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Do you want to see – in writing – what a bitchslap looks like? Of course you do, we’re all human and enjoy a bit of “entertainment”. Well, head over this morning’s Al-Wasat newspaper and read the Minister of Labour’s response to the Chamber of Commerce’s weedy objections to imposing the forthcoming labour fee. That, my friends, is a thing of beauty that I don’t think that the Chamber will awake from for some time to come.

وقال العلوي إن «المنجز الوطني الذي تحقق بخفض نسب البطالة في المملكة عبر البرنامج الوطني للتوظيف حظي برعاية من جلالة الملك ورئيس الوزراء وأفردت له موازنة مالية بمكرمة من لدن جلالة الملك، ولا ينبغي أن يتم تسخير هذا المنجز الوطني الذي منح البحرين مزيداً من الأمن الاجتماعي الذي بدوره ينعكس انتعاشاً اقتصادياً على جميع القطاعات لصالح التنصل من الالتزامات الوطنية تجاه المجتمع، بدلاً من أن تدعو الغرفة أعضاءها ليتولوا القيام بدورهم تجاه مجتمعهم ووطنهم بترسيخ هذا المنجز بالإسهام الفاعل بإعطاء المواطن الأفضلية في التوظيف. بل ولا ينبغي لأي كان أن يستثمر ارتفاع فائض الموازنة الحكومية والموارد المالية للحكومة بفعل ارتفاع أسعار النفط في اتجاه عدم فرض الرسوم الجديدة، وتجاهل أن الرسوم الجديدة لا ترقى بأيّ حال إلى مستوى رسوم العمالة الوافدة المقررة في أية دولة خليجية، في محاولة للتنصل من قيام القطاع التجاري بدوره تجاه مجتمعه».

I am impressed.

Why are they whining anyway? It’s a cost for God’s sake, and one that is applied evenly across the board; meaning that everyone will have this added cost so it is simply raising the floor a bit from which you add your margins. To go around and around and for so long about these charges is embarrassing for goodness’ sake. The only thing these objections do – considering that the Chamber is represented on the board of the Labour Reforms is further alienating the normal citizen from business people or even worse, entrenching the vision that we are simply vampires sucking the blood out of this society and giving nothing back.

What the Chamber should do is inspire more people to come into the business field, or at worst just work on attracting more members from the very same business community it purports to protect into their rolls. Did anyone ask for instance how many people are actually paid-up members in the Chamber for it to purport to represent the business community? I know that it is a very small percentage and although plans are in place to increase the membership, this should be its top priority rather than continuously unjustly complain about how much of a bad deal we’ve got.

This is embarrassing, it’s beginning to sound like the Chamber is nothing more than a nagging old hag. Get with the program and support the Labour Reforms initiative wholeheartedly. The money collected by them will only come to serve us in the near future by ensuring that Bahrainis get properly trained and employed. So what is there – legitimately – to complain about?

    9 November 2007

    a person (or a small group of people) with power from the chamber of commerce personally doesnt like the new charge. they lobby the full view of the chamber to come out and complain that the charge is a negative thing, thus giving it weight (ie, its coming from the chamber of commerce, not a single person)

    so this is a case of someone putting their personal interest above those of the country/society. its been done before.

    hopefully this time, it wont be allowed to happen, and hopefully this bitchslap hits these people so hard in the face that they realize this sort of this escape route is not available to them anymore

  • bahraini4eva
    9 November 2007

    Mahmood, I ask you this question, you, like the average respectable businessman, criticize the BCCI whenever you get a chance, but have you done anything in the past year or so to help it “inspire more people to come into the business field” (You are a member of one of it’s committees, and I have not heard anything about that committee yet!)? Quite frankly, it’s not the BCCI that’s nagging but you, because you don’t ask for answers but just go about pointing fingers like you have done in the past (and generalize constantly too)! The BCCI has become very active ever since the election of the new board and all Bahrainis certainly know this, but unfortunately, you NEVER covered any of its previous public statements, meetings and activities!

    The BCCI DOES support the Labour Reforms initiative initiated by his Highness the Crown Prince, but points out its concern for the benefit of the Bahraini businessmen and economy as a whole!

    It’s not the BCCI that should be embarrassed, but you!

    p.s.Removing my message comes to show just how open-minded you are to criticism (unless it has been removed because I chose not to provide my e-mail address which is silly)

  • Sadek
    9 November 2007

    1.Where’s the money going?
    2.and frankly the business community have as much a right to have a say that they have their reservations as anybody else. After all they are right in the middle of it.
    Emotive arguments, as the ones above (including yours Mo), unfortunately do not contribute to a dialogue. I think they have a case that should be listened to and discussed seriously.

