Dubai: Badr Al Busaidi, Secretary-General of Oman’s Foreign Ministry, defended a tweet that received lots of negative feedback in the Omani blogosphere. The reactions follow a recent decision by Oman’s cabinet to restrict the number of products controlled by the Public Authority for Consumer Protection. When many Omanis tweeted their disappointment with the decision, Al Busaidi tweeted: “Omanis get free education, free health care, subsidised petrol. Quite a few of the staples are also subsidied! Get real!”

People on Twitter criticised Al Busaidi’s opinion on the Cabinet’s decision, and called on officials and decision-makers to be more realistic regarding the circumstances of citizens.

However, Al Busaidi said his tweet was directed towards foreigners, adding that the tweet was purposely sent in English because it was directed towards foreigners as part of the country’s efforts to attract investments and enhance Oman’s competitiveness.

“I want to thank everyone who contributed with their views, even those that oppose mine. We are all citizens who are loyal to Oman, and its leader who provides for the people,” Al Busaidi responded in a tweet.

“There is no disputing Oman’s capabilities, and the capabilities of its citizens to accept and respect all views and opinions. We all wish the best for Oman. My tweet was an opinion and [it] was within the context of a series of tweets. Whoever thinks that what I said was out of place or as [a] favour to someone, I say: far from it.”