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Secretary MP Yakoub Al-Sanei has called for amending Article 80 of the Constitution to increase the number of MPs from 50 to 70, as well as the Cabinet members. Al-Sanei said he is aware some people are afraid of the possibility that any amendment will open the door for taking a similar step for other articles. He also disagrees with those who claim this is not the right time for such amendments, wondering when will be the appropriate time. He pointed out he may agree with the notion that the time is inappropriate if there is misunderstanding on the contents of the amendment as previously demanded by the Islamists on Article Two of the Constitution.

He explained many had opposed the proposal to amend Article Two; because it is against the principles of the State of institutions and it could curtail freedom, unlike the amendment he recommended which is considered a fundamental aspect of national development. He went on to say every minister holds two portfolios and it is impossible for 46 MPs to obtain quorum for 18 parliamentary committees to do their work under such circumstances. He said this amendment will not affect the proposed revision of the Election Law, reaffirming his support for changes in the law. He added, “We believe in the one-vote and four-votes systems. In the new amendment, there will 14 representatives in each constituency and this is just a slight change.” He asserted there is nothing bad in increasing the number of parliamentarians, considering the rising population.

He confirmed 18 MPs have already signed the request for this amendment hoping to obtain more signatures to push for the implementation of the proposal. Meanwhile, MP Riyadh Al-Adsani has threatened to grill Oil Minister Dr Ali Al- Omair if he fails to rectify his errors within three days and implement a court verdict on the reinstatement of three officials in the oil sector.

The lawmaker also unveiled his plan to take the same step if the minister does not respond to his queries regarding the alleged diesel spill/theft, DOW Chemical case, and distribution of farming land areas owned by the Public Authority of Agriculture. He accused the minister of violating regulations due to the manner by which the plots were distributed, particularly since some deserving people did not receive land. He also submitted queries to the ministers of Cabinet Affairs, Finance, Commerce and Industry on their alleged violation of Article 131 of the Constitution, which stipulates that “while in office, a minister should not hold any other public office; practice, even indirectly, any profession; or engage in industrial, commercial and financial business. He revealed the minister of cabinet affairs said the questions were unconstitutional; while his commerce and industry counterpart demanded for civil ID numbers, and the minister of finance answered some of the questions and disregarded others.

Commenting on the work of the parliamentary committee tasked to investigate the multi-million deposits scandal, the MP described the panel as ‘absolutely useless’. He said the panel has not opened the file since Nov 13 last year till date; asserting that if he pushes ahead with the interpellation, he will reveal the names of those suspected of involvement in the independscandal and the corresponding amount they deposited. Asked why he maintained his position in the committee if he considers it useless, the MP said this gives him the opportunity to continuously try to reopen the case as he is keen on finding out the truth.

In another development, MP Safa Al- Hashem said the Prime Minister’s admission that the development plan of the government does not meet the expectations of the people is proof that she took the right step when she submitted an interpellation request against the premier. She wants to know why the prime minister objected to the interpellation then, only to admit later what she has been trying to show regarding the plan. The MP also unveiled her intention to proposed amendments to the Capital Market Authority (CMA) Law to give the minister of commerce and industry leeway in terms of supervising the authority since he is in charge of it politically. She added she will focus on the issue due to the purported violations, misconceptions and irregularities in the authority.

By: Abubakar A. Ibrahim and Ahmed Al-Naqeeb Arab Times Staff

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