Member of the Permanent Committee for Services
Member of Government Action Plan Committee (Jan-Feb 2015).
Member of the Rotten Meat Investigation Committee (established Feb 2015)
As one of the small number of female MPs and a new entrant, Al-Haiki has quickly established herself as a visible public figure with considered views on major issues.
Al-Haiki is one of the smartest deputies in using the media to consolidate her profile, with regular media articles and press statements. As a relative newcomer to politics, Al-Haiki has been the subject of verbal attacks from those boycotting the parliamentary process and local elites who perhaps resent her success in beating establishment candidates in the elections.
In spring 2015 Al-Haiki took up the case of 124 graduates recently made unemployed by the Ministry of Labour. She succeeded in persuading the Ministry to adopt her proposals for providing them with vocational training. Al-Haiki offered to capitalize on her own background in recruitment consultancy in supporting the graduates for getting back to work.
In summer 2015 Al-Haiki signaled in public statements that she intended to prioritize the issue of promoting Bahraini industry. She voiced sharp criticism of new fees imposed on industries.
Al-Haiki regularly engages with ministers and senior officials regarding issues raised in her elections platform, particularly in the areas of employment and economic growth. She often embarks on these initiatives alone and has not shown a tendency to build coalitions with parliamentary colleagues to promote issues of shared interest.
Al-Haiki has sometimes tended to be hesitant when it comes to key parliamentary votes, for example, she abstained during the 2 July 2015 Budget and debt ceiling votes, as well as abstaining when the Finance Committee voted on the Action Plan at the end of January 2015.
ACTIVITY DURING 2015-2016 PARLIAMENT SEASON
Economy & employment
Industry: Al-Haiki on 14 July said that the requirements of Bahrain’s industrial sector would be among her top priorities over the coming period. She warned of the practice of incurring an increasingly wide range of fees on industrial activities and the effects on businesses, questioning whether the Commerce Ministry had “become an office for collecting fees”.
Al-Haiki on 16 July said that there would soon be a petition put to the Cabinet citing requirements of Bahraini industrialists. Al-Haiki said that she would be meeting many figures from the industrial sector to gain a better understanding of their demands and aspirations.
Policing & regional security
China & India: On 30 July Al-Haiki met the Chinese Ambassador and called for greater cooperation over financial, medical and energy services. On 16 Aug Al-Haiki also met the Indian Ambassador.
Iran: Al-Haiki on 23 July condemned statements by the Iranian leadership concerning Bahrain, which she described as blatant interference in Bahrain’s internal affairs.
Regional economy: Al-Haiki on 6 Aug participated in a conference for enhancing Jordanian and Gulf economic ties.
Rights & freedoms
Human rights: On 16 July Al-Haiki met the head of the National Institution for Human Rights. Al-Haiki stressed the importance of parliamentary work to address human rights issues.
Youth, culture & sport
Antiquities & tourism: Al-Haiki on 31 July called for legislative measures to address the issue of culture & tourism, following a meeting with the Chairwoman of the Culture Authority.
Parliament role & constituent engagement
Ministries: In an 18 Aug article, Al-Haiki cited numerous examples of officials telling citizens that they could only file official requests or complaints through their local MP. She questioned whether this was the official policy or whether this was an effective manner of doing business. She called for a comprehensive evaluation of the manner in which service ministries approached public service.
ACTIVITY DURING 2014-2015 PARLIAMENT SEASON
Housing, services & infrastructure
Services: Al-Haiki said that the Services Committee on 1 March had discussed proposed amendments to the law for addressing psychological ailments. The Committee also discussed allotting land for centres for social services.
Standards of living, health & education
Living standards: On 28 January Al-Haiki said that she was taking measures to implement her election platform of improving living standards of citizens, and that she had held bilateral meetings with several ministers with this aim.
Female education: On 10 April Al-Haiki tabled a question for the Minister of Education regarding their strategy for vocational and technical training for women.
Elderly: Al-Haiki has stressed the importance of providing care for pensioners, especially providing facilitated access to healthcare. She quoted her own research indicating the growth of the elderly segment of Bahraini society. She questioned the Health Ministry’s strategy for increasing provision of care to the elderly. (15 April)
Health: Al-Haiki on 15 April presided over an event for the Arab League to mark International Health Day.
Rotten meat: After the Rotten Meat Committee met a number of agriculture officials, Al-Haiki warned of the risk of past mistakes being made with regard to meat imports, without the necessary measures being put in place.
