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Panel mulls mental tests for domestics

KUWAIT CITY, April 17: The Negative Phenomenon Committee at the Parliament discussed Thursday the increasing number of violent acts committed by housemaids against their employers and ways to train the workers before they enter the country.

Speaking to reporters after the committee meeting, Chairman MP Hamdan Al-Hazmi unveiled a plan to approve bills aimed at regulating the domestic labor sector; taking into consideration the rising rate of crimes and violations committed by domestic workers.

He said the committee members agreed on the need to address the issue immediately; hence, the importance of reviewing the existing laws on domestic labor to eliminate the flaws.

He disclosed the committee discussed the possibility of requiring domestic workers to undergo psychological and mental tests, as well as complete training programs, before they are allowed to enter the country. He added it has become necessary to take decisive steps as the number of household workers is now estimated at 600,000.

Meanwhile, MPs Saleh Ashour, Abdul Hameed Dashti, Ali Al-Rashid, Kamil Al -Awadhi and Hussein Al-Quwaian presented a draft bill, consisting of 40 articles, on the rights of patients. In the explanatory note, the lawmakers stated that Article One of law number 25/1981 on practicing medicine, dentistry and support medical professions clearly defines the term ‘medicine profession’; while Article Eight stipulates only the issuance of a medical report or certificate. They argued that medical practice is one of the noble humanitarian professions and requires accuracy; thus, the need to issue a legislation on the protection of patients’ rights.

The introductory chapter of the bill defines the right to medical care, to obtain medical information and to undergo treatment.

Chapter Two stipulates agreement on the part of the patients in relation to the treatment procedures in accordance with his needs.

Chapter Three is about the confidentiality of information about the patients and penalties in case of violation.

Chapter Four states the right to access the medical file and all information recorded therein.

Chapter Five includes the general provisions on the right to medical services regardless of gender, ethnic origin, religion or language; in order to preserve human dignity and guarantee basic treatment or therapeutic rights.

Chapter Six stipulates development of medical policies and protocols observed by international medical organizations; while specifying ways to ensure the stability of health services, provide the best medical services and protect the patients in case of problems with the health care provider.

Chapter Seven explains that violations are subject to provisions of the Medical Responsibility Law without prejudice to any severe penalty or any other law.

On another issue, MP Askar Al-Enizi submitted a proposal to amend Article Five of the Citizenship Law.

The revised version states the interior minister should issue a decree on granting citizenship to those who rendered honorable services to the country.

This includes the services during the Iraqi invasion, 1967 and 1973 wars, whether as volunteers or military personnel on top of their field; in addition to those with remarkable achievements in the fields of specialization that the country needs.

In another development, MP Abdullah Al-Turaiji submitted queries to the minister of interior on the alleged detention of a ruling family member for driving under the influence of alcohol. He said the arrest happened when the accused impersonated a well-known first lieutenant and established a fake checkpoint with a bottle of liquor and police flasher in his possession. He asked why the accused was not charged with impersonating a police officer or possession of illegal items.

He then requested clarifications why the ruling family members was charged only with driving under the influence and he wants a copy of the case file. Meanwhile, a Kuwaiti lawmaker Thursday urged his government to send stateless people convicted of breaching public security and protesting to a camp he suggested should be built in the desert. Nabil al-Fadhl, a pro-government MP known for his strong positions against Kuwait’s stateless people, said the camp should be supplied with food and the necessary amenities.

He said the facility should be modelled on “a camp in Rafha, Saudi Arabia,” which housed thousands of Iraqi refugees who fled repression by late president Saddam Hussein. Around 110,000 stateless people — locally known as bidoons — were born and raised in the oil-rich emirate and claim the right to Kuwaiti citizenship. But the government says only 34,000 of them qualify for consideration and that the rest hold other nationalities.

Over the past two years, bidoons have held demonstrations to demand citizenship and other basic rights, and police have dispersed them using force, arresting hundreds who are on trial for illegal protests and assaulting police. Fadhl said bidoons have recently violated the law by holding the protests, throwing rocks at police and even shooting at them. The proposal, which must be approved by parliament and then accepted by the government before it can be implemented, also calls on authorities to send bidoons who received deportation orders to the camp.

The National Assembly budgets committee examined on Thursday final account of the cabinet general secretariat and affiliated departments as well as remarks presented by the Audit Bureau regarding the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

The committee rapporteur, MP Dr Mohammad Al-Huwailah, said in a statement the final account showed posting actual revenues amounting to KD 5.3 million, rising by KD 1.6 million, some 43 percent, as compared to the projections of the 2012-2013 financial year, also with an increase of KD 451,323 and KD 330, 538, proportion of 6.6 percent and 9.3 percent, in contrast to the figures of the fiscal years 2010-2011 and 2011- 2012, respectively. Actual expenditures reached KD 95.8 million, saving KD 49.3 million, at a proportion of 34 percent of the financial allocations for the 2012-2013, along with a deficit amounting to KD 1.1 billion, at a rate of 92.5 percent of the expenditures of the 2010-2011 fiscal year, with an increase of KD 4.8 million, some five percent of the spending of 2011-2012. Al-Huwailah indicated that the committee members stressed on necessity of taking the Audit Bureau remarks into consideration.


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

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