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Never ending queues of cars can be seen on one of the roads during rush hours. It took more than half hour to cover one kilometer.

KUWAIT CITY, May 27: Parliament’s Legal and Legislative Affairs Committee on Tuesday approved three bills; including the proposal to regulate domestic labor, amendment of the Constitutional Court Law and establishment of Sabah Al-Ahmad Developed City.

Speaking to the press after the meeting, Committee Chairman Mubarak Al-Haris explained the panel approved the proposed domestic labor law in a bid to address the problems encountered by Kuwaitis due to poor organization of the sector. On the recommendation to establish Sabah Al- Ahmad Developed City, Al-Haris said this will contribute to efforts to resolve the housing issue; especially since the bill stipulates the construction of 35,000 housing units within five years.

On the proposal to amend the Constitutional Court Law, Al-Haris disclosed it gives right to individuals, organizations and civil institutions to take legal action in court. He affirmed the committee is keen on finalizing its reports on the three proposals to be included in the agenda for the parliamentary session scheduled for June 10, 2014.

He added the approval of these three important bills is considered one of the remarkable achievements of the committee, hoping for the passage of these bills within the current legislative term.

On the other hand, Al-Haris disclosed that the committee has postponed looking into the Family Court Law in response to the request of the Ministry of Justice for further study and for the latter to present its opinion. In a related development, MP Rakan Al-Nisf praised the committee for endorsing the proposal to grant citizens the right to resort to the Constitutional Court.

He believes this will end many political disputes related to personal status, higher education, universities and elections. “We are looking forward to the passage of the bill in this legislative round. Once everybody is granted this right, we will no longer be afraid of a radical majority as the minority has also the right to resort to the court”.

In the meantime, MP Hamdan Al- Azmi has stressed the need for the government to prioritize Kuwaitis in the recruitment of workers in the public sector. He pointed out there are 126,000 non- Kuwaitis working in the government; yet 20,000 jobless Kuwaitis have registered in the Civil Service Commission (CSC), waiting to be employed. He said it is now time for the government to revise its national policies to increase the Kuwaiti workforce in public institutions.

Al-Azmi urged the government to conduct a survey on non-Kuwaiti public sector employees, who are occupying positions that can be replaced by Kuwaiti citizens. He enumerated some factors leading to unemployment like the unclear policy of the government on national labor replacement and failure to address the problems of citizens who were laid off from work in the private sector due to the global financial crisis.

He lamented these citizens have been neglected and ignored, instead of benefitting from the experiences they gained from the private sector. He also attributed the problem to the employment and recruitment policies of the CSC, alleging the commission nominates Kuwaiti applicants for positions that do not match their expertise or skills; thereby, shattering the dreams of the latter. He then asked the government to implement a system to stop the recruitment of foreign workers whose number far exceeds the Kuwaiti population. In conclusion, the MP stated that the current employment policy must be scrapped and replaced by a new, comprehensive and Kuwaiti-friendly policy.

He explained the yearly increase in unemployment rate only indicates the government’s failure to bear its responsibility in this regard. Asserting he will closely follow up the issue to make it a priority for both the legislative and executive authorities, the lawmaker believes this step will guarantee that every governmental position is occupied by a Kuwaiti.

On another issue, Chairman of the Negative Phenomenon Committee Hamdan Al-Azmi confirmed approval of draft bills banning nudity in public places, swimming pools and hotels; and establishment of the Center for Remedying Negative Phenomenon. Moreover, MP Saleh Ashour has forwarded parliamentary questions to acting Minister of Education and Minister of Higher Education Dr Mohsen Al-Madj on the rising fees in private schools. He wants to know how much it costs for a student per academic year in different educational levels - from kindergarten to university, possibility of the ministry bearing part of the expenses if the father shoulders the cost of sending his child to a private school, and guidelines for increasing private school fees.

He pointed out some private schools have increased fees by five percent in different educational levels, such that the amount paid by high school students is almost the same as those in universities in and outside the country. He cited as a case in point the Asrar Al-Qabandi Private School where primary level students paid KD 1,050 in academic year 2011/2012; KD 1,150 for the following year and KD 1,350 for this year. He wants to know when will the school fee hikes will stop. He also asked about the manner of calculating differences in fees from one school to another and the authority in charge of estimating these fees. He then inquired if the ministry oversees the salaries of teachers and administrators in private schools, way of calculating the salaries, difference in the salaries of Arab and non-Arab teachers (if any), steps taken in case of discrepancy and guidelines in this regard. Meanwhile, 11 new candidates, including one woman -Awatif Atiya Al-Qallaf - submitted their nomination papers on the eighth day of registration for the by-election of the Parliament. The total number of registered candidates now stands at 88, five of whom are women.

Candidates who registered Tuesday from the Third Constituency were Bassan Abdul-Rahman Al-Asousi, Awatif Atiya Al-Qallaf, Issa Dhahir Al-Rashidi and Esam Hussein Al-Baghli; while those from the Fourth Constituency were Dhahi Tahir Al-Shimiri, Abdullah Hussein Baqer, Abdullah Mohammed Al-Mutairi , Eid Barikan Al-Majidi,Gunaim Bunya Al-Sulaimani, Faraj Zaban Al-Arbeed and Falah Ali Al-Muasab. Furthermore, MP Sadoun Hammad Al- Otaibi has unveiled his plan to submit a proposal to amend the General Elections Law to increase the nomination fee from KD 50 to KD 5,000. He said he will present the bill on Wednesday in order to prevent some candidates from mocking the election system. He asserted the disrespect and mockery during the filing of candidacies has nothing to do with democracy as the action is considered a way of abusing and undermining the democratic principle.

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

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