Economy & employment
Foreign workers: Al-Haiki said on 3 March that so far only the symptoms, not the causes of the “free visa” issue had been dealt with; stressing that a new approach was needed to handle this issue.
Jobs market oversight: Al-Haiki on 12 March formally questioned the Minister of Labour about the project for a “National Watchdog for the Jobs Market”. She said that her question was in line with her elections platform which aspired to improve standards of living through job creation.
Employment: On 16 March, Al-Haiki expressed her “outrage” at the termination of contracts for 124 unemployed graduates by the Ministry of Labour (which cited budget shortages). Al-Haiki noted the growing number of foreigners coming to Bahrain for work at a time when the Ministry failed to employ “a few hundred Bahrainis”.
On 18 March Al-Haiki complained of “failings” in the Ministry of Labour with regard to employing graduates. She said that “in following up closely on this issue, it had been confirmed that clumsiness existed in the strategic planning which affected the Ministry’s handling of this file”.
On 27 March Al-Haiki told the media that she was ready to use her experience in the field of recruitment in the service of the 124 recent graduates whose contracts had been terminated by the Ministry of Labour. She called on them to get in touch with her. On 5 April Al-Haiki praised the Ministry of Labour’s response to her proposal for providing training to 124 employees.
On 26 May Al-Haiki submitted an official query about the Budget for the “Labour Market Observatory” project.
Agriculture: A senior Agriculture Ministry official met Al-Haiki on 1 April to discuss joint action between the Parliament and Ministries for developing agricultural projects in Bahrain.
Economic development: Al-Haiki on 22 April spoke at an international conference for the green economy in Dubai. She stressed Bahrain’s vision for sustainable development.
Following her attendance of a 3 June Property Development conference, Al-Haiki stressed the importance of cooperation between MPs and ministers to enhance the attractiveness of Bahrain’s economy, particularly in the current constrained circumstances.
Joint committees: Al-Haiki on 9 May highlighted the importance of joint committees between MPs and key economic entities. She noted the need for joint action to promote economic growth and address the issues facing citizens.
Good governance & public finance
Action Plan: Al-Haiki on 12 January and on several later occasions proposed that the parliamentary committee to discuss the Action Plan be made a permanent committee to monitor the follow-up of these proposals.
Al-Haiki abstained from the 1 February Committee vote on the Action Plan, but voted in favour for the 3 February parliamentary vote. She initially said that there was much in the Plan that remained “unclear”.
On 11 February Al-Haiki told the media that there should be a review of the work of the Action Plan Committee, given that its work was a historic first for Bahrain and lessons should be learnt, in order that future proceedings be conducted “more professionally” and so that “there is clear agreement beforehand on a procedure for dealing with the Plan before work begins on evaluating it”. However, she concluded that the Committee had “arrived at the best that could be achieved in the circumstances”.
Public debt: During the 24 March parliamentary session to discuss a possible rise in the debt ceiling, Al-Haiki 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-Haiki was one of the 20 MPs who said that they would give conditional support to raising the debt ceiling to 7bn BD.
Budget: On 4 May an extensive article by Al-Haiki discussing the Budget was published in Akhbar al-Khaleej. She called for a more radical approach to the Budget; not just “developing what has been achieved so far… instead, rethinking the whole thing so as to reflect what we really want to achieve”.
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-Haiki was one of only three MPs who voted against the interrogation.
Isa Turki sponsored a proposal for amending the Parliamentary Code to simplify the interrogation process. On 12 May, Al-Aradi supported giving priority to Turki’s draft in favour of a similar rival draft submitted to the Legal Committee.
Policing & regional security
UAE relations: Al-Haiki on 11 May met the UAE ambassador for a discussion of “activities to strengthen the solidarity between the two nations”.
Italy: On 27 May Al-Haiki met the Italian ambassador. Al-Haiki commended Italy’s support for Bahrain’s reform process.
Russia; Al-Haiki on 2 June met the Russian ambassador to discuss bilateral relations.
Rights & freedoms
National Action Charter: On the 14 February anniversary of the 2001 Constitution Referendum, Al-Haiki praised the achievements of this Constitution and said that the continuing reforms and constitutional amendments were the fruits of this achievement.
Women’s rights: Al-Haiki on 4 March praised the King’s new measures for guaranteeing the rights of divorced and widowed women.
