on 23 Oct called for a comprehensive strategy for addressing the threat of ISIS. He praised the role of the Interior Ministry in protecting mosques and public places.
Iran: Al-Mahfoudh on 24 July condemned statements by the Iranian leadership concerning Bahrain. He said that Iran was seeking to dominate Bahrain and control its affairs through exploiting the unrest.
Sectarianism: Al-Mahfoudh on 23 Aug endorsed the Interior Minister’s comments that Bahrain had overcome the “swamp of sectarianism” and stressed that Bahrainis enjoyed equal rights. He added that there was no discrimination against any particular sect and praised the efforts of the authorities to improve standards of living.
Saudi: Al-Mahfoudh on 17 Oct strongly condemned ISIS-related attacks against Shia places of worship in Saudi Arabia.
Rights & freedoms
Democracy: Al-Mahfoudh on 14 Sep praised the successes of the King of Bahrain’s reform and democratization process.
Youth, culture & sport
Scholarships: Al-Mahfoudh on 19 July called for an expansion of the scholarships system to allow more young people to benefit. He praised the attention given by the authorities to the scholarship system.
Youth: Al-Mahfoudh on 15 Aug called for greater efforts across the GCC region to improve facilities for young people.
Congratulations: Al-Mahfoudh on 20 July congratulated the Crown Prince on his son’s graduation from Cambridge University. Al-Mahfoudh congratulated the Prime Minister on 7 Aug for his awarding of a technology and economic development prize.
Parliament role & constituent engagement
Parliament: Al-Mahfoudh on 21 July conducted a wide-ranging interview with Al-Ayam newspaper. He praised the achievements of the 2014 Parliament so far, noting the importance of issues like confirmation of payment of anti-inflation benefits and increased budget for housing and other service-providing departments. He also highlighted the use of the GCC funds predominantly for housing projects – 45% of which he noted went to the Northern Governorate. While he stressed that the vast majority of MPs were “nationalist, independent figures only concerned with the national good”, he criticized some MPs and parliamentary figures for stirring up differences and adopting “sectarian and partisan stances”. He praised the Parliament Chairman Al-Mulla for his “national spirit and love for Bahrain” in making the Parliament inclusive and cohesive. Meanwhile, Al-Mahfoudh stressed his strong ties with local people, noting that during his public engagement no-one had opposed his candidacy.
Al-Mahfoudh during a round-table Al-Wasat interview on 11 July alongside other MPs commented: “From the beginning of this parliamentary term, I have to say that we noticed transparency from the [Parliament] Presidency in submitting proposals by MPs and complete transparency in dealing with all MPs, while all the issues which were raised were in the public interest and received approval by all MPs.
“It should be noted that 30 MPs were new faces who were nevertheless able to table questions to ministers and hold open debates. The Parliament should not be judged just according to its first six months. This is because parliamentary work is accumulative and we are still in the first year. As an independent MP, I am inclined to propose interrogations and work within investigative committees to fulfill my oversight role. I saw in my role on the Finance Committee while studying the Budget that there was a constructive response from some ministers.
“There are some factors which should be taken into account when considering the work of MPs during this term. Regarding the investigative committees; the Mumtalakat and Unregistered Workers Investigative Committees are among the most important investigative committees, and we expect that others will be formed in the coming term… I would like to see investigative committees for the Ministries of Health, Education and Finance as these are the most important ministries of state, although that is my personal view.
“I agree that some ministers were slow in responding to MPs’ questions. I personally found the Finance Minister to be one of those who always responded to MPs in the required time.”
“The next parliamentary cycle should be a very fertile one. Private bills should be prepared from the beginning, during the summer vacation we must prepare the questions for submission during the coming cycle, so that we are productive from the first day.”
“Some committees should be modified, because there were failings in the previous cycle… There are no rubber stamps among the deputies. There will be interrogations once the Parliamentary Code has been modified.”
Al-Mahfoudh on 17 Oct conducted an interview with Al-Bilad newspaper in which he reviewed the achievements of the Parliament so far. He said that during the coming parliamentary term there would be many issues raised concerning corruption. He called for a new housing project in Bani Jamra to address housing requests dating back decades and emphasized the need for additional schools in the Northern Governorate. He cited five private bills which he had submitted over the past year which had already been submitted for Government approval: Measures for preferring Bahraini over foreign employees in the public sector; a proposal for employing 1912 unemployed graduates in govt departments; the proposal for a centre for government services in the Northern Governorate; a proposal for ensuring that all Bahrainis benefit equally from subsidy reform; a proposal for developing the Abu-Subh coastline with a cornice featuring numerous services and amenities for visitors. Six further proposals included: A proposal for using profits from Mumtalakat to increase incomes for poor families; measures for combatting smoking and improving facilities for young people; a proposal for increasing the number of diplomats present in Bahraini embassies abroad; a proposal for opening up Gulf Air as a public company; a proposal for establishing a centre for infrastructure services in Bani Jamra; and a proposal for reforming the Upcoming Generations Fund to include representatives from civil society.
