Is economics the cause of violence in the UAE?
MPs yesterday claimed low standards of living were driving people onto the streets to commit acts of violence. They said extremists were exploiting youths from poor families and called on the government to redirect funds to those who needed more financial support.
Pensioners were singled out as needing urgent help, with MPs accusing the government of wasting money on failed schemes instead of developing rundown areas and providing low-income groups the aid they need.
"Here comes the role of extremists. They manipulate youths and use harsh living standards as an excuse to incite them to take revenge against the government," said MP Sawsan Taqawi during yesterday's session.
The comments were made as MPs discussed the Cabinet's response to 30 pieces of legislation proposed by parliament.
Second vice-chairman MP Shaikh Adel Al Maawada accused the government of wasting money on advisors, consultancy firms and supporting struggling national carrier Gulf Air at the expense of Bahraini citizens.
"The government gives thousands of dinars to advisors and consultancy firms to tell them that emperor's clothes are beautiful, while he is wearing nothing," he said, referring to the famous short tale by Hans Christian Andersen. "This how people are living here, most have nothing.
"What Gulf Air loses in one day could, through calculations, help meet pensioners' financial needs for nine and half years."
MP Shaikh Jassim Al Saeedi claimed Bahraini's economy was losing BD3m to BD4m a week because of vandalism, which could be spent on improving living standards across the country.
"Closing roads and burning tyres on the streets costs the government around BD3m to BD4m a week," he said.
"It is clear that extremists are using living standards as one of the excuses to hijack the country.
"It is up to the government to stop them in two ways - by disciplining them and improving people's living standards."
Meanwhile, MP Khalid Al Maloud warned that people would only get more unhappy in the event of inflation.
"We don't want more extremists on the street," he said.
"We have enough and the government has to realise that people have needs that could force them to adopt extreme measures, if not fulfilled."
Parliament first vice-chairman Abdulla Al Dossary suggested increasing the minimum pension to BD200 a month and adding BD75 as an inflation payout.
"The UAE has taken our idea to have a government discount card for pensioners early next year, but we are still asking for peanuts to be given out."
Minister of State for Parliament and Shura Council Affairs Abdulaziz Al Fadhel said the Cabinet had rejected nine of the 30 proposals from parliament.
"We accepted 10, five are already implemented, two await budgeting, three are under study and nine were rejected," he said.