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MPs, columnists rapped for creating panic over pension amendments

Bahrain News
Thu, 14 Jun 2018
Mohammed Al A'Ali

MEMBERS of the Shura Council yesterday attacked MPs, newspaper columnists and social media for creating public panic over amendments to Bahrain’s pension rules.

They yesterday demanded the Pension Fund Authority (PFA) or the Finance Ministry to arrange a Press conference to announce future pension plans and ease people’s concerns.

An extraordinary session of the chamber took place to approve amendments to pension rules, giving the government power to make changes without National Assembly approval.

“The amendments will help protect funds and the scare is caused by intellectually bankrupt individuals – whether MPs, columnists or social media,” said services committee chairwoman Dr Jihad Al Fadhel, whose committee supported the move.

“It is not a knife that cuts into people’s rights, as it has been described.

“There has been wrong information published, but it is old and baseless - the amendments are different.”

Member Abdulrahman Jamsheer said the Shura Council had been the target of insults as a result of the pension “confusion”.

“The Press and social media has contributed to huge confusion that gave us and the whole country a headache,” he said.

“For a week we have been deprived of sleep because of insults directed at us from people who don’t know the situation.”

However, member Bassam Albinmohammed said the government’s silence on future plans had fuelled people’s mistrust.

“Those with sick agendas and psychopaths have been circulating rumours, which they could because the government stayed silent,” he said.

“This is despite the amendments having genuine value and importance.”

However, member Sayed Deyaa Al Mousawi voted against the amendments.

“Does the government want us to give more power to the wrong people?” he asked.

“The government fund will remain strong until 2028, private until 2034 and public office until 2031 so there is no scare, but the government wants to ride the wave of austerity.”

Foreign affairs, defence and national security committee vice-chairman Shaikh Adel Al Maawada, who also opposed the move, said it was wrong for legislators to hand over authority to the government.

Services committee vice-chairman Nawar Al Mahmood abstained during voting yesterday, despite backing the amendments when it was debated in his committee.

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