In mid-October 2015 Al-Mahfoudh gave an interview with Bahrain TV’s In Parliament progress, during which he evaluated the performance of Parliament over the previous year and cited the importance of the committees of inquiry, open debates and the handling of the Govt Action Plan.
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.
ACTIVITY DURING 2014-2015 PARLIAMENT SEASON
Housing, services & infrastructure
Land use: Al-Mahfoudh on 11 January requested from the Ministry of Works that an agricultural area in Diraz, his local constituency, be converted into a central market. On 12 January Al-Mahfoudh criticized “contradictions” in statements by the Municipalities Ministry regarding land usage. He requested greater “transparency” from the Ministry in discussing future land usage proposals.
Transport: On 21 February, Al-Mahfoudh observed that measures being taken on the Saudi Causeway were having a positive impact in reducing congestion. Al-Mahfoudh on 18 April called for the establishment of a centre for facilitating the movement of goods across the Saudi Causeway.
Housing: On 13 March, the Minister of Housing responded extensively to questions submitted by Al-Mahfoudh about housing projects in the locality of his constituency, including progress on the Northern Town housing project.
During a 17 March debate about housing rights and benefits, Al-Mahfoudh noted that many northern constituencies hadn’t benefitted from the provision of housing units, with requests going back to 1986. Al-Mahfoudh had worked jointly with Hamad al-Dossary in documenting these cases.
During the 24 March open parliamentary debate on housing the Minister responded to queries by Al-Mahfoudh, noting that a large proportion of those on the housing lists in his local constituency would be addressed through the Northern Town housing project. However, Al-Mahfoudh challenged the Minister, saying that the proposals didn’t seem to cover the high proportion of long-standing housing requests from his constituency.
Services: Al-Mahfoudh, Hamad al-Dossary and Ghazi Al Rahmah put forward a joint proposal for a centre for government services in the Northern Governorate. (23 March)Al-Mahfoudh on 25 April once again proposed setting up a centre for government services in the Northern Governorate. He said that by giving people access to all the key services in one place, this would save everybody’s time and increase efficiency.
Public buildings: Al-Mahfoudh on 29 March demanded that a greater proportion of the 2015 budget be devoted to public properties, to allow for a greater range of facilities and services for citizens. He called for a greater number of health centres, youth clubs and social clubs.
Collapsing homes: Al-Mahfoudh said on 11 April that renovating run-down areas and repairing falling-down homes must be a priority for the State Budget
Planning: On 4 April Al-Mahfoudh raised the issue of allotments of land where plans had been approved for citizens to build homes, but action hadn’t been taken to cancel the original proposals in order to confirm the exclusive rights of citizens to commence building projects.
Infrastructure: On 12 May, Jalal al-Mahfoudh, along with Hamad al-Dossary, Adel Bin-Hamid, Ghazi Al Rahmah and Nasser al-Qaseer submitted a proposal for installing infrastructure services and sewage systems for Bani Jamra in Al-Mahfoudh’s constituency. The proposal noted how the rainy season turned the unpaved roads into “muddy bogs”.
Standards of living, health & education
Education: Al-Mahfoudh has proposed the construction of a new secondary school near the Budaya highway (17 January)
Al-Mahfoudh questioned the Education Ministry about plans for making education better-suited to providing skills needed for the work place and making Bahraini graduates more competitive. He directed a series of questions to the Ministry requiring a breakdown of their own recruitment programme. (7 March)
Al-Mahfoudh on 16 April issued an extensive statement praising Bahrain’s educational institutions, but criticizing negative comments by some officials against globally-recognized academics. “We are against the defamation of established universities and those associated with them,” he said.
Al-Mahfoudh on 28 April spoke in support of his approved proposal to build a secondary school for the Budaya Road area. However, he added: “For 14 years until now the Northern Town [housing project] hasn’t seen the light. We therefore fear that the establishment of a secondary school for the residents of the villages of Budaya Road is a dream that won’t become reality”.
During the 12 May parliamentary session around 15 proposals previously submitted by MPs were approved in a series of votes. These included a secondary girls’ school serving villages along the Budaya road.
