With the upcoming October elections for Federal National Council, Fujairah Observer caught up with local FNC candidate and Fujairah representative Ahmed Al Hafeiti. Already serving the community as Deputy CEO of Al Sharq Healthcare, Mr Al Hafeiti discusses his campaign, his platforms and his intentions once elected.
Q. Since the UAE is a young country both literally and in terms of demographic structure, do you feel the electoral experience is engaging young people enough?
A. With regards to the electoral experience, agree that the UAE is a young country. However the new generation of Young Emiratis, are more active, better qualified and well connected via social media . If you take a look back at UAE’s history since the formation of FNC, over the years many young Emiratis have exercised their voting rights . Young nationals have been appointed as senators of FNC representing respective Emirate including women. As an example in 2011, parliamentary elections had an expanded electoral college with 129,274 members, nearly 20 times more than in 2006. The new Electoral College included about 12 percent of UAE nationals. Approximately 35% of the members were under 30 years of age and 46 % were women.
Q. What key platforms do you hope to take if you are elected to the FNC as a representative of Fujairah?
A. I would like to concentrate on Healthcare focusing on Medical Services and Health Education. Our Nationals young and old is our responsibility. Government has kept its responsibility to support its citizens and expatriates by establishing Public hospital all over the country. It has also encouraged private entrepreneurs to make investments in setting up Medical establishments which one can see all over the country.
We also like to comply with International Health standards such as W.H.O and some other governing bodies. Ministry of Health for example has requested all hospitals and medical establishments to comply with Joint Commission International standard which is an excellent proposal so that each patient will get the best healthcare he deserves . I would like to see all nationals and also expatriates residents/business men/tourist etc who are our guest in our country live a healthy lifestyle (stress free , choosing the right diet and exercise).
We also need to take care of our elderly and wounded soldiers .
At Fujairah and also all over the UAE we have special care for special needs children and elderly. We need to have better home care management whereby our nurses could also go to the residences to take care of our elderly who do not like to stay at old aged homes.
We need to have road ambulances all over the country to pick up the injured while at work or road accidents etc., Some cases we need to reach out to the Golden hour and need to seriously look at medical evacuation via helicopter.
Medical insurance is another important factor and our goal should be to reach out to every national and expatriate in this country.
Q. How have you felt about the developments being made in the Emirate of Fujairah over the past 5 years?
A. Fujairah is blessed to be strategically located outside the Straits of Hormuz. Although it does not have oil as a source of revenue , it has three resources which benefit it at the moment:-
• Marine related Oil and Gas industry.
• Rock and aggregate exports
Besides the above factors to contribute to our Fujairah economy, Federal Government supports us with our infrastructure in the form of roads, ports, electricity and water, communications etc which helps the emirate to grow.
In the last 5 years, we have all that is needed in a country to make its people comfortable to live, invest and develop the country. Fujairah of the past is now behind and we are marching forward with many new developments taking shape in the field of education, healthcare, Shopping Centres and business zones such as Fujairah Free Trade Zone, Fujairah Oil and Industrial Zone, Fujairah Industrial Zone at Hayl etc ., We even have a flourishing Seaport and an International Airport with good roads leading to other emirates.
Fujairah of the future is bound to be more progressive and will proportionately benefit over the next few years as the whole UAE country is progressing to meet the vision laid out to meet the 2020 expo.
Q. What future direction do you think the UAE needs to take as a country?
A. We today all 7 emirates stand united with the President of UAE who is the head of state, the Prime Minister and the Federal National Council which is the authority formed to represent the people of the UAE.. We need to continue our allegiance to FNC formed to represent the general Emirati people and uphold its constitution.
May peace prevail. We must continue to strengthen our relationship with all the GCC members and work together for the mutual benefit to live in peace, harmony.
UAE’s oil reserves are the seventh-largest in the world while its natural gas reserves are the world’s seventeenth-largest. Our economy depends on oil and we hope there will some stability in this sector..
However, the country has is now diversifying in various other resources not to be dependent on oil which is a good strategy which should continue.
Q. What attitudes do you feel need to change towards housing, medicine and education?
A. We must praise the wisdom and compassion our President and Vice President have on its people. All areas are well managed.