  • The Joker
    9 November 2007

    Mckenzi’s project, in abstract, is a sound proposal. The people in charge of implimenting it, on the other hand, have a habit of losing lots of money real fast (GOSI, labour fund part one 2001, and most recently Ministry of Finance’s challenge to quantify the government’s properties.)

  • can we talk
    9 November 2007

    the only thing necessary to ensure that it works is that it is applied to EVERYONE. NO EXCEPTIONS. 😉 so it doesnt only raise the floor for some people and give others a copmpetitive advantage.

  • can we talk
    9 November 2007

    if i was browsing your site, your pages are slightly crooked. i dont know if its me, but for example on page “just fifteen”, by the time i got to entry 35, the comments started off the page so you couldnt read them. (only about 5 degrees NNW but enough to be sliced off on a long page). this better not be my computer!

  • mahmood
    9 November 2007

    CWT, welcome back. I missed you! The problems you’re experiencing are due to you using Microsnot, if you were to use FireFox you will have a much more pleasurable experience on this and other sites 😉


    but have you done anything in the past year or so to help it “inspire more people to come into the business field”

    I’m a member of the Young Businessmen Committee and head two of its subcommittees, one is the creation of a comprehensive database of the 18-40 businessmen and women and the other is the subcommittee concerned with highlighting the role of young businessmen in the media. We have put the framework for both and made progress in both for whoever is taking over these subcommittees later on this month to do really well with them. My term ends in Nov and I shall not renew as I think that younger people – the very people who the committee is concerned with – should be represented fully in it and should also lead it. I’m not sure what the average age of our committee is, but I’ll warrant it it closer to 40 than it is to 25 where it should be.

    I agree with you, we should have done a lot more than the time allocated allowed, but at least we have done something.

    What have YOU done, other than personally attacking me? Anything?

    Regardless, I shall disregard your petty outburst as I am sure you do agree that I have as much – if not more – right to criticise the BCCI than you do. And I stand by my criticism. Deal with it.


    1.Where’s the money going?

    There is a pretty tight oversight committee to determine where the money goes and how it is to be collected, specifically there are 2 representatives each from the BCCI, 2 from the Workers’ Union and I think 4 from the government agencies.

    I wouldn’t be worried too much about this if I were you. That also comes under the watchful eye of our illustrious parliament, but I would hazard a guess that the people chosen for the board will have enough integrity to watch the dosh rather closely.

    I think they have a case that should be listened to and discussed seriously

    What is the case exactly? That their costs per foreign employee will increase? So what? How much does a business pays the government for licenses and other things in Dubai? Do they complain as much as our cap-in-hand-business-community-that-is-solely- surviving-on-government-handouts?

    We want to get away from this for God’s sake, why is that so difficult to comprehend?


    p.s.Removing my message comes to show just how open-minded you are to criticism (unless it has been removed because I chose not to provide my e-mail address which is silly)

    Don’t flatter yourself. Your comments (both of them) were held for moderation as your non-existent email was not approved nor validated.

    I just released one and deleted the duplicate. I’ve just come from a whole wonderful day in the garden and didn’t take a break until now. Yes, be thankful that you have a platform to air your views regardless of how distasteful or frivolous they are.

    Have a wonderful evening.

  • can we talk
    9 November 2007

    thanx for the warm welcome..
    was that intentional?

  • bahraini4eva
    10 November 2007

    “What have YOU done, other than personally attacking me? Anything?”
    I attack the way you tend to generalize and just point fingers, and do it for a reason, to make you have a taste of what it’s like to be criticized by you. If you are not accepting of it, then you should not be the one doing it!

    “ thankful that you have a platform to air your views regardless of how distasteful or frivolous they are.”
    I am thankful that you did post my “distasteful or frivolous” comments, and thankful too that you shall “disregard” my “petty outburst” as you have obviously disregarded that Young Businessmen Committee!

  • Mavis
    10 November 2007

    I do not know too much of the Bahrain government, but if it’s like every other government, I see much corruption unless a tight reign is in place for this fee.

    I also wonder if the Chamber of Commerce is objecting because they don’t get a take? I don’t mean bribe, but sometimes government agencies get a percentage of whatever tax or fee…just wondering.

  • bahraini fil '3urba
    10 November 2007

    Completely agree with bah4eva. You are quick to point fingers and make judgements without really analyzing any one issue. The more I read your posts, the more I realize your self-serving approach to dissecting issues. You try to play the “man of the people” image and pick your criticisms to that end. But this is your blog and you have all the right to do so. This, however, doesn’t change the fact that you sit on your proverbial throne, point fingers and criticize, yet do nothing to help rectify the very “problems” you address. Its getting a little old mahmood.