Al-Mahfoudh praised the Education Ministry’s “Increase my Knowledge” initiative and the services it provided for citizens, calling on the project to continue. (7 May)
During the 9 June parliamentary session Al-Mahfoudh strongly criticized the response he had received from the Minister of Education concerning the proportion of Bahraini teachers in schools. Regarding the Minister’s failure to give a precise answer, he questioned how it was possible that the Ministry didn’t know the number of non-Bahrainis on its payrolls. Al-Mahfoudh strongly criticized the education levels of teachers in many Bahraini schools, asking how individuals trained in carpentry could be teaching maths.
Health: Al-Al-Mahfoudh has called for the creation of a specialized centre for treating sickle cell. (7 March)
Meat subsidies: During the 26 May parliamentary discussion, a majority of MPs spoke out against the Govt’s plan for halting meat subsidies. Al-Mahfoudh said: “We have seen no tangible cooperation from the Government. It is as if the Government is trying to twist our arm because we didn’t agree to raising the ceiling for borrowing”.
Economy & employment
Fishing: Al-Mahfoudh on 4 March called for greater support for local fishermen and better port facilities. He noted the need for attention to be given to the Diraz area of his constituency.
Fabrics: Al-Mahfoudh denied reports that employees of a local projects for woolen materials had been fired. He said the project had moved from Diraz to a location in Manama. (9 March)
Foreign teachers: Al-Mahfoudh was one of six MPs on 16 March who proposed an open parliamentary debate about the Government’s policy on recruiting foreign teachers. Al-Mahfoudh is credited with leading the call for this debate which is slated to occur on 25 March in the presence of the Education Minister. Other MPs supporting the initiative are: Ali al-Aradi, Khalifa al-Ghanim, Ghazi Al Rahmah, Jamal Buhassan, Ali Bufarsan, Adel al-Asoumi, Isa Turki, Jamal Dawoud, Jamila al-Sammak, Fatimah al-Asfour and Isa al-Kooheji.
Al-Mahfoudh led the 24 March open parliamentary debate on Bahraini teachers. He showed the Minister of Education CVs for 376 Bahraini teachers who he said had been rejected by the Ministry which had preferred to recruit foreign teachers. Towards the end of the debate, Al-Mahfoudh criticized certain interventions which he saw as political (such as naming a news school after the Minister of Education). He concluded, “I request that people refrain from inciting sectarian noises. I am independent and am not associated with any party or society”.
Al-Mahfoudh on 25 March was interviewed by Al-Wasat newspaper about his intervention on the issue of teacher recruitment. He said that he now had CVs for 426 unemployed Bahraini teachers. Al-Mahfoudh said that it seemed that some people wanted to “politicize” the issue and “push it in a sectarian direction”. However, he stressed that the CVs came from all components of society, noting the Prime Minister’s support for this issue.
Unregistered workers: Al-Mahfoudh on 8 April said that the Committee for discussing unregistered workers had discussed the action taken during previous parliaments to address the issue as well as the current legislative situation. Al-Mahfoudh talked of a public awareness campaign to address the issue.
The Labour Authority responded on 10 April to questions by Al-Mahfoudh about regulation of domestic staff, stating that there were around 522,000 expat workers in Bahrain; and that since September 2014 565 domestic staff were registered as having fled from their place of work.
During the 14 April parliamentary session Al-Mahfoudh stated that the Labour Ministry’s efforts to address the issue of foreign labourers who flee their place of work was “insufficient”, because there was no compensation to Bahraini employers who lost out as a result of this and insufficient efforts to recover those who fled.
Public sector employment: Al-Mahfoudh on 14 May questioned the Parliament Minister concerning recruitment of Bahrainis and non-Bahrainis in Govt departments.
Public sector employees: During the 19 May parliamentary session a proposed bill for making the public sector fully Bahraini within five years had to be withdrawn for further discussion after many objections from MPs. Al-Mahfoudh observed that Bahrainis had become desirable employees in GCC states, and so many doctors went to work abroad. Therefore, he argued that Bahrainis should replace foreign workers, given that they have graduated in Bahraini universities. He said that foreigners should only be given short term contracts.
Recruitment: On 19 May Parliament voted in favour of a private bill by Al-Mahfoudh for the recruitment of 1,912 graduates who remained unemployed. Al-Mahfoudh commented that “these citizens worked for five years for the Government and then their temporary contracts were terminated. This in unacceptable, these are the heads of families and we are going into Ramadan”
Gulf Air: Al-Mahfoudh on 22 April was among the MPs sponsoring a private bill for privatization of Gulf Air. “The company is in need of a financial injection and the private sector would be the best choice,” said Al-Mahfoudh. Co-sponsors include Khalid al-Shaer, Ghazi Al Rahmah, Mohammed al-Ahmed, and Abdulrahman Bu-Ali.
