Sunday, December 21, 2008

Shura Council rejects weekend change

Amjad replied to my previous post with a link to a topic on Omania.net. Apparently the Council of Minsters had requested the view of the Majlis Ash'Shura on the shifting of the weekend to Friday/Saturday. The Majlis appointed a team to prepare a study. A survey was done. Opinions of experts were taken, and a conclusion was reached. The conclusion is to there is no justification for a change in the weekend for various "religious, political, social and economic" reasons. And that modern technology and international communication methods are widely available and easy to use and are not a justification for a weekend change. Further to that, the Majlis concludes its study with a request for the private sector to adopt a two-day weekend: Friday and Saturday, "for the public good"!
سبلة عُمان: رفض مجلس الشورى مقترح تغيير الإجازة الأسبوعية إلى يومَي الجمعة والسبت المحال من جلالة السلطان المعظم عن طريق مجلس الوزراء، وكان المجلس قد كلف فريقاً لدراسة الموضوع ولهذا الشأن تمت الإستعانة بآراء المواطنين، وأصحاب السعادة أعضاء مجلس الشورى، وعدد من الهيئات والمختصين عن طريق توزيع إستبيانات مخصصة للإطلاع على الآراء المختلفة والإستماع إلى وجهات النظر المختلفة، وبناءً عليه فقد أخلصت اللجنة إلى عدد من النتائج الموضوعية، أجمعت إلى عدم وجود ما يبرر تغيير الإجازة الأسبوعية للجهاز الإداري للدولة إلى يومَي الجمعة والسبت وأعزت رفضها إلى أسباب دينية وسياسية وإجتماعية وإقتصادية متعددة .. كما أن التقنية الحديثة وطريقة الإتصال بالعالم الخارجي التي أصبحت سهلة وميسرة لا تستوجب هي الأخرى جدوى التغيير، ومن جانب آخر فقد حث المجلس عن طريق دراسة اللجنة القطاع الخاص إلى ضرورة وجوب تغيير الإجازة الأسبوعية لمدة يومين: الجمعة، والسبت تماشياً مع إعلان غرفة تجارة وصناعة عُمان لما فيه الصالح العام.
I hope the Council of Ministers ignores the Majlis' conclusions and still recommends the weekend change to His Majesty for his approval.

Update (22/12/09)

I've been following the discussion on omania.net. After 6 pages of discussions in the past two days the overwhelming majority there supports the Majlis' conclusion for the following main reasons:

1. Public sector has the day off on Thursday and can go finish their business at the bank (Omanis love going to the bank) and private sector gets the day off on Saturday and can go finish their business at the government (as if anything in the government can get finished while you wait). Friday is shared by all, and it's a day for prayer and getting together as a family.
2. There's no need for Oman to copy any other country in the world. We have our own weekend, we don't need any other country. If any other country needs us why don't they change their weekend to suit us.
3. Saturday off is "un-islamic". Saturday is the Jews' day off. By switching our weekend to Friday and Saturday we will be copying the jews and the christians.
4. Having the weekend distributed over three days reduces traffic.
5. We are too used to our weekend as it is, why change?

In 6 pages of discussion there are only three posts about the social aspect. It is obvious that most of the people posting there are unmarried, don't have families, or simply don't care about their families. Aren't they aware that in 2008, for the first time, more Omanis are employed in the private sector than in the government. Now more than ever, we have families (like mine) where the father and mother either both work in the private sector or one of the two does. How is it good for families to have days off that don't match their children's? If both parents work in the private sector and get Friday/Saturday off, what are they supposed to do with their kids who are alone at home on Thursday? Fill the fridge with junk and tell the kids to sleep till noon, fix their own lunch and then watch TV till the folks come home in the evening?

How are Thursday/Friday our traditional days off or how is Saturday un-islamic day for a weekend? First of all, Oman didn't even have a two day weekend till twenty years ago. Before that everyone worked Thursday. So tradition has nothing to do with weekends. And as for islam, in the olden days they used to work 7 days a week. In the Quran muslims are told to close shop and stop doing business on Friday for the Friday prayer. But once they are done with the prayer they are encouraged to "disperse in the land and seek the bounty of Allah" (Surat Al Jumu'a). In fact, if Islam is used as a justification then there would be no weekend, no day off in the week, because in the days of the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH), they did not take a day off.

6 comments:

Blue Chi said...

THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT YOU GET WHEN YOU ASK FOR DEMOCRACY! LOL.

Amjad said...

I think Blue Chi got it right.

TI3GIB said...

I responded to this in my blog. Good post.

Rjay said...

I'm sure you have considered, but you didn't mention, the huge cost to Oman for having a completely seperate weekend to most other in countries, including major trading partners. In my last company I worked very closely with our central europe office, there was only a 3 hour time difference, but when you took off the weekends, lunch breaks etc etc we only coincided for about 9 hours a week! To you though, and many others, the disruption to your family life is the most important aspect, frankly I don't know how you put up with - life is too short! Anyway I wanted to start a rumour, they are going to do the change next weekend, both New Years coincide, some holiday announced etc etc. They'll announce it on wednesday afternoon. Lol.

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