  • mahmood
    10 November 2007

    and do it for a reason, to make you have a taste of what it’s like to be criticized by you.

    Our American friends have a very apt saying which comes to mind now and you should ready yourself to partake of it enthusiastically; it goes something like this:

    Kiss my ass!

    Then if you can’t get enough, please repeat the process.

    I stand by my criticism of the subjects I choose to criticise fully declaring who I am and where I am coming from. While you? A child that throws a rock in a crowd to just “wake them up” to the error of their ways and then runs away – terrified even though he is an anonymous coward to start with.


    So once again if you didn’t get it already:

    On your knees boys and polish those luscious lips.

  • mahmood
    10 November 2007

    bahraini fil ‘3urba, please join the queue, be prepared to wait a little though.

  • Nawaf
    10 November 2007


    Read the board’s response in the papers today. You’ll have a clearer picture.
    Plus, not all businesses make the huge margins to afford paying these extra costs. I mean 10BD per laborer.. come on??!

  • Salman
    10 November 2007

    For the poster of comment #11, this is probably going to affect him, that is why is he moaning about it. His blog has only brought him fame and fortune, for being “different”.

    Mahmood, why do you never criticize the Prime Minister? Afraid of being sent behind the sun?

    Practice your freedom of speech to the full. Lets see your bravery.

  • Sadek
    10 November 2007

    The McKenzie concept is very sound and very clever, and if transparently implemented by the EDB in its original form, should give positive results. However the implementation mechanism has been tweaked and diluted whereby too many players (outside the original sponsor)are now involved. In addition, overlays to the program have been superimposed, politicised and I am afraid will become a source of patronage. In other words the economy will become even more dependent on the government, or at least its surrogates.
    Its not the oversight of the “oversight committee” that’s concerning,its the environment whereby the mechanism would be bypassed which is the issue. You have talked about free visas previously – will this not happen?
    I agree with you that Dubai imposes “taxes”, and some would say debatebly excessive, but the quid pro quo is that the system there has greatly nourished the the general business environment. Businesses there are willing willingly to pay it. Today Dubai is a major global commercial and financial center. It has built such a critical mass that these “taxes” are part of the cost of operating in the city. Interestingly it has been at our cost.
    I would argue that we here has some way to go to reach their state, others would disagree with me and say that we have stagnated.
    A competitive economy is a delicate thing, with the non-government participants expecting a semblance of equality, fairness and gain. That’s why the busiess community should not be ignored.

  • mahmood
    10 November 2007

    Oy! this applies to you too. I know that you are mentally challenged, and I know too that in your case it is genetic due to hereditary conditions, but even stupid people get a hint. Sometimes.

  • mahmood
    10 November 2007

    S, I didn’t say nor intimate that the business community should be ignored. What I said is that this initiative has been politicised beyond belief that if touched once again will be completely bankrupt and will not serve anyone.

    As it is now and with the lowly increase per foreign worker it should not affect any business. If it does, then the business is in serious jeopardy and it might as well close down as an act of mercy.

    I know that the McKinsey suggestions if implemented in full might achieve the result of Bahranisation and more importantly create an appropriate workforce for this age with freedom to move from one job to another and substandard employees can be let go without them throwing the dice and trying their luck in court, but this is what has remained of it and it should be encouraged to work, rather than continue to raise illogical and impractical flags against its implementation.

    What the Chamber seems to be saying is that it (its members that is, or those who are paid up I presume) are not interested in taking even a temporary and short term hit in favour of long term change.

    Well excuse me, there is a rock on the road that is called “Bahrainis are not worth employing because they are _________ (fill in the blank)” and now that condition is being removed, or moved to the side of the road, they’re complaining that “the economic and educational reforms should come first” before imposing this huge BD10 fee is ludicrous.

    What they should be doing is biting at the bit to get on with the game. They should demand a faster and parallel implementation of the three reform projects in order to shorten the time to market and get past that rock, not bitch and moan about an insignificant thing. They are in effect embarrassing the whole business community and make them look like one-sided vampires.

    We’re not and I refuse to be part of this stream of thought. I have no problem – given my minute size compared to those on the BCCI’s board – playing my part and ponying up. I suspect that the majority of SMEs are in the same boat too.

    So who’s really complaining about this then?

