There are several radio programmes in the UAE that let citizens and expatriates raise issues on air. However, Sharjah’s Direct Line has one keen listener: The Ruler of Sharjah.

The programme has helped solve various issues raised directly on air. One such case involved a resident who called and said she could not afford to enrol her son — who has a disability – in a particular stream in school. She said she didn’t have a job and no one to support them. Immediately after, Sharjah Ruler Dr Sheikh Sultan called on the line and undertook all costs related to the boy’s education and treatment.

The Direct Line programme launched in Sharjah in 2006. It is dedicated to receiving suggestions and complaints from citizens and residents, and subsequently seeking solutions from government officials.

Last year, in a call on the programme, the Sharjah Ruler expressed his disapproval over registering and adding foreign words to the Arabic language, saying the practice is becoming prevalent.

In 2021, he stopped a bank from auctioning off a citizen's home over his inability to pay off his housing loan. This came after the owner called on the programme, appealing for help.

In another instance, he helped a woman get a job. In yet another, a residential building meant for families in Sharjah was cleared of all bachelors after a tenant dialled up the radio programme and complained.

In an interview with Khaleej Times, one of the hosts of the programme, Ahmed Sultan, said, “Sheikh Sultan always directs us, he keeps telling us to prioritise the citizen. He has told us to not neglect it when a citizen or expatriate contacts us.”

More examples for issues that have been solved directly, some taxi plate owners were not able to pass on their plates to their families after their passing, prompting a caller to suggest inheritance rights for family members, which was later implemented.

Another was regarding fishermen lacking drying spaces for their catch, which led to a direct directive from the ruler to allocate lands for this purpose in each area.

The program also encounters amusing situations and calls, such as an elderly woman urging the gas replacement worker to come or a woman requesting assistance with a beehive in her home.

While some issues may not be resolved immediately and may take time that can extend to a year or two, they are closely monitored by the staff and the institutions.

The programme, which is presented by the Sharjah Media Corporation and is presented by the four media figures, Muhammad Khalaf, Ahmed Sultan, Hassan Yaqoub, and finally Muhammad Al Suwaidi. They listen well to callers and respond to their interventions with all professionalism.

There are many objectives of the programme, but among them is conveying the voice of citizens and residents to the relevant authorities. The programme also aims to improve services provided by these entities to the public.

Some officials even reach out to the programme if they miss it to ensure any issues related to their institution are addressed. This demonstrates the programme's significant impact and the institutions' commitment to improving their services.

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