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Showing compassion

Jun 02,2018 - Last updated at Jun 02,2018

His Majesty King Abdullah instructed the government to cancel the recent increase on fuel and electricity prices for the month of June, even though the government says it had to increase them to meet rising oil prices in the international market.

The King is clearly sensitive to the plight of the people, especially during the month of Ramadan, and his new instructions to the government are clear signals that he wants the broader interests and welfare of the people to be taken on board in any government decision.

This policy has deep implications on the ongoing national debate on the controversial income tax draft law. The impact of the proposed new law on the well-being of the people, especially those who are already hard hit by high inflation, is too obvious to ignore.

This was not the first time that the King demonstrated compassion towards his people and solidarity with them. King Abdullah has made several visits to remote villages where some of the poorest people live, especially during the holy month of Ramadan.

Recently, the King paid an unscheduled visit to Ghor Fifa in the south of the Jordan Valley, where he had instructed the government to provide the area’s poor families with basic necessities of life.

Of course, there is a limit to what the King can do on his own to come to help needy people. This is where the concerned authorities must come in and fill the gap, by doing more field work and visiting people in their areas of residence to stand on their needs and demands.

The government is there to help the people, and officials are after all civil servants, regardless of seniority. 

And when it comes to belt-tightening, ordinary people always feel that the onus is always on them, while the consecutive governments, which they blame for the accumulation of national debts, are doing little to save expenses. There might be a point when people complain that officials drive fancy cars with government plates, and that they get free gasoline which does not make them feel with the overburdened citizens with limited income.

At the same time, people have lost confidence in their parliamentarians whom they see trying to only appease the government in any manner possible, showing little opposition to any government policies and lacking creativity when it comes to attempting to resolving economic problems. 

With these popular perceptions of the widening distance between the people on the one hand and the executive and legislative authorities on the other, the need arises for intensified efforts to bridge between the two sides.

It is time for our government officials to follow the steps of His Majesty the King, who along with the Queen and the Crown Prince, usually meet with people in their areas of residence across the Kingdom, to show the people that they belong to them and work for them.

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