Abu Dhabi: Members of the Federal National Council, in its closing session held on Wednesday, discussed two dozen issues including malpractice by private cosmetic surgery clinics, contamination of tap water, control of video gaming and support for Emirati inventors.
Marwan Bin Galita, First Deputy Speaker of the House, put a question to Abdul Rahman Mohammad Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention urging stringent control of plastic surgery clinics and cosmetic products.
Most procedures are extremely complex and require a high degree of anatomical knowledge and surgical skill as well as aesthetic appreciation, Bin Galita said, adding cosmetic surgery had become a growth industry and a public obsession.
He said the volume of expenditure on cosmetic operations and treatments in the country was about Dh20 billion a year.
Naama Al Sharhan, a member from Ras Al Khaimah, put a question to Suhail Bin Mohammad Al Mazroui, Minister of Energy and Industry, concerning contamination of tap water.
Al Sharhan said authorities must address the root causes of tap water contamination, which occurred in Ras Al Kaimah and Al Ain several months ago and recently in Ajman.
Al Sharhan said residents in Ras Al Khaimah complained of contaminated red colour drinking water supplied to their houses but the Federal Electricity and Water Authority said the water was completely free from any bacterial or chemical pollutants.
“Investigations showed the internal water lines of some houses, buildings and residential compounds could have rusted due to poor-quality iron,” she said.
The member said residents complained the water samples collected proved to have high percentages of iron oxide up to 2.44ppm, while the maximum level of acceptable microbiological pollutants in drinking water is only 0.3mg per litre.
Al Sharhan’s question comes in the wake of reports of water contamination in an Ajman tower where toxic chemicals are suspected to have caused the contamination that led to several residents falling ill.
Ajman Police said 190 persons sought treatment at various hospitals in Ajman and Sharjah so far.
Meanwhile, members of the House also called for more support to Emirati inventors, stringent standards for vet medicines, a unified policy for submitting suggestions and complaints to the government and reducing personal loan installments for citizens, who receive the Shaikh Zayed housing loans.
Other members suggested setting up offices for the Zakat Fund across the country, waiving fines imposed on parents for failing to obtain ID cards for their children and making affordable meals and coffee available at university campuses.
Fourth FNC session concluded
The Federal National Council concluded its fourth and final session of the 16th legislative chapter, by holding its 17th meeting on Wednesday at its headquarters in Abu Dhabi, headed by Dr Amal Abdullah Al Qubaisi, Speaker of the House.
During the meeting, 27 questions were put to 13 ministers and a decree by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan on closing the fourth session of the FNC’s 16th legislative chapter was read.
Only the Minister of Education Hussain Ebrahim Al Hammadi showed up and answered seven questions about accreditation of private training institutions, providing transportation to all school children and their examinations, performance appraisal of teachers and introducing national service into curricula of schools.
The remaining ministers either offered apologies for being unable to attend or sent answer letters to the House. The members of the House termed some answers insufficient, but the closing session prevented them from insisting that the officials show up in a next meeting.
Federal draft laws must first pass through the House for recommendations — when members can change the laws to suit the needs of citizens. The draft laws are then forwarded to the Cabinet for consideration and approval.
Al Qubaisi said that since launching the 16th legislative chapter, the FNC has continued to implement the goals of its Parliamentary Strategic Plan 2016-2021 to achieve local and international accomplishments, as part of its constitutional, legislative and monitoring competencies and its parliamentary diplomacy.
She added that the FNC held 70 sessions, where it discussed and approved 52 draft laws that helped it to develop the legislative system and keep pace with the country’s advancement, as well as to discuss 26 public issues.
Meanwhile, 317 recommendations were issued and presented to the UAE Cabinet, of which almost 99 per cent were approved.
At the end of the session, Dr Al Qubaisi conveyed greetings to the UAE leadership, led by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa, Vice-President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Their Highnesses, Supreme Council Members and Rulers of the Emirates.
The date of the FNC elections, held every four years, has yet to be announced but the 2015 parliamentary elections were held in October and the 2011 elections in September.
The representation of women in the House will be raised to 50 per cent, following a decree by Shaikh Khalifa.
The FNC is one of five federal authorities established by the UAE constitution. It has 40 members, of whom, currently, eight are women. The council’s main function is the passing, amending or rejecting of federal draft laws, discussing international treaties and agreements, and offering recommendations on general subjects raised during sessions.
Since 2006, half of the members have been elected by Emiratis to serve four-year terms and the other half are appointed by the Ruler’s Courts of the seven emirates.
The FNC also reviewed the activity reports of the Constitutional, Legislative and Appeals Committee, the Defence, Interior and Foreign Affairs Committee, the Financial, Economic and Industrial Affairs Committee, the Technological, Energy and Mineral Resources Committee, the Education, Culture, Youth, Sports and Media Affairs Committee, the Health and Environment Affairs Committee, the Social Affairs, Labour, Population and Human Resources Affairs Committee, the Islamic Affairs, Endowments and Public Facilities Affairs Committee, the Complaints Committee, and the Committees’ Chairmen Committee.