Tourism: Al-Mahfoudh, along with Ghazi Al Rahmah, Hamad al-Dossary, Nassir al-Qaseer and Adel Bin-Hamid on 17 May submitted a proposal for turning the Abu Subh coastline into a “model cornice”.
Good governance & public finance
Action Plan: Al-Mahfoudh said that the Government Action Plan should give additional attention to facilities for young people (19 January).
Government: Al-Dossary and Al-Mahfoudh on 27 April issued a joint statement stressing the urgency of cooperation between the executive and legislative branches for achieving the aspirations of citizens, “especially after the increase in complaints and requests from people who expressed their outrage at the lack of response of some official bodies… in addressing the issues and problems raised by citizens”.
Audit report: On 16 February Al-Mahfoudh said that the Financial Committee was finalizing its analysis on the cases of corruption and mismanagement cited in the audit report and that their recommendations would soon be ready to pass on to the full Parliament.
Minister interrogation: Al Mahfoudh was one of the 26 MPs who signed a motion calling for the Health Minister’s interrogation over issues related to the Financial Audit Bureau Report. However, he abstained during 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).
Al-Mahfoudh on 7 May said that he had abstained from the interrogation vote because the proposed interrogation topics were insufficient and “lacked those issues which impact the needs and concerns of citizens”. He noted that the topics didn’t cover the “large number of problems” at Salmaniya Hospital.
Public debt: On 25 March, Al-Mahfoudh rejected rumours that services to citizens could be halted in the light of the parliamentary decision not to increase the debt ceiling. Al-Mahfoudh stressed that these services were the “right” of the citizen which had been agreed on by the Prime Minister. Al-Mahfoudh was among the deputies who strongly welcomed the Prime Minister’s pledges that essential public services and benefit programmes would not be affected by the parliamentary vote limiting the debt ceiling. He issued a joint statement with Abdulrahman Bu-Ali and Ali al-Muqla, which also questioned the Government’s failure to outline a plan for addressing the public debt. (1 April)
According to Al-Watan on 14 May Al-Mahfoudh was one of the 20 MPs who said that they would give conditional support to raising the debt ceiling to 7bn BD.
Future Generations Fund: Al-Mahfoudh on 20 April called for a developed strategy for investing revenues from this fund in a more transparent manner to ensure annual profits.
Mumtalakat: Al-Mahfoudh on 30 April was announced as Deputy Chairman of the Committee for “Investigating the Deterioration of Financial and Administrative Circumstances” at Mumtalakat.
Budget: On 13 May MPs Hamad al-Dossary, Jalal al-Mahfoudh and Ghazi Al Rahmah called for Northern Governorate constituencies to receive a “fair share” of Budget allotments. Al-Mahfoudh called for faster progress on boys and girls secondary schools for Budaya Road and he urged for more rapid progress on housing projects on the outskirts of villages in his constituency.
Al–Mahfoudh on 25 May said that coordination between the Govt and MPs was a necessary precondition for approval of the Budget. He said that there was “no room for negotiation” over the needs of citizens.
Policing & regional security
Diplomacy: Al-Mahfoudh on 23 April submitted a private bill proposing an increase in the number of diplomats in embassies abroad. He noted that after the unrest of 2011, it had become obvious that Bahrain was underrepresented abroad. Abdulhalim Murad, Ghazi Al Rahmah, Osamah al-Khajah and Khalid al-Shaer supported the motion.
Terrorism: Al-Mahfoudh on 9 May condemned the attempt to smuggle explosives into Saudi Arabia across the Causeway. He praised the efforts of the security forces operating on the Causeway.
Saudi mosque attack: Al-Mahfoudh on 23 May issued a statement strongly condemning the attack by ISIS against a Shia mosque in Saudi Arabia, killing around 21 people.
Ghazi Al Rahmah and Jalal al-Mahfoudh in a joint statement on 30 May condemned the terrorist attack against a second Shia mosque in Saudi Arabia. The warned that such an attack sought to divide the Saudi nation.
Rights & freedoms
National Action Charter: On the 14 February anniversary of the 2001 Constitution Referendum, a joint statement from deputies Jalal Al-Mahfoudh, Hamad al-Dossary and Ghazi Al Rahmah said that “His Majesty the King’s announcement of comprehensive reforms in Bahrain was the greatest achievement for Bahrain”.
