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MPs to study UAE, Qatar health insurance systems

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 17: The National Assembly Health Committee is planning to visit United Arab Emirates to study the health insurance system implemented in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and a third visit will be made to Qatar for the same purpose, a parliamentary source disclosed. The committee chairman Saad Al- Khanfour is expected to present a formal request to the Speaker of the National Assembly Marzouq Al-Ghanem based on a study the committee has conducted on the draft bill proposed by MP Abdullah Al- Turaiji to introduce health insurance to Kuwaitis. The source added the bill will be discussed at the next meeting of the committee in the presence of the Minister of Health Dr Ali Al-Obeidi and a team from his ministry, noting the discussion will entail government’s vision in relation to the bill and the possibility of establishing companies for its implementation. Meanwhile, the Parliamentary Finance and Economic Affairs Committee has asked the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to conduct a study and provide other alternatives to the proposed KD 30,000 increase to housing loan, which currently stands at KD70,000.

The committee stated subsidized building materials cover four commodities only, which include steel, cement and bricks, “but the ministry has since promised to subsidize 20 building materials. The list will be made known in upcoming meetings of the committee”. Also, the committee has yet to receive the vision of the government committee assigned to increase employees in the Ministries of Defense and Interior, National Guard and General Fire Service Directorate. Sources said a memo will be presented at the next session of the National Assembly to explain the situation and the proposed increase of salaries and allowances for military personnel, noting the study has not been concluded due to the standpoint of government. In another development, MP Mohammed Al-Huwailah has commended HH the Amir, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al -Sabah for a successful 2nd Donor Conference in support of the humanitarian situation in Syria which saw Kuwait’s generous donation of $500 million to Syrian people.

“While we are proud of the humanitarian role played by Kuwait to alleviate the suffering of Syrian brothers, we must make sure to deliver aid to those who deserve and needy people inside and outside Syria without delay”, he added. In a statement, Al-Huwailah stressed the need to continue support for Syria until the state of affairs is stabilized and the people have elected a president who will protect their rights, dignity and destiny. He added “no person with conscience will accept the current event in Syria, so we are asking the international community for urgent action to save Syrians from massacre and displacement by besieging and eradicating the bloody criminal regime that has lost legitimacy”. He commended HH the Amir for his initiative to open the door for donations at the level of institutions, charities and individuals, and allowing the mosques to collect donations “this is not surprising as Kuwait is accustomed to humanitarian work, and we pray to God Almighty to hasten relief and happiness for Syrian people, to make the conference a reason to ease pain in their tragedy”. In another development, MP Abdul- Hamed Dashti has presented a draft bill to promote national unity and fight against racial discrimination. Article one of the bill defines national unity and stipulates the establishment of Public Authority for National Unity and Anti- Discrimination, while Article 2 specifies the authority as an independent body with complete freedom to operate and issue decisions that cannot be influenced by any other governmental institution, with the Prime Minister as the head. According the bill, the authority will deal with issues related to “national unity” and empowered to refer violators to the public prosecution, besides conducting awareness campaigns on national unity.

Articles 9-17 explain the forms of discrimination that trigger legal action against violators, leaving the verdicts of ‘referred’ national unity cases to the courts. Article 18 stipulates punishment no less than three years imprisonment or more than seven years imprisonment, and a minimum of KD 3,000 fine against individuals violating the provisions of Articles 9 to 18. Also, the bill specifies tougher punishment with a minimum of seven years imprisonment but not more than ten years, and fine of KD 5,000 if the provisions of Articles 9 to 19 are violated by members of the three authorities — Executive, Legislative, Judiciary — or their employees, or any member of the public utility organizations or cooperatives societies or unions operating in Kuwait.

By: Abubakar A. Ibrahim Arab Times Staff

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