Month: October 2011

Majlis Ash’shura Elections

The Wilayat of Wadi Al Ma’awil representative — Khalid bin Hilal al Ma’awali — was just elected chair of the Majlis Ash’shura 7th term.  The session – seen by many as historic – was quite spectacular in many ways.  In an unprecedented move, it marked the first time the chairman was elected by members under His Majesty Sultan Qaboos’ directives following the Royal Decree No 99/2011, Article 85 (bis 12). Two deputies were elected at the same session, first deputy Salim bin Ali al Ka’abi and second deputy, Abdullah bin Khalifa al Maja’aly.  As well, presiding over the session was Salim bin Ali al Khatheri (who is the oldest member).  It was practically a full attendance with only one person missing.  The secret ballot was supervised by the Majlis Ash’shura General Secretariat.  The entire election process was monitored by assistant trustees and legal experts.  The event was covered by media.

Unprecedented Elections

So why were these elections so different?  Well, some of the reasons have been discussed above. But there are other features which also distinguishes them from others that have taken place in the past.  Any members that get elected to the 7th Majlis term are subject to increased flexibility vis-à-vis legal and auditory rights and abilities.  Second, it is a far more modern and efficient ballot process.  Third, the entire process is way more democratic than it’s ever been as it is a far more accurate and representative election – vis-à-vis the peoples’ desires – than it has ever been in the past.  This in turn gives credence to democracy in general and democratic confidence in particular of Oman and its Sultanate.

So overall, yesterday’s elections certainly gave the people something to talk about, and something positive at that.
 

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Gaddaffi and Oman

The murder of Gadaffi should be having an impact on other Arab countries now and the way they run their governments.  This includes Oman.  Tyrants have to start realizing that their undemocratic ruling is on shaky ground and simply cannot last forever.  The Arab region has, to date now, witnessed the end of three-long serving rulers in the space of 12 months.

In the Arab world though – amongst regular people living in the region – it seems that Gadaffi’s murder was not a surprise, nor was it unwelcomed.  According to a recent Reuters news article Libyans, Egyptians and others have described it as “deserving” since he was a dictator who never listened to the cries of his people pleading for a “more open and free society.” 

Now that Gadaffi is dead, Egyptians are “looking forward to helping the Libyan people rebuild their country.”  In Muscat, the capital of Oman, Gadaffi’s death is being hailed as “a lesson to other Arab rulers [who] will face such a fate if they keep oppressing their people,” Haji Ismail, a banker from Muscat said.

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Gaddaffi and Oman

The murder of Gadaffi should be having an impact on other Arab countries now and the way they run their governments.  This includes Oman.  Tyrants have to start realizing that their undemocratic ruling is on shaky ground and simply cannot last forever.  The Arab region has, to date now, witnessed the end of three-long serving rulers in the space of 12 months.

In the Arab world though – amongst regular people living in the region – it seems that Gadaffi’s murder was not a surprise, nor was it unwelcomed.  According to a recent Reuters news article Libyans, Egyptians and others have described it as “deserving” since he was a dictator who never listened to the cries of his people pleading for a “more open and free society.” 

Now that Gadaffi is dead, Egyptians are “looking forward to helping the Libyan people rebuild their country.”  In Muscat, the capital of Oman, Gadaffi’s death is being hailed as “a lesson to other Arab rulers [who] will face such a fate if they keep oppressing their people,” Haji Ismail, a banker from Muscat said.

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Oman Gets New Mobile Broadband Packages

Omantel will be launching some new mobile broadband packages.  This will be conducted through the company’s mobile telecommunications branch, Oman Mobile.  The new packages will offer customers a whole slew of different options (price-wise) to connect to Oman’s widest 3.5G coverage.  These rates have been substantially reduced from previous ones and there will be many more usage allowances available too.  Rates will start from as low as RO 1 daily.  This will result in over 2 million customers getting Internet access from their phones or laptops.

According to the company’s VP for Customer Business Unit, Haitham Abdullah al Kharusi, “as Oman’s population becomes increasingly mobile, the demand for internet connectivity on the go has increased significantly over the past few years. We listen to our customers and the new mobile broadband packages are a direct response to their demands. Listening to the need of our customers ensures that Oman’s largest mobile operator will continue to enrich the Omani market with innovative products.”

Given that this area is the country’s largest mobile community to use the Internet wirelessly, the company has attempted to build packages to respond to this need.  Omantel has been focusing on great packages at exceptional prices for its customers.  One example of the packages it offers is monthly 500 MB package subscriptions that sells at RO 12 will be getting an upgrade to the 1GB package for a mere RO 5.  And of course there are many other attractive plans too.  So Oman mobile users will be getting true value for their money and great mobile enjoyment on the move thanks to Omantel.

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Understanding Business Fraud in Oman

Fraud is unfortunately, bound to be an issue all business people need to be aware of and confront at some point in their careers.  That fact is a given. But now it appears – according to some experts on the subject – that it is also a somewhat significant contributing factor to today’s worldwide economic recession too.  There were around 50 accounting and finance professionals at the conference, with representatives from Oman’s Central Bank, Capital Market Authority and State Audit Institution.  The event’s Guest of Honor was the adviser to the Central Bank of Oman and President of Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) Oman, Ayisha Al Mawaly.

Speaking at the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) Oman held at the Muscat’s Majan Continental Hotel, forensic accounting and fraud and corruption investigations expert Simon Padgett pointed out that the first step in countering this issue is to develop a sensitivity to different types of corruption, fraud and money laundering.  As well, as recorded in an article in the Oman Tribune, this “goes a long way towards establishing anti-fraud programs in our companies. We can only fight the opponent we know,” he noted.

Counteracting Fraudsters

Since Padgett is director of corporate integrity at the Tourism Development and Investment Company, he is definitely in the know when it comes to fraud combatting methods.  Indeed, he is quite the expert on “fraud prevention techniques and anti-money laundering and protection.”  There were various other presentations at the conference, which were also received well.  Indeed, according to country manager of ACCA Oman, Mohammed Sajid Khan, they were very timely since the Sultanate has recently “entered the era of massive development in all sectors and means to prevent fraud have to be kept in mind.”  The ACCA is today working very hard to develop auditing skills and methods of preventing any types of business malpractice activities.

 

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