16 – 22 Apr 2015
After several weeks when much parliamentary debate concerned one or two issues, MPs on 21 April covered a very broad range of matters affecting the lives of constituents.
For example, MPs agreed a proposal for making Bahrain a centre for health tourism. We will cite just some of the decisions taken by Parliament this week below:
Health Minister interrogation
Also in the context of the Financial Audit Bureau report, several MPs – most prominently Adel al-Asoumi – have been calling for the interrogation of the Health Minister to look into a number of issues. One of the matters of concern was the use of foreign brokers to arrange for sending Bahrainis overseas for medical treatment.
These efforts resulted in the signatures of around 30 MPs on a proposal calling for the Minister to be summoned. This has been forwarded to the Head of Parliament, Ahmed al-Mulla for approval.
The Health Minister was in Parliament on 21 April and came under fire from a number of MPs. Ali Bufursan challenged why the Ministry was still recruiting foreign medical staff, when on balance Bahraini medics were cheaper. Abdulhamid al-Najjar cited the high costs faced by the disabled for prosthetic limbs and other essential needs; and Jamal Dawoud asked why the Ministry wasn’t doing more to raise awareness of the health dangers of fast food.
Following the findings of the Financial Audit Bureau report, several MPs, including Mohammed al-Ahmed, have been lobbying for increased action to monitor the financial dealings of the sovereign wealth fund, Mumtalakat. These MPs got their wish this week with agreement for the formation of a parliamentary committee to investigate this issue.
Several MPs had private bills they proposed approved by the majority of MPs this week. Jamila al-Sammak was among the signatories of a proposal for Bahrain to become a centre for health tourism.
Ali Bufursan was one of a group of MPs who have been calling for some time for a branch of Bahrain University to be set up in Muharraq. Bufursan pointed out that because of the difficulty of attending university, many Muharraq young people had joined the army instead of pursuing their education.
MPs Khaled al-Shaer and Mohammed al-Ahmed had their proposal approved for a health centre in Isa Town, with proposals for other health centres under discussion.
Abdulrahman Bu-Ali also saw his proposal accepted for renovated fishing facilities in Hidd, in Muharraq.