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Al-Ghanim chairs tenth session for the disabled ‘Assembly will continue to support handicapped’

KUWAIT CITY, Dec 3: National Assembly Speaker Marzouk Al-Ghanim chaired Tuesday the 10th special session for the disabled as part of the celebration of the International Day for People with Disabilities. Representatives of official and private institutions dealing with the handicapped, as well as those from the government and private schools that provide services to this group, attended the session which was held in Abdullah Al-Salem Hall. Also present in the session were former Parliament Speaker Jasem Al- Kharafi, Parliament Secretary MP Yakoub Al-Saanei, Parliament Observer Saud Al-Huraiji, a number of MPs, Minister of Education and Higher Education Dr Nayef Al-Hajraf, Chairman of the Public Authority for Handicapped Affairs (PAHA) Jassem Mohammed Al-Tammar, Chairman of the Public Authority for Youth and Sports (PAYS) Faisal Al-Jazaf and several other officials. During the session, Al-Ghanim affirmed the Assembly will continue to support the disabled and solve their problems. He unveiled a plan to establish an office for the disabled in a bid to protect their welfare, address their problems and realize their ambitions. He pointed out this group deserves the attention and support that Kuwait and the Parliament are giving them since they are part of the Kuwaiti society

On the other hand, Al-Tammar thanked the parliamentary Handicapped Affairs Committee for cooperating with PAHA in supporting the handicapped. He pointed out the enactment of law number 8/2010 is a clear reflection of what Kuwait offers to the handicapped, in addition to signing the international agreement for the protection of this group. He said the fact that the United Nations set Dec 3 as international day for the handicapped clearly indicates they are an important part of the society and the constitution guarantees their rights. He disclosed that in accordance with the law, the authority offered education support to 6,039 handicapped, aged three to 21 years, who want to complete their studies. He added the authority also opened special schools and nurseries for the handicapped students with learning problems and then combined them with other students.

He went on to say the authority is now studying the case of students with weak academic performance and the possibility of supporting educational institutions for the mentally-challenged who are above 21 years old. Al-Tammar revealed the authority has put in place scientific standards for evaluating schools and nurseries in order to classify the services offered to handicapped students. He added there is a plan to set new fees for handicapped care and educational services. He said the authority has completed about 6,039 transactions for people tasked to care for the handicapped as per Article 24 of Handicapped Law number 8/2010. This is in addition to 3,368 cases for women who care for the handicapped as per Article 29 of the law after conducting social research and a series of meetings with special medical committees

Moreover, the authority completed 19,448 housing grant files and dealt with 4,936 cases of those who deserve housing care. Also, 24,500 persons who take care of the handicapped according Article 40 of the law have benefited from the reduction of working hours and 7,567 have benefited from the retirement package stipulated in Article 42. On the other hand, Al-Kharafi stressed the importance of regularly holding sessions for the handicapped. He highlighted the commitment of the Kuwaitis, led by HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, with the cooperation of the executive and legislative authorities to protect the welfare of the handicapped. In the meantime, Honorary Chairperson of Kuwait Sports Club for the Handicapped Sheikha Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah called for the establishment of all-inclusive sports clubs in the six governorates to encourage this group to engage in sports activities.

On a related issue, MP Sultan Al- Shimari expressed his happiness in connecting with the disabled. He said the session for the handicapped was an opportunity for this group to voice their complaints and demands. He disclosed he was one of the lawmakers who proposed the formation of a temporary committee for the handicapped and he intends to work towards its transformation into a permanent committee due to its significance. Towards the end of the session, representatives of several special needs associations honored Al-Kharafi with a badge of appreciation for his efforts in implementing the Special Needs Law in 2009. In another development, MP Ahmed Al-Mutai emphasized the need to implement political reforms to combat corruption and to those proven to have misappropriated public funds.

He urged HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak to hold the ministers accountable for their misdeeds even before the Parliament takes a similar action. He said interpellation is a tool used to push for the implementation of reforms which serve public interests despite differences in opinions as this is the essence of democracy. Al-Mutai asserted it is wrong to downplay interpellations, through which the government is guided towards the right path to protect public funds and combat corruption. He said the supervisory role of the legislature should not be ignored, because it is as important as the legislative role but there should be balance between the two. The lawmaker clarified that his stance in any interpellation is formed after hearing the arguments of both sides. He does not succumb to political pressure and he supports interpellations aimed at implementing reforms. He admitted he was surprised by the government’s reaction to the interpellation requests submitted by MPs. He stressed that when the highest form of democracy is practiced, the Parliament submits a stream of interpellations which the government must face without excuses, fear or hesitance in order to achieve real reforms.

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