Media: Al-Mahfoudh called for greater urgency in issuing a “contemporary” media law, stressing the challenges that the electronic media and other innovations have generated. He warned of the dangers that “false” reporting through the social media could cause.
Royal pardon: Al-Mahfoudh on 9 May praised the announcement of a royal pardon, saying that this “bestowed happiness in the hearts of the families of prisoners”.
Monarch: Al-Mahfoudh on 21 May in a statement praised the selection of the King of Bahrain by the Arab Creators Union as the Best Arab National Personality for 2015.
Youth, culture & sport
Sport: Al-Mahfoudh was one of 10 MPs who on 16 March proposed an open parliamentary debate with the relevant minister to discuss what the Government was doing to promote Bahraini sport and athletes.
Jalal al-Mahfoudh, Nasser al-Qaseer, Khalid al-Shaer, Osama al-Khajah and Ibrahim al-Hammadi on 23 May proposed that a tax on tobacco be used to fund sports clubs. They noted that the proposal came following consultation with a number of sporting bodies.
Grand Prix: Al-Mahfoudh on 15 April praised the economic benefits of the Formula One in Bahrain in attracting investment and global attention. Mohammed al-Dossary and Al-Mahfoudh on 20 April issued a joint statement praising the F1 and the positive impact on Bahrain’s international reputation.
Youth & sport: Al-Mahfoudh on 11 May chaired the Youth and Sport Committee meeting and reviewed proposals for a sports centre in Arad; proposals for sports pitches across Bahrain, a proposal for a youth centre in Ras Ruman and a number of other proposals.
During the 12 May parliamentary session around 15 proposals previously submitted by MPs were approved in a series of votes. These included a proposal sponsored by Al-Mahfoudh for establishing a soccer pitch linked to the Bani Jamra club.
Al-Mahfoudh on 18 May said that his Committee had discussed a number of proposals made by MPs, stressing the need to increase the Budget allotment for youth and sports.
Parliament role & constituent engagement
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. Al-Mahfoudh noted the disappointment of citizens who had called for such proposals which were agreed by the Government and never implemented.
Chairman of Parliament: Mohammed al-Dossary and Jalal al-Mahfoudh on 28 May issued a joint statement stressing the central role of the Parliament Chairman in focusing the role of Parliament and ensuring the national interest. They stressed the importance of emphasizing national unity. 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.
- Standards of living, health & education – 7
- Housing & services – 8
- Policing & regional security – 4
- Good governance & public finance – 6
- Economy & employment – 8
- Supporting constituents & youth – 8
- Rights & freedoms – 6
- Constructive Parliament role – 7
- Public visibility – 6
- Progressive/reformist credentials – 8
Results of 2014 elections – 2nd Northern
Areas covered: Markh, Bani Jamra, Diraz
Housing blocks: 531, 537, 538, 539, 540, 541, 542, 543, 544, 580, 582, 583, 584, 586, 588, 590
Registered voters: 6,970; Percentage 1st round voter turnout: 8.0%
First round vote:
Jalal al-Mahfoudh – 183 (41.0%); Hussain al-Hamar – 170 (38.1%); Fadhil al-Dirazi – 93 (20.9%)
Second round vote:
Jalal al-Mahfoudh – 247 (66.8%)
Hussain al-Hamar – 123 (33.2)
Profile of election campaign: Jalal Kadhim Hassan Kadhim al-Mahfoudh
In the early phases of this contest Jalal al-Mahfoudh was the only figure visibly pursuing his candidacy in this district, with coverage in the media, online activity and posters advocating his candidacy on view around the district, some of which were vandalized.
In an area of overwhelming hostility to the elections contest, Jalal has come across as a confident and tenacious candidate; so it is unsurprising to see him coming out ahead.
During the contest Jalal pledged to focus on providing services and improving roads and infrastructure. He told Al-Ayam newspaper that he had a “vision for youth”. “This vision will focus on developing the capabilities of the youth and enabling them to play more of a role in society, investing their talents and energies in building this nation… Through solving the problem of unemployment, many other problems associated with the youth can be addressed.” Jalal has reported attacks through the social media from opposition militants accusing him of being a “traitor” for participating in the elections. Later on in the campaign his home was attacked and his cars were set on fire. Many of his campaign posters were vandalized.
Diraz is the home of Ayatollah Isa Qassim, spiritual leader of Al-Wefaq which is leading the call for a boycott of the parliamentary elections. With the local Ayatollah and leading local political societies instructing people not to vote and with militants trying to force people to stay away from the voting centres, it is remarkable that anybody voted. However, a first round turnout of eight percent is still a terrible result and reflects badly on local levels of political engagement during the next parliamentary period.
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