Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): A wise man once said that the impact of some words may be tougher than rocks and prick harder than a needle tip.
It is true. It is very difficult for Bahrainis, who are marginalized in their own country, to hear their PM Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa say that the government "doesn't accept those competing with Bahrainis over their livelihoods".
What if the government accepts the competition against Bahrainis? Then it will force them to stay at home out of fear of rivaling foreigners in their businesses or in the streets, complexes or anywhere else. Perhaps Khalifa bin Salman wanted to be so kind to Bahraini citizens and give them the right to lounge about.
Khalifa bin Salman was speaking to merchants and businessmen, who are the wealthy Bahrainis complaining about the crowded competition of foreigners in investment, and how foreigners are benefitting from other privileges granted by the government to them, such as the right to own projects and the right to benefit from the Tamkeen Fund support.
The government treated the merchants in a way that benefits it, not them. They made them experience what the poor citizen endured for dozens of years, sitting on the sidelines after being stripped of the right to work as well as other basic rights.
How did Khalifa dare say this, when his government last year approved opening the door for foreigners to own projects by 100% in 62 types of businesses, thereby abolishing the condition of having a Bahraini partner with a 50% share.
This opened the door for foreigners not only to compete with senior traders, but also compete with Bahrainis who live on retail and work in simple occupations. This allowed the dominance of foreigners in medium and small enterprises.
How did he dare say that after the Labour Market Regulatory Authority granted thousands of foreigners the right to reside and work in the country? The flexible work permit allowed 4,000 foreign workers to enter the market at the expense of Bahrainis who earn their livelihood from selling goods on the streets and shops and even car washes.
Doesn't Khalifa bin Salman and people working for him know that foreigners have become the first beneficiaries of the Tamkeen Fund and the market reform institutions that were formed under the slogan "Making Bahrain Best Option for Work". Don't they know that the money of Bahraini taxpayers is spent on empowering foreigners in the country rather than its own citizens?
Didn't he take a look at the numbers of the Civil Service bureau published by a local newspaper? Didn't he read that the number of foreign employees in the government amounted to 9,730 employees, i.e. a percentage over 15%? All of them work in jobs that unemployed Bahrainis are waiting to achieve in long queues.
Doesn't he know that with the government concluding the termination of jobs of more than 9,000 Bahrainis who have applied for voluntary retirement, the percentage of foreigners employed in the government stands at about 18%? Why didn't the government begin laying off foreign employees if it has the desire to adjust the government agencies?
Doesn't the government know that there are more than 500 unemployed doctors, nurses and technicians, while, for example, the percentage of Bahrainization of physicians at King Hamad Hospital does not exceed 10%.
The proportion of foreigners entering the labour market multiplied, while the proportion of the unemployed became even higher, more than 18%, according to a recent statement issued by the opposition leader, Ibrahim Sharif. At the same time, statements undervaluing Bahrainis are also increasing.
It is very difficult for the unemployed doctors, teachers, engineers and professionals to stand at the doors of the nominal job exhibitions in search of a job while foreigners are enjoying having a job in Bahrain. Khalifa bin Salman then comes out with these words to make it more difficult for Bahrainis.