  • Nawaf
    10 November 2007

    أوضحت غرفة تجارة وصناعة البحرين من خلال ممثليها في مجلس إدارة هيئة تنظيم سوق العمل السيدين عادل حسين المسقطي النائب الثاني لرئيس الغرفة، ورجل الأعمال فاروق يوسف المؤيد، أن موافقة مجلس إدارة الهيئة على زيادة رسوم العمل لا يعني موافقة الغرفة على ذلك، وأكدت أن ممثليها في مجلس إدارة الهيئة أبديا تحفظهما على قرار رفع رسوم العمل في اجتماعات المجلس.

    This is from Akhabr-AlKhaleej newspaper today.

    وأبدى ممثلا الغرفة في بيان مشترك استغرابهما من الزج باسميهما في التصريحات الأخيرة لوزير العمل رئيس مجلس إدارة هيئة تنظيم سوق العمل في شأن مقترح رفع رسوم العمل، ولإيضاح موقفيهما أصدرا بياناً مشتركاً استهلاه بتأكيد ترشيحهما من قبل الغرفة لتمثيلها في مجلس إدارة هيئة تنظيم سوق العمل، وإن القصد من هذا التمثيل كان دعما للفكرة الأساسية التي توافقت عليها جميع الأطراف لإصلاح سوق العمل وللدفاع عن مصالح أصحاب الأعمال والاقتصاد الوطني متى ما تم بحث أمور تفصيلية قد تضر بالقطاعات التجارية والاقتصادية المختلفة، لأن أي ضرر يلحق بأي من هذه القطاعات سوف تكون له نتائجه السلبية التي لا تخفى على أحد. ونوه السيدان المسقطي والمؤيد إلى أن بعض الأطراف شككت في تمثيلهما للغرفة رغم وضوح ذلك بالنسبة إليهما وإلى الغرفة، ورغم ذلك يعتد اليوم بوجودهما في المجلس لدحض معارضة الغرفة لبعض المقترحات. وأكدا أن توجيهات الغرفة لهما هي دعم المشروع الإصلاحي المتمثل في رسوم العمالة الأجنبية لتشجيع توظيف العمالة الوطنية إلا أن الخلاف الآن هو حول الجدول الزمني للتطبيق ومقدار الارتفاع المقترح في الرسوم. وقال البيان: على العكس من التصريحات التي ظهرت في الأيام القليلة الماضية والتي أعطت انطباعا بأن ممثلي الغرفة أبديا موافقتهما على الزيادة المقترحة بما يتعارض مع موقف غرفة تجارة وصناعة البحرين المعلن، ولذلك وجب التوضيح بأن ممثلي الغرفة أبديا اعتراضهما على تطبيق الزيادة ومقدارها من دون انتظار الدراسة التفصيلية التي تقوم بها الغرفة للوقوف على تأثير هذه الزيادة على القطاعات المختلفة. وبرغم ذلك تم التصويت في المجلس على هذه الزيادة وسجل ممثلا الغرفة تحفظهما على القرار كونه يتعارض مع مطلبهما بأخذ نتائج دراسة الغرفة في الاعتبار قبل تمرير مثل هذه الزيادة التي سوف تنعكس سلباً على الكثير من القطاعات التجارية والاقتصادية مما يؤدي إلى الإضرار بالمشروع الإصلاحي ككل. وبين السيدان المسقطي والمؤيد أن نتائج الدراسة المذكورة جاءت مؤكدة لشكوكهما بأن الزيادة المقترحة سوف تضر بالكثير من القطاعات وتسبب أضرارا قد لا يمكن معالجتها. مشيرين إلى أن زيادة رسوم العمل وتطبيقها قادم لا محالة ولكن الخلاف هو في إعطاء الأولية للإصلاح الاقتصادي والتعليمي لاحتواء الأضرار والتقليل منها قدر الإمكان هي الأضرار التي من المؤكد أنها سوف تنجم عن تطبيق سريع وبمبالغ لا شك انه سوف ينجم عنها الكثير من النتائج السلبية السريعة. واختتم ممثلا الغرفة في مجلس إدارة هيئة تنظيم سوق العمل بيانهما المشترك بإعلان التزامهما برأي الأغلبية التي صوتت مع هذه الرسوم وأكدا بأن وجودهما في المجلس لا يعني موافقة غرفة تجارة وصناعة البحرين على الرسوم، وشددا بأنهما أبديا تحفظهما على القرار. ومن المقرر أن تعلن غرفة تجارة وصناعة البحرين غدا الأحد نتائج الدراسة التي كلفت أحد بيوت الخبرة الاستشارية العالمية بإعدادها حول تأثيرات رسوم العمل على القطاعات الاقتصادية وتتعرض هذه الدراسة إلى ثلاثة سيناريوهات محتملة جراء تطبيق الزيادة وكلها تؤكد أن القطاعات الاقتصادية ستكون عرضة لأضرار كبيرة محتملة.

