* Moza Mohamed Juma al-Fadhala al-Sulaiti, Shura Council candidate for Al Salata district, outlines her vision and roadmap for the country's future
* "His Highness the Amir issued the Arabic Language Law No. (7), 2019. But, we still see in some Qatari government agencies people communicating in English. We should help new generations understand that foreign languages are a tool to acquire knowledge but they have to preserve their mother tongue, Arabic and the Qatari dialect, which is derived from the language of the Holy Qur’an. They should not deviate from our identity.”
Moza Mohamed Juma al-Fadhala al-Sulaiti is contesting the Shura Council election from Al Salata electoral district with a view to bolster development and realize citizens’ aspirations and the goals of Qatar National Vision 2030. Her campaign slogan is 'A community that participates for the sake of its advancement'.
In an interview with 'Gulf Times', al-Sulaiti explained that her campaign is centered around nine pillars: human resources, health sector, social protection, safeguarding the Qatari Islamic identity and cultural heritage, protection of the environment, demographic balance, economy, governance, and consolidation of the procedures of the Shura Council.
"Since I have a wide experience of 28 years through my work and dealing with people’s problems, I think that I can offer something to Qatar and its citizens," she said. "I started working in the State Audit Bureau, and currently I am the Director of Planning and Quality at the General Retirement and Social Insurance Authority, a member of the Board of Directors of Dukhan Bank, and a member of the Board of Directors of Dlala Company Holding. "I am running for the Shura Council election in order to put my expertise and capabilities in the service of my country,” she said.
Al-Sulaiti holds an MA in Finance and Banking from the University of Salford, England, and a BA in Management from Qatar University. She is well-versed in English and French.
She has good knowledge of the concerns of citizens in her constituency. Al-Sulaiti is of the view that due to the small size of the Qatari society, the issues of concern to citizens are tangible. "Further, the nature of my work has contributed to help me to identify the needs of the community through studies, reviews and their outcomes, to identify ways to address them.”
Al-Sulaiti is of the view that “the elected members of the new Shura Council through the implementation of the legislative powers under the permanent Constitution of Qatar, will play a major role by their valuable contributions to enrich the national effort, by helping to enact, improve and develop legislation, and monitoring its implementation, and participating in devising an informed opinion in following up government performance in the various development plans."
With regard to human resources, al-Sulaiti envisages “to build citizens' capabilities to better serve the state, through the development and the updating of basic, professional and higher education methodologies, in line with values that reflect the faith and culture of society, and develop long-term strategies to link education outcomes with the needs of the labour market."
"Education is the most important axis to fight all forms of deviation and corruption. There is no stronger weapon than science. Human capital is the most valuable asset for every country in scientific, professional or health terms, and it is measured by the proportion of its ability and interaction in the labour market, as it is the force that creates and nurtures economic development and not the other way around.”
With regard to answering the citizens’ aspirations about the quality of services in the health sector, al-Sulaiti said, “citizens are looking forward to the re-establishment of health insurance. In the absence of relevant control and accountability mechanisms, the implementation of the Social Health Insurance stipulated under Law No. (7), 2013, has been disrupted in less than eight months after its implementation, and also because of its very high cost. The health insurance project was not backed by sufficient studies. There should be an effective governance system that facilitates the process of control and accountability for medical and financial errors.
"Hospitals, medical centres and clinics were not held accountable for doubling the fees of their services by more than 10 folds before the health insurance system was implemented as there is no legislation or a mechanism that regulates this problem. This had impacted state funds negatively. However, our wise leadership did not repeal this law because it is convinced of the necessity of providing comprehensive health insurance to citizens, but it was suspended due to the lack of sufficient tools to operate and monitor it. Also, one of the most important issues that members of the council should develop is to propose a rewarding salary system for Qatari medical staff, reopening the nursing school, and encouraging investment in medical and pharmaceutical activities.”
Al-Sulaiti highlighted in her electoral programme, and focused on preserving the Qatari Islamic identity and cultural heritage. She says there is a great desire on the part of citizens and the wise leadership to preserve the identity and cultural heritage. "His Highness the Amir issued the Arabic Language Law No. (7), 2019. But, we still see in some Qatari government agencies people communicating in English. We should help new generations understand that foreign languages are a tool to acquire knowledge but they have to preserve their mother tongue, Arabic and the Qatari dialect, which is derived from the language of the Holy Qur’an. They should not deviate from our identity.”
Al-Sulaiti also focused on the protection of the environment from the dangers of climate change and pollution. She estimates that “most members of society overlook the dangers of pollution that surround them and negatively affect human health. There are environment-friendly economic activities to preserve our natural resources. The outputs of some factories have adverse impact on the air, sea and soil, which are valuable assets of our country. We should enact laws and procedures to strike a balance between polluting industrial activities with high yields and environment-friendly industries.”
Al-Sulaiti also discussed how she intends to address the challenges of the imbalance in the demography of Qatar. She said “this file is very thorny, our citizens constitute less than 9% of the total population of Qatar, and this percentage is constantly decreasing as a result of the decrease in the birth rate, which is due to several reasons, most notably the reluctance of young people to get married, the advanced age of marriage, the employment of women, and other factors. We do not deny that expatriate labour is an economic labour force that benefits the state, but it affects the variables and transformations that impact the behaviour and culture of society and the national identity. Therefore, we have to find adequate remedies to preserve both sides.”
Al-Sulaiti has a sharp economic sense and has full-fledged views on how to develop economic legislation and policies to meet citizens' concerns, and views. “It should be noted that certain economic policies are not within the jurisdiction of the Shura Council and come under the Supreme Council for Economic Affairs and Investment and it is expressly stipulated by the Shura Council Law. However, there are economic policies and legislations whose scope of implementation pertains to the executive authority and which are related to very important issues such as monopoly, which limits the private business somehow. We should help in the process of encouraging the state to engage the private sector with promoting more small- and medium-size enterprises, because we have a limited local market, we need to preserve the citizens’ assets while we encourage foreign capital entry. All these issues need to be reviewed and new mechanisms developed to address them.”
Al-Sulaiti also expressed the need to develop mechanisms for monitoring government performance. “Control without accountability has no value and no positive impact. What is the point of exercising it if there is no accountability for performance deviations that cause a waste of public funds and the loss of the rights of the state and people? Control is not, as some people understand it, as a process of looking for mistakes, it is a process of correcting and improving services and performance, filling gaps or voids in legislation. Legislation void leaves the way open to personal interpretation of the person responsible for implementation, which leads to a lack of justice for the beneficiaries, and in some cases to the abuse of powers, this should be corrected and regulated.”
She looks forward to strengthen the procedures of the Shura Council, because “the previous Shura Council performed its tasks within the limits of the competencies and tools that were available to it. I see that the elected council comes under a law that defines three wide competencies that require the appropriate tools and means to fulfill its tasks, and this will not come before it is established but from within and complete its regulations. Joint committees will be formed in line with the development needs of the state.”