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HH the Amir received at Bayan Palace National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Ali Al-Ghanim
‘Haven’ bill levels deportation cost on those who shelter ‘absconders’ MP push for US visa waiver

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 12: MPs Adnan Abdul- Samad, Abdul-Rahman Al-Jeeran, Mohammed Al- Huwailah, Adel Al-Kharafi and Mohammed Al- Jabri have presented a draft bill to add a new clause to Article 21 of Residency Law number 17/1959. The additional paragraph states: “Anyone who provides shelter to a domestic worker who escaped from the sponsor shall bear the expenses for the deportation of the worker and other expenses that the sponsor may incur as a result of this procedure.”

In the explanatory note, the proponents of the bill cited the rising number of absconding cases as the reason behind the submission of the proposal. They pointed out the absconding expatriate laborers, who work with other sponsors or companies, have violated the law. They said this phenomenon has had a negative impact on the sponsors who incurred huge losses, not to mention the exorbitant fees they paid to hire the workers.

In another development, MP Kamil Al-Awadhi has asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to intensify its efforts to encourage the American government to waiver the visa requirements for Kuwaitis. He argued the United States of America considers Kuwait its strategic ally in the region, so it is better if the Kuwaitis enjoy certain privileges because of this relationship. He said Kuwaitis usually face difficulties in obtaining visas to the US for medical, tourism, trade and academic purposes; especially since some of them wait for more than three months to obtain the document. He asserted this is in addition to various forms of abuse and cynicism they encounter during the visa application process.

He stressed the criminal or security records of Kuwaitis are clean as manifested in the decision of many European countries to grant them visa-free entry. In the meantime, MP Saleh Ashour recently submitted questions to the minister of interior on the alleged posts in various social networking sites calling for the purchase of weapons and recruitment of people to participate in the war in Syria. He wants to know if this step is legal and what measures have been taken to address the issue. Ashour said the minister, in response to a question he presented on Dec 15, 2013, stressed the need to obtain permits for fundraising activities.

He added the minister cited Article Four of Penal Code number 16/1960 that states: “An imprisonment term of not less than three years is imposed on anyone who, without obtaining permits from the concerned authorities, mobilizes soldiers or carry out hostile acts against another country; thereby, exposing Kuwait to war or cutting off political ties with other nations.” He added the minister also affirmed that all the necessary legal procedures will be taken against those proven to have violated the law.

Under such circumstances, Ashour decided to submit a new set of questions to the minister. He wants to clarify the legality of an alleged campaign to recruit 12,000 fighters - in the name of Allah - through the recommendation of several sheikhs, preachers and activists. He also demanded for confirmation on the legality of the campaign to support the Mujahedeen in Syria. On the other hand, MP Faisal Al- Duwaisan disclosed he walked out of the Legislative and Legal Affairs Committee meeting when a member argued in favor of doing business with Israel. He said this happened during deliberations on the request of the Public Prosecution to lift his parliamentary immunity in a case filed by an Israeli company against him. He added, “I was surprised when a committee member expressed support for cooperation with Israel economically and legally.

This is a violation of the law that the parliamentarians had promised to respect.” The rapporteur of the committee revealed they rejected the request to lift the immunity of Al-Duwaisan in a press misdemeanor case but approved a similar request for MP Safa Al-Hashim in a misdemeanor case. He said the committee tackled many proposals but it decided to postpone deliberations on the recommendation to prohibit exorbitant interest rates until the economic authorities and Central Bank of Kuwait present their views on the issue. He added the committee also postponed talks on the consumer protection bill as it is still waiting for the opinion of the relevant authority. He went on to say the panel approved the proposed establishment of the Public Authority for Crises and Disaster Management; as well as the Standards, Measurement and Quality Authority. He also announced that the committee will hold a special meeting next Sunday to discuss bills related to the housing issues. Moreover, the parliamentary Public Funds Protection Committee has given the Ministry of Public Works and Public Authority for Youth and Sports a grace period of two weeks to provide two separate reports on the observations of State Audit Bureau on the alleged loopholes in the construction of Jaber Stadium. Committee Rapporteur Said Al-Azmi confirmed that they discussed reasons for the delayed opening of the stadium with the representatives of the ministry and the authority. He added anyone found guilty or those behind the mistakes will be referred to the Public Prosecution.

Furthermore, Parliament Speaker Marzouk Al-Ghanem said Kuwait will soon host the Donors Conference and Parliamentary Union Conference as part of its role in supporting the Palestinian cause and Al-Quds mosques. On the special session slated for Tuesday to discuss the Dow Chemical case, Al-Ghanem clarified that the government has yet to officially inform the legislative authority about the session; although the invitations have been distributed to the MPs and Cabinet members.


By: Abubakar A. Ibrahim Arab Times Staff

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