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Panel rejects penalties decree MP bids to prevent government vote on legislative posts, panels

 KUWAIT CITY, Dec 10: The Legislative and Legal Affairs Committee on Tuesday rejected the proposed emergency decree to impose tough penalties on anyone who assaults the security forces. However, the committee postponed deliberations on four draft bills until the next meeting as it needs more time to study the proposals. Speaking to the press after the meeting, Committee Rapporteur MP Abdul-Karim Al-Kandari confirmed that majority of the members rejected the proposed emergency decree to amend Penal Code number 16/1960, particularly articles 134 and 135 to impose harsher punishments on those who attack the security forces tasked to maintain peace and order in public gatherings or meetings. He explained the committee members have agreed that the decree is unnecessary since the existing law includes provisions on the protection of security forces.

Talking about other items in the agenda, Al-Kandari said the committee postponed discussions on the proposed amendments to the laws on Zakat and expert organizing until the concerned institutions like the Ministry of Finance and technical bodies present their views on the proposals. He added the committee also agreed to reschedule deliberations on the recommendation of MP Yaqoub Al-Sane to establish administrative prosecution and disciplinary courts until the Ministry of Justice expresses its opinion; in addition to the amendment of law number 20/1981 on the Cassation Court.

Meanwhile, MP Safa Al- Hashim has asked HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak to appoint a popular deputy prime minister (not from the Sabah family) to regain the trust of the citizens. In her dialogue with the press, Al-Hashim unveiled her plan to present a draft bill to amend the parliament byelaw in order to prevent the government from voting on legislative posts and committees in line with the principle of separation of power between the two authorities. She stressed that the amendment is long overdue, considering the governmental interference in the election of committees - one of the important legislation and oversight tools. She also underscored the significance of parliamentary support for the bill, indicating “the ball is now in the court of the MPs.

Do they need the government to control them or they want to be independent?” Meanwhile, MP Kamel Al- Awadhi presented a proposal on the appointment of official spokespersons for the ministries, other public departments, authorities and institutions in the country. He said the functions of these spokespersons include informing the public on the activities, projects and affairs of the institutions they represent through periodic conferences with local and international media. He clarified that information about the institutions should be obtained only from the official spokespersons. He also urged the government authorities to create accounts in various social networking sites to have more interaction and better links with the people. He pointed out that rumors usually spread like wildfire in the Kuwaiti society, especially regarding the works of the government. “We know exactly what rumors do, particularly their negative impact on the society in general, and the people’s reaction towards the government in particular,” he added.

He lamented that what makes things worse is the government’s silence over issues discussed in different social networking sites; thereby, making the society a ‘breeding ground’ of rumors, bickering and useless arguments that widen the gap between the government and the society. Al-Awadhi cited examples of conflicting reports on several issues, such as the contradictory statements of the ministries of Public Works and Health on the reasons behind the cancellation of the four hospital projects. Another issue is the proposed amendment of the law on the privatization of Kuwait Airways Corporation (KAC). The lawmaker asserted many statements have been issued on the privatization of the corporation but no concrete step in this regard has been taken until now; while more than one authority had been issuing statements on the acquisition of 37 new aircraft. According to Al-Awadhi, the advanced societies usually appoint an official spokesperson for each ministry or government authority to prevent the spread of false information, as well as to enhance the principles of transparency and credibility.

By: Abubakar A. Ibrahim Arab Times Staff

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