Scathing Comments on Labor Minister Statement: MPs Comment on Twitter Instead of Parliament

2020-02-13 - 3:47 am

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Bahraini ministers who live in luxury villas, and receive monthly salaries and allowances that exceed 7,000 dinars, and enjoy expensive material and livelihood privileges, do not stop issuing statements, from time to time, that provoke Bahrainis who complain about poor financial conditions amid high prices, expensive cost of living and the value-added tax (VAT), which came to empty their pockets.

After an earlier comment by the Minister of Housing on citizens' complaints about the small sizes of houses offered by the housing ministry, he said: Capacity is in the heart! Following a subsequent comment by the speaker of the Shura Council denouncing the poor in Bahrain, when he wondered: How do poor people buy cars, today comes the Minister of Labor to say that 366 dinars can meet the basic requirements of a family of 6 members or more.

In response to a question from MP Abdullah Al-Dhawadi about the number of Bahraini individuals and families living below the minimum basic requirements of life, Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Jamil Hmaidan replied  by saying: "Social assistance is given based on the minimum limit of basic life requirements, which is referred to as the monthly income required for the livelihood of both families and individuals, which is estimated at 336 dinars for a family of 6 or more, based on the latest study adopted in this area."

This statement provoked condemnation and disapproval of the Bahraini public, and it was remarkable that a number of MPs participated in commenting on this statement on Twitter instead of the House of Representatives.

MP Zainab Abdulameer said: "If the Minister of Labor is sincere in his statements about the study he conducted that a salary of 336 dinars is enough for the livelihood of a family of six, let him give up his salary and live with that amount and then give us his opinion. He cannot come out of his ivory tower at the financial port to cover up the poverty line [issue] in Bahrain."

Meanwhile, MP Yousif Al-Thawadi voiced his opinion by saying: "I consider the comment of the minister of labor and social affairs that 336 dinars per month is enough for a family of six a mockery and an insult to the intelligence of the Bahraini citizen, and it is proof that his highness is way distant from the local situation. This is not suitable for a minister who is directly responsible for social affairs in Bahrain."

For his part, MP Hamad Al-Kooheji said: "336 dinars contradicts the Minister of Labor and Social Development's [statement] . If we assume that a family of six members lives on a tuna can daily: the price of Al-Alali tuna can is 800 fils x 6 individuals x 30 days x 3 meals for a person per day = 432 dinars per month, let alone the expenses of clothing, electricity, education, fuel, debts and rent."

Social media sites were flooded with comments slamming the minister's statement, as Bahrainis called for "reducing the salaries of ministers to 336 dinars in line with the government's austerity policy and setting an example for people."

"While the Minister of Labor confirms that the beneficiaries of social assistance are 1,729 families and individuals, estimated at 336 dinars for a family of six or more, according to the latest study, MP Al-Nafei brags about the fact that the salaries of foreigners reach up to thousands of dinars."

Bahrainis do not know which of the studies Hmaidan adopted to issue such a statement. The last published study was in 2011, i.e. nine years ago, during which Bahrain experienced a surge in prices and high cost of living in addition to taxation. Where did the Minister of Labor get his numbers from?

Perhaps the funniest comment posted on social media mocking the statements issued by Bahraini ministers is.

The ministers and officials' opinion regarding Bahraini citizens:

Minister of Housing: Capacity is in the heart.

Minister of Commerce: Bahraini youths are not creative.

Minister of Labor: 336 dinars is enough for a family of 6 and more

Chamber of Commerce president: Young Bahrainis refuse to work

Speaker of the Shura Council: Poor people buy cars?

Arabic Version