MPs shadow ‘government’ OPTIONS PANEL FORMED

KUWAIT CITY, Oct 26: Opposition lawmakers have formed a committee to study options and alternatives for the purpose of working towards a new government, revealed MP Abdulrahman Al-Anjari on Wednesday.
He said that opposition MPs have met and decided to form the committee comprising of seven MPs — Abdulrahman Al-Anjari, Mubarak Al-Walaan, Khaled Al-Sultan, Ahmed Al-Saadoun, Faisal Al-Muslim, Mohammed Al-Mutair and Naji Abdul-Hadi. Al-Anjari added that the committee will be meeting daily, while all opposition MPs would gather twice a week. He explained that the government is not fit to run the country as it is full of corruption; therefore the Kuwaiti people deserve a new government and a reformed approach.
It is worth mentioning that none of the members of the outspoken opposition blocs — the Development and Reform Bloc and the Popular Action Bloc — are part of the formal parliamentary committees elected on Tuesday. This is including Salafi Khaled Sultan and Liberal Abdulrahman Al-Anjari and other opposition MPs as they walked out during elections. The new legislative term is expected to include a number of grilling requests against His Highness the Prime Minister, Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah, as well as high-profile rallies.

Meanwhile, Speaker of Parliament Jassem Al-Khorafi affirmed that the committee elections following the opening session are valid even though a number of nominated members walked out and the committee member numbers are not complete. He said the situation has occurred before and the numbers are not below the legal limit.

On some MP’s request to refer lawmakers with large bank accounts to prosecution, Al-Khorafi stated the National Assembly is not covering for those MPs and that they are innocent until proven guilty. “It is not fitting for us to interfere in the judiciary process, in which we’ve placed our trust,” he said.

Al-Khorafi added that the ‘walk-out MPs’ should have assessed their actions beforehand, especially since His Highness the Amir, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, has called for calm and cooperation. They should have analyzed how the Kuwait public will accept their actions, however every individual is responsible for his stances and opinions, he said.

Furthermore, Al-Khorafi denied rumors that he will not nominate himself in the next legislative elections, saying that he did not announce such intentions. He asserted that he will make a decision after analyzing his experiences and weighing options. He expressed his hope that whoever takes the chairmanship will be capable of the position.

On the proceeding of Tuesday’s session, Al-Khorafi stressed that he had no choice but to postpone voting on a law pertaining to teacher increments until Nov 15, after the government requested so. He said the government practiced its legal right of requesting a 2-week postponement.

On that note, opposition MP Faisal Al-Muslim attacked Minister of Education and Higher Education, Ahmed Al-Mulaifi, on the postponement of the teacher increments law and expressed support for a rally scheduled on Thursday by the Kuwait Teachers Society (KTS). He said the government and Al-Mulaifi were not honest in their handling of the law, therefore other increments for employees belonging to the Kuwait Airways Cooperation and customs, among others, will not be accepted.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Al-Mulaifi asserted that the government is just as keen as the National Assembly to provide salary increases for teachers. However both authorities differ on the method of payment, he said. While lawmakers would like increments for all teachers without exception, the government sees that it is more effective to give salary increases after assessing the performance of teachers. He urged the KTS not to protest.

Al-Muslim further threatened Al-Mulaifi with escalation of protests and said the minister has no choice but to request a special session to approve the teacher’s bill. He also threatened Al-Mulaifi with a grilling request in that regard and urged his resignation.

By: Nihal Sharaf

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