Housing:- Nationals who are not able to fund their homes are provided with free land and purpose built houses. Nationals who can afford are assisted with loans which is an ongoing well managed housing program.
Medicine:- Is governed by Ministries such as DHA, HAAD and MOH. There is a process in place to register medicine imports and prices are well controlled for the benefit of all its people nationals and expatriates. We also have many Pharmaceutical companies manufacturing medicines in our country which make it easily accessible and economical.
Education:- We have many Private and Public schools and universities. Besides for some specialized academic institutions not available in the country the UAE Government has a fund to see that its citizens are privileged to reach peak of their careers and invest in their future by sending them to foreign countries for their education..
For example:- I am one of the citizen who had the opportunity to build my career. I was sent with Government grant to the United States where I graduated in BSc Healthcare Management and then I was given the opportunity to go to United Kingdom to complete my MSc in Health Service & Hospital Management. Like me many other Nationals have also this type of funding to become useful citizen in various fields.
Today with my qualification I am the Deputy CEO of a conglomerate “ Al Sharq Healthcare” which is the biggest Healthcare provider in the East Coast Region of the UAE.
All the above programs and funding to continue. We should try to accommodate all these three Housing, Medicine and Education so that it reaches out to every citizen.
Q. Do you believe the UAE still retains the seven cultural identities of the Emirates while presenting a united front? How important do you feel it is to retain this identity for Fujairah, and other Emirates?
Although we are 7 emirates that make up our country United Arab Emirates, each emirate preserves it own cultural identity. We cherish our religion, culture and preserve our past history with museum, forts, castles, song and dances etc., We have come a long way from 5500 BC, the 17th to 19th century, British era of oil discovery and independence in 1971. After independence and till today am happy to see that the country has strengthened itself in various fields of Political , Military, Law, Human rights, economy and various other factors. The country today can be considered as a modern city well acclaimed all over the world.
Its important to retain our identity in Fujairah and other emirates as one national, living harmoniously as one Arab nation , continue to follow our Islam, be spiritual and tolerant to all forms of people of our country.
Q. What role does FNC have with environmental issues both local and international? What is your stance on improving the public’s awareness on water conservation, waste and other issues pertaining to the environment?
FNC is working with international bodies to keep our environment clean from all air, land and sea.
Our late President H.H. Sheikh Zayed planted many trees and the whole country is following suite.
One fine example is the Masdar City which is a planned city project in Abu Dhabi. It covers an area of 6 km2 and also includes Masdar Institute of Science and Technology.
It embodies:- Research and Academia, Clean Technology Investments, Solar Impulse and many other initiatives (check the website :www.masdar.ae).
In Fujairah we are also following the path of organizing events and planting trees which one can see all over the country. We take great care of our land area and the sea. We have strict monitoring process in place controlled by the Seaport of Fujairah to check if there is any pollution that takes place in its territorial waters. Various environmental companies are working in the port on hand in case there is an incident it can be brought under control. Medical waste and garbage is well controlled and disposed of with proper incinerators organized by the Municipality.
I would certainly see that all projects undertaken in the emirate of Fujairah safeguard our environment - air, land and sea. I would set up monitoring devices so that there a continuous sustainability exists for the betterment of our UAE, our planet earth which will be helpful to our future generation.
Q. Do you feel enough is done to educate voters on what power and impact candidates can have on their lives?
Although the Federal National Council is the authority of the UAE formed to represent the general Emirati people the National Election Committee (NES) conducts the election and is authorized to nominate the electoral college members. NEC was established in February 20011 by a consensus of the UAE Supreme Council. This NEC is also responsible to notify all its citizens about voting education and is effectively reaching out to all parts of the emirates.
Elections is new in this country and will take time to educate the people about, but its done systematically, and that by increasing the population gradually till cover every one.
My objectives are
To give back something to my people and my country because they deserve the best.
To strengthen the relations with our people
To gain the experience
My Electoral Headquarters is in the Novotel Hotel, where I meet with people both male and female to educated them about my campaign, and I also visit people in their villages and I also use social media.