x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

FNC candidates hope to preserve cultural identity

FNC candidates from Dubai say they want to preserve Emirati culture, create better ways of communicating the needs of the people to leaders, and enhance prospects for women in the UAE.

Adil Al Fahim is looking for a middle ground between Emirati traditions and a new system to improve communication with leaders.
Adil Al Fahim is looking for a middle ground between Emirati traditions and a new system to improve communication with leaders.

DUBAI // Emiratisation, communication with leaders, the preservation of national identity and women's issues topped the list of concerns among several candidates in Dubai

Adil Al Fahim, 38, said he hopes his campaign would bridge the gap between the public and the country's leadership.

"This is something we inherited from our culture in the UAE, where people used to go to the sheikh to have coffee and discuss issues," said the father of six.

"The system was easy, and now we are missing all of these things because of the size of the country and population. "So we need to have a system in place which will help develop the good things we inherited from our fathers and grandfathers."

Mr Al Fahim is the chief financial officer for Dubai Airports. With experience in auditing, commercial law, information systems and administration, he said he has exactly what the FNC needs.

His campaign focuses on three elements: the prosperity of the people through Emiratisation and the sustainability of small and medium-sized businesses; social welfare that would include the creation of a federal strategic reserve of charitable funds and single-mother benefits; and public engagement, including the creation of a mechanism that carries citizens' issues to leaders.

"Each group representing its emirate should have an office and it must have a system and schedule of the members of the parliament to interview people," he said.

Mr Al Fahim has used radio ads, social networking platforms, and his website, adilalfahim.com to push his campaign.

Another candidate, Marwan bin Yousef Al Serkal, 30, a businessman at Al Serkal Investments, said the key issues are employment, education, health care and women's rights.

He said one of the most important issues for which women have sought his help is maternity leave.

"Interviewing women in the society, many of them said that the 45-day maternity leave is not enough, as it does not encourage in increasing the number of Emirati population," Mr Al Serkal said.

"This will have an effect on the economy and will create social issues."

While many candidates are using Facebook, Twitter and their own websites to raise awareness, they said face-to-face meetings are more effective.

Mr Al Serkal, for example, will soon greet people at Eisa bin Nasser Al Serkal majlis in Deira. His website is expected to launch soon.

"This is an opportunity that we as people deliver our message and inspirations.

"We must cooperate and be united to create better change," he said. "And only through face-to-face interactions, people will know who is serious to be part of the FNC.

Dr Mouza Ghubash, 57, a mother of three, started her campaign yesterday at Rawaq Ousha cultural club in Al Qusais under the slogan, "Together, towards a better social security."

She said she is concerned about preserving national identity as the expatriate population continues to swell.

"Our national identity is in danger and we must all join together to protect it," said the chairwoman of the permanent committee for social affairs at the Higher National Security Council, which oversees UAE federation security.

aalhaddad@thenational.ae