Muscat: Three new and key royal decrees by Sultan Haitham Bin Tariq Al Said, namely No. 6/2021, 7/2021, and 9/21, announced last week were published in the official gazette of Oman yesterday, January 17.
The first two decrees on Oman’s new constitution (new state Basic Law) and on the Council of Oman, due to their remarkable content were eagerly received in Oman and abroad.
Oman News Agency (ONA) reports that Royal Decree No. 6/2021 promulgates a new Basic Law of the State, and focuses on setting a specific and stable mechanism for the transfer of power in the Sultanate. It also sets in motion a mechanism for the appointment of a Crown Prince outlining his duties, specialisations and prerogative. The decree affirms the principle of ‘rule of the law’ and underlines the independence of the Judiciary and Justice as basic pillars of rule in the country.
The decree underscores the State’s role in sponsoring citizens’ rights and liberties, notably, equality between men and women, child care, rights of the disabled, youth welfare, compulsory education until the end of the basic education stage and encouraging the setting up of universities.
The decree also focuses on promoting scholarly research and sponsoring talented scholars and innovators, focuses on the right to decent life, human dignity, safe and secure life and the inviolability of private life.
The decree ordains prisons to be seen as institutions of reform and that it should come under the supervision of the judiciary. Protection of the heritage is underscored and any violation in breach of the same is a crime punishable by law.
The Basic Law also dedicated a full chapter to the governance of state institutions, the follow-up of government performance and the monitoring of the same through a committee that reports directly to the Sultan. The committee’s task shall include following up and assessing the performance of ministers, under-secretaries and officials of similar ranking. The role of the State’s Financial and Administrative Audit Institution will also be enhanced in this respect.
The Basic Law reiterates the importance of establishing a system for local administration. It also underscores the role of the Council of Oman and its contribution to the country’s comprehensive development. A special chapter on the Council of Oman includes important provisions such as endorsing or amending laws, proposals on draft laws, development plans and state budgets that requires to be passed through by the government. It sets standards for follow-up of the Majlis Al Shura.
As for the Council of Oman law, Royal Decree No. 7/2021 has defined its prerogatives, conditions for its membership and all rights and duties of its members and other affairs of the Council.