Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 17 November 2019

FNC members set to raise issues on sanitation and citizenship

UAE ministers will respond to questions at a council session on Wednesday

The FNC in session. Photo: Antonie Robertson / The National) 
The FNC in session. Photo: Antonie Robertson / The National) 

UAE ministers are set to be questioned on issues ranging from sanitation to citizenship at a Federal National Council session on Wednesday.

Members will raise concerns about reports of poor water quality, sewage leaks and long queues for those seeking Emirati citizenship.

Naama Al Sharhan, a council member, said she had been contacted by residents of Ras Al Khaimah and Al Ain about possible water contamination.

She said families had reported dirty yellow or brown water coming from household taps and had asked authorities to investigate.

“I went to visit a family [in Ras Al Khaimah] myself and saw the water coming out of the tap looking yellow instead of clear,” she said.

“There were also local TV reports where they took samples of water in different areas and it was coloured.

"So I want to ask the minister [of Energy and Industry] why this has occurred. What is the reason for the unclear water and what can be done to stop it.

“After I posted my question on Instagram yesterday, I received comments from residents in Al Ain saying they have been facing the same issue.”

Ms Al Sharhan said she would be addressing her questions to Suhail Al Mazroui, the Minister of Energy and Industry, at this week's FNC session.

She also said she believed water pipes and sewage networks in some residential areas needed to be inspected and may require maintenance.

She referred to an incident last week in Ajman where a sewage leak resulted in hundreds of local residents seeking hospital treatment.

“Water is the basis of life if water is polluted it will affect the residents directly,” she said. “There has been a lot of unrest among residents.”

Ms Al Sharhan went on to say she also hoped to hear from Abdulrahman Al Owais, the UAE Minister of State for FNC affairs.

She said she had been made aware of various difficulties faced by children of Emirati mothers and non-Emirati fathers wanting to renew their residency.

Under UAE law, children who have Emirati mothers but whose fathers are foreign nationals are not granted citizenship automatically.

Initially, they are required to take their father’s nationality and apply for Emirati citizenship once they turn 18. A recent presidential decree, however, lowered the age to six.

“I’ve received complaints from many mothers that their sons have to queue up for long hours,” said Ms Al Sharhan.

"The mothers also suffer when they have to do it with their younger children.

"If the leadership has decided to treat them equally and grant them citizenship, why are we making them struggle when going through regular procedures? They are literally the children of the UAE."

Wednesday’s FNC session will conclude the body’s current term. Its next term will start following elections scheduled for later this year.

Updated: June 11, 2019 07:30 PM

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