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Sunday , January 29 2023

Social justice is basis of rule

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THE President of the United Arab Emirates Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in his capacity as the ruler of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, disbursed an aid package amounting to three billion dirhams to the citizens of the Emirate. This includes the disbursement of housing loans and for writing off the loans of the retirees and the deceased.

This is a continuation of the housing packages for the year 2022, which amounted to about seven billion dirhams, in line with the UAE leadership’s keenness to ensure social stability and enhance living standards and a decent life for the country’s citizens.

This step, which coincided with the UAE’s celebration of the 51st National Day, is not the first to be ordered by the leaders of the sisterly country who are keen to meet their people in the middle of the road so as not to force them to raise their voices to redress their grievances, if any.

On this occasion, I remember the time when the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan was inspecting the date palm plantation in his palace and didn’t see the person who usually takes care of the plantation. He was told that he was in prison because he borrowed 100,000 dirhams from the bank, and had defaulted in repayment.

Sheikh Zayed then asked to bring the bank manager and asked him, “Why did you lend him money when you knew his salary did not exceed three thousand dirhams?”

The manager said, “We lent the money to him because he works for your Highness, but he defaulted on the payment.”

The sheikh’s response was, “The bank bears the responsibility for wasting its money, not this poor person because the bank gave him the money without any guarantees.”

The late sheikh then ordered the release of the palm grower, arguing that the creditor who excessively spends money is the debtor, not the one defaulting to pay.

On a previous occasion, we had talked about the woman who met Sheikh Zayed at a famous market in Abu Dhabi, injured his hand when she held it, and explained to him her circumstances after her husband was imprisoned for failing to pay a debt, and how the Sheikh then ordered the release of prisoners who are serving sentences because of civil debts, and their return to work, as well as to secure job opportunities for those who do not have a job.

The United Arab Emirates is not the only country where the rulers work to do justice to their citizens. In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, King Salman ordered an aid package for citizens a while ago. In Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad ordered the waiver of loans for citizens, and made electricity free for people with limited incomes.

In Kuwait, whenever the issue of justice to the needy is raised or to drop personal loans for the defaulters, a group raises the slogan of “preserving rights”, claiming that this is contrary to “social justice,” and those who did not borrow must be considered equal to the borrower, forgetting that the latter did not need to borrow, and had financial sufficiency, as it is inconceivable.

Perhaps for the 1,000th time, we repeat that arrest warrants have been issued against 120,000 citizens who are prohibited from traveling and cannot complete any transaction in the state departments because the moneylenders and those who trade in dud cheques are obstructing any solution to this issue. This is putting pressure on thousands of Kuwaiti families, while the Central Bank is not moving a finger.

Here we ask – Is it social justice that those who live in old houses in Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh and Khaitan and those with limited income can be considered as equal to those who live in Yarmouk or Abdullah Al-Salem suburb and own millions such that the two pay the same electricity fees? Isn’t it fair to subsidize those with limited income and tax the rich to give to the needy?

Indeed, what Kuwait needs is a move from the judiciary by expressing its opinion on the outdated laws, instead of leaving the matter to the influentials and the lenders who want nothing in the world except to possess everything and invest politically and electorally in the misfortunes of the people.

What the President of the United Arab Emirates did is true social justice because he did justice to the needy without them asking for it. Therefore, that is a true act of justice, which is the basis of rule.

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah

Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times