Assembly sets 28 sessions … ‘Debt relief’ in committee Panel nod to unity, disclosure decrees

KUWAIT CITY, Dec 18: The National Assembly has decided to hold 28 sessions during the first round of the 14th Legislative Term which will end on June 28, 2013.

Meanwhile, Parliament Speaker Ali Al-Rashid stressed the speech given by the Amir during the opening of the 14th Legislative Term is a responsibility given to all lawmakers to restore the people’s trust and confidence.

He said he hopes the new Parliament will work towards more achievements through cooperation and good dialogue among all parties “because we need to open new pages with everyone.”

On the street protests which the opposition has been staging against the one-vote decree, Al-Rashid stressed the need to implement the law. He added, “If the streets protests are permitted then it is part of the freedom of expression, but violation of the law is unacceptable.”

He mentioned draft laws on writing off interest on loans will be first discussed by the Legal Committee of the National Assembly and then referred to the concerned authority.

On whether the decrees of necessity have lost their value since they were not approved by Parliament on the first day, Al-Rashid explained the Parliament has followed the right path according to the law and the Constitution in dealing with decrees by referring them to the concerned committees for study.

Former Speaker of Parliament Jassem Al-Kharafi compared Kuwait to a dove which has two wings — the Legislature and the Executive authority and called on the government not to give preference to any one MP over the other.

Al-Kharafi during his visit to the Parliament congratulated the new Speaker Al-Rashid. He stressed success of the Parliament must come from collective work among lawmakers not from individuals.
He advised the lawmakers to cooperate among themselves “because there are some who would rejoice at your failure, so please don’t give them a chance.”

He also advised the opposition to fear God for the sake of Kuwait because it is the Constitution that rules, not street marches.”

Meanwhile, the Legal and Legislative Committee has approved the Amiri decrees of urgency concerning national unity and disclosures of financial assets, MP Khaled Al-Shatti said Tuesday.

Al-Shatti added that the committee will discuss the one-vote decree during its next meeting and refer it to the Parliament during its next session.

On national unity decree, Al-Shatti asserted the decree is clear and prohibits any abuse of any sect of the society saying he hopes the Parliament will approve it.

On other decrees, disclosure of assets and anti-corruption, he noted there are some flaws “but we can present proposals to remove these flaws and I hope the Parliament will approve what is suggested by the committee.

The emergency decree on hate speech and national unity was issued in October and imposes harsher penalties on those proven to have incited sectarian or tribal conflicts and those who have insulted a sect or family.

MP Abdulhameed Dashti said the committee has found numerous previous decrees which have collected dust on the shelves since 2009 and need to be looked into. He said those decrees will be reviewed and the one-vote decree of urgency will be reviewed during next Tuesday’s meeting.

In other developments, the Economic and Financial Affairs Committee held a meeting with Minister of Commerce Anas Al-Saleh and discussed a new government proposed Companies Law.

Al-Saleh said that the proposed bill seeks to achieve transparency, governance and protection for small scale investors.  There are also articles pertaining to public funds. He added the committee made a number of inquiries but was cooperative, noting the law will give much needed support to the economic sector.

Rapporteur of the committee MP Safa’ Al-Hashem stressed on the need to impose harsher penalties on employees who disclose company information, assuring the authority seeks to accomplish what is beneficial for Kuwait and its citizens.

Meanwhile, MP Nawaf Al-Fuzai said he will request the formation of a temporary investigation committee to look into allegations that former Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah was giving money to MPs. The lawmaker stressed the need to reveal whether the allegations are true or are mere accusations by those with personal interests. 

MPs Faisal Al-Duwaisan, Mubarak Al-Najada, Abdullah Al-Tameemi, Masouma Al-Mubarak and Yaqoub Al-Sane have submitted a draft law for the establishment of National Authority for Human Rights.
The Rapporteur of Public Utilities Committee, MP Adnan Al-Mutawa disclosed the committee has received several decrees laws and discussed how to include the decrees in its agenda.

Speaking to reporters after the committee meeting, Al-Mutawa said the committee discussed decree law No. 27/2012 on some rules of Law No. 47/1993 on the housing care and the establishment of public stock companies and rules of law No. 27/1995 on contribution of the private sector in building structures on the state-owned lands for housing care purposes.

He added the committee has agreed to invite Minister of Housing Affairs to attend its next meeting Dec 24, 2012 to discuss the establishment of such companies.

He said the committee has also included in its agenda some draft laws on the establishment of the Public Authority for Transport, Kuwait Municipality, and establishment of Public Food Authority.

Meanwhile Minister of Development and Planning and State Minister for Parliament Affairs Dr Rola Dashti disclosed the government will hold a meeting with the Parliament in the first week of January 2013 to discus the priorities.

She said, according to information, Parliament Speaker Ali Al-Rashid has requested the Parliament and the MPs to set their priorities so as to put them in one list, while stressing the government is prepared and has good priorities that serve the interests of the country.

By: Abubakar A. Ibrahim and Nihal Sharaf Arab Times Staff

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