  • Anonny
    10 November 2007

    For the poster of comment #11, this is probably going to affect him, that is why is he moaning about it. His blog has only brought him fame and fortune, for being “different”.

    Mahmood, why do you never criticize the Prime Minister? Afraid of being sent behind the sun?

    Practice your freedom of speech to the full. Lets see your bravery.

    Salman and bahraini4eva

    You are hypocrites. All we see here is
    a couple of userids – which may or may
    not be your real first name, Salman.
    Who are you really? Why don’t you summon
    up the testicular fortitude to practise
    what you preach and put your money where
    your mouths are?

    Mahmood has created this space for you
    to hurl your abuse for him. He has
    placed his name and his public identity
    behind it. He is at far more risk of
    negative consequences of free speech
    than you are – and he has a family that
    he has to think about.

    Who the hell are you two whining beeyatches?

    And “Salman”, instead of blaming the PM for
    your lack of income, your whiny attitude,
    your stomach pain, the rattle in your
    A/C and the cold wind that may blow in
    your rear end this winter, why don’t you
    think a little more? If life doesn’t
    satisfy you, then work at it – or create
    your own blog and moan there. Preferably
    with your real identity attached so you
    can show us you aint scared of anyone.

    But I won’t be holding my breath. The
    two of you will probably just bottle up
    your bad feelings and turn them into
    skin complaints and a few bitchy lines
    on other people’s blogs.

    I’m pretty sure that Mahmood has done
    more for Bahrain than either of you,
    and with more guts too. Feel free to
    prove us readers wrong.

  • Redbelt
    11 November 2007

    I expect chaos come 2008. It will be a financial Y2K bug. Prices will spike because businessmen are arrogant and will try to get us to go thier way or the highway. Of course, thats the GOVERNMENT and they will stick thier guns… so… I’m preparing for shelter mode. I’m saving money, spending as little as possible, and I’ll try to get by the upcoming storm.

    And Mahmood, I second that Microsnot, I got vista, Outlook 2007, Office 2007, and I got more productive on my Sakhar MSX in the 80’s.

    You’re a Mac user, and i am now typing in Ubuntu Linux 7.10 (am I the only poster who types in weird things here?), you should try Ubuntu man.

  • Salman
    11 November 2007

    Mahmood only criticizes those who cannot do any harm to him.

    Secondly, I ask nothing from the government. All my life, I have lived off my parents hard work, and now mine. Although I come from a working class family, I was still put into a private school to receive the best education they can afford. I have never received treatment at any government hospital, and never intend on doing so.

    Where did I blame the PM for my low income? And why should I? I do not work for the government sector. I am not unqualified and demanding a high paid job without being armed with qualifications to prove my worthiness. You assume too much.

    In fact, I can’t remember my A/C rattling last time I was in Bahrain. Oh wait, I just installed a new one in July, that must be why.

    Lets see, what else…oh, here we go, winter. Hmm, winter is a bit late. Autumn has yet to come upon us here, so we can let that wait.

    My living standards couldn’t get any better. I love the way I live my life, simple, and trouble free, and totally dependent on myself.

    But there are those who have been less fortunate to be provided with a good education, those who have no helping hand to pick them up when they fall. Or, is it everyone for themselves and let people die and suffer and not give a shit about them and not help them?

    Mahmood lives the absolute opposite of the way the average Bahraini is living. For as long as he has secured himself financially, he won’t give a rats ass about anyone but himself.

    If you are standing in the shade, you will not moan about the sun burning your skin 🙂

    Mahmood, run for MP and make a difference in Bahrain, which you seem to have set as your goal.

    Just one more thing. Did you ever write in your blog about the “building houses for the needy” program being delayed for over 4 years? It took 2 years just for a representative to come and just look at the house. Must be a very busy guy.

    Why did you not write about how the PM just shows up to Muharraq, and builds houses and villas for everyone. Yet he knows there are lots who are about to be buried under the rubble of their own homes, and couldn’t give 2 shits?

    Speak the truth in whole, not just part of it. You criticize many people for their actions, and its OK, isn’t it? Well, then accept criticism of your own actions now. Why call it a personal attack? Are you not personally attacking all the MPs?

    Can’t take take shit, don’t give shit. Oh, wait, you are full of shit anyways.

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