In a 12 April newspaper article Al-Haiki stressed her own commitment to pursuing equal rights for men and women. She promised to continue raising this issue and challenging those who belittled the role of women in society.
Al-Haiki on 22 April stressed that she wanted the annual Budget to contain projects for more closely incorporating the role of women into economic development. She stressed that any cuts in the budget could not be at the expense of women’s entitlements.
Ministry of Justice: Al-Haiki met the Minister of Justice on 11 March to discuss “issues of mutual concern”.
Media: On 29 April Al-Haiki met the Information Minister who promised support for helping promote the activity of MPs.
Monarch: Al-Haiki 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
Women in sport: Al-Haiki on 21 March praised Bahrain’s recent successes in women’s sport and stressed the importance of continuing support for women’s sporting achievements.
Heritage: Al-Haiki on 1 June called for the private sector to take a greater role in preserving Bahrain’s heritage. She reiterated her support for initiatives to promote Bahrain as a tourist destination.
Parliament role & constituent engagement
Critics: In a 6 March newspaper article Al-Haiki strongly criticized those who had attacked the performance of new MPs, saying “you are not attacking ignorance and corruption, you are blindly and abusively attacking us deputies in an unjust manner. Rushing to issue condemnations and attack MPs one after the other with a string of empty and untrue accusations is no more than a bitter war against this nation.”
Sectarianism: During a 28 March newspaper article, Al-Haiki condemned the appearance of “the ugly face” of sectarianism during the previous week’s parliamentary debate on recruiting Bahraini teachers.
- Standards of living, health & education – 7
- Housing & services – 5
- Policing & regional security – 3
- Good governance & public finance – 5
- Economy & employment – 8
- Supporting constituents & youth – 7
- Rights & freedoms – 6
- Constructive Parliament role – 5
- Public visibility – 6
- Progressive/reformist credentials – 7
Results of 2014 elections – 6th Northern
Areas covered: Aali
Housing blocks: 730, 732, 734, 736, 738, 740, 742
Registered voters: 10,704; Percentage 1st round voter turnout: 20.2%
First round vote:
Rua al-Haiki – 718 (37.3%); Mohammed Al Asfour – 323 (16.8%); Majid Saleh – 280 (14.5%); Mohammed al-Aali – 261 (13.5%); Mohammed al-Bahhar – 199 (10.3%); Moayed Neamah – 61; Ali al-Sayegh – 54; Younis Jassim – 31
Second round vote:
Rua al-Haiki – 762 (61.3%)
Mohammed Al Asfour – 481 (38.7%)
Profile of election campaign: Rua Badr Mubarak Ali Ali al-Haiki
Young business consultant Al-Haiki from the outset was the local candidate pursuing the most systematic, visible and well-funded campaign, with large adverts in newspapers.
By positioning herself as a business woman and technocrat with practical experience in addressing unemployment, Al-Haiki was targeting both the middle-class “loyalist” communities and disaffected young people who want to see changes that will offer them a better future. In an interview Al-Ayam, Al-Haiki talked about a training consultancy initiative for helping increase the skills of long-term unemployed young people. One of her programmes claimed to have absorbed 778 unemployed people into the workforce.
Al-Haiki said she had proposed a housing project designed to serve young people, in parallel with existing projects. She has also called for more transparency in the process for the provision of government housing. Al-Haiki has called on the Ministry of Culture to work with local authorities to restore archeological burial mounds and compensate locals.
Al-Haiki reportedly spent 65-70,000 BD on her campaign, which makes her one of the bigger spenders. Al-Haiki is an old and important Bahraini Shia family. The fact that Rua has gained more than twice as many votes as her closest rival, the distinguished local figure Mohammed Al Asfour is a remarkable achievement.
The old village of Ali is predominantly Shia, so there was inevitably a proportion of opposition supporters who chose to boycott. However, many of the more-established families came out in support of local Shia candidates. Much of the newer development in Aali has gone to Sunni families (described by one commentator as “technocrats, liberals and business figures”), leading to a balance between the communities.
The incumbent, Ahmed al-Saati, is a respected figure and the brains behind the new “Al-Watan” political society that aspires to be a moderate and progressive force in Bahraini politics. Al-Saati’s sudden announcement half-way through the registration process that he wouldn’t be standing came as a surprise to everyone and left this contest wide open. The result was a rush of new candidates declaring their candidacies at the last minute.
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