People have high confidence in Shura: Mantheri

MUSCAT: His Majesty Sultan Qaboos has accorded utmost consideration and care to the development Majlis Ash’shura, Dr Yahya bin Mahfoudh al Mantheri, Chairman of the State Council, has said.
In an interview to Shurufat Al Majlis, a perodical magazine, he said His Majesty the Sultan always praises the achievements of the Shura at the national level and the remarkable communication it has established between the government and the citizens.
Dr Al Mantheri said: “We have noticed a qualitative progress on the awareness about the role of Shura. This is reflected by the figures of voters in each term. Voter numbers in the seventh term was 400,000 and in the current term, it is 600,000.”
According to him, the aim of the Shura is to contribute to the government’s development efforts and support them.
On the cooperation between Council of Oman and Council of Ministers, he said the Royal Directives of His Majesty the Sultan require continued meetings between members of the two councils for further coordination and cooperation.
“There is a Joint Ministerial Committee represented by the Bureaus of the State Council and Majlis Ash’shura on the one hand, and the ministers on the other hand. The committee holds periodical meetings at the annual sessions of each term. This is expected to reinforce confidence of the citizens in the Council of Oman as well as cooperation in the execution of development programmes between the two councils.”
Highlighting the topics discussed in the fifth term, he said: “The fifth term (2011-2015) discussed 61 topics, including draft laws referred by the government, proposals submitted by council, and reports and studies put forward by the special committees.”
According to Dr Al Mantheri, the responsibility of voter becomes greater as regards the selection of eligible candidate for Shura. He has to take into consideration issues concerning the nation and its interest as well as his own interest and that of the citizens.
“Voter should not be partial to his kinship or friends in his selection of the member of Majlis Ash’shura unless he meets conditions qualifying him for that membership. This includes knowledge, experience, service to society. It is a joint responsibility of both parties (candidate and voter).”
As for the participation of citizens with regard to supporting Shura, he said: “There are citizens who put forward proposals and views to the council, which, in turn, will study and forward them to the authorities concerned along with the recommendations of council members.”
He said the council, through its website and social media accounts, receives several remarks from citizens. “This reinforces the joint partnership between the council and the citizens.”
He said the State Council has taken initiatives on several occasions to begin dialogue with society. It organised a seminar in April 2014 titled ‘The National Symposium on the Best Social Omani Practices’. It discussed many issues, including social values, orientation in social occasions and the role of mass media.
The council also organised a workshop on ‘Revision of the Legislations Regulating the Work of the National Manpower in the Private Sector’ in March 2015.
On the role of mass media in conveying the message of the council, he said: “We strongly believe it is one of the important components of development. To this effect, a Secretariat General for Information and Public Relations has been appointed at the State Council. It has a specialised department of mass media and alternative media, represented by various forms of social media.”
The council brings out many publications, including ‘Shurufat Al Majlis, which covers with parliamentary studies and articles.
Al Mantheri said women have been accorded utmost consideration by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos as “one of the effective players in the march of the blessed Renaissance”. They have been given an opportunity to participate equally beside men in the elected council.
In conclusion, Al Mantheri lauded the experience of student councils. “It is likely these councils will lay the foundation for future members of these parliamentary councils in a modest but important way.”

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