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Parliament okays proposed health insurance for retirees

KUWAIT CITY, June 24: The National Assembly on Tuesday approved the proposed health insurance for retirees in what is considered the first step towards application of the policy to all segments in the Kuwaiti society. During the session, Health Minister Ali Al-Obeid thanked the Health Affairs Committee and MPs for presenting the bill. He promised to implement the proposal on an experimental basis for the retirees and other citizens will be included later. Al-Obeid also announced a plan to build nine new hospitals, affirming four agreements have been signed while three tenders for Farwaniya and Ibn Sina hospitals are now ready for awarding. He explained this move does not mean that services will be shifted to the private sector because it is the result of coordination between the public and private sectors.

Additionally, the Parliament approved the Public-Private Partnership ( PPP) Bill in its first reading to replace the Build-Operate- Transfer (BOT) system. The Parliament agreed to return the bill to the Financial and Economic Affairs Committee to study the amendments presented during the first reading. With this approval, the BOT is now cancelled. The Parliament also approved, in its second deliberation, the amendment bill to the Constitutional Court Law with 35 votes in favor and nine abstentions.

This bill allows individuals to submit an appeal directly to the Supreme Court. Though the bill had earlier been referred to the government for approval and implementation, the latter refused to vote on it citing infringement on the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. Moreover, the Parliament assigned the Negative Phenomenon Committee to look into the contents of television series that do not conform to the norms, traditions and morals of the Kuwaiti society

MP Saud Al-Huraiji, who presented this request, said he obtained information that a television series, entitled ‘Zina Al-Maharen’ (Forbidden Adultery), will be aired on Kuwait TV in Ramadan. He claimed the program contravenes the Constitution as it promotes ideas he regards as outrageous deviation and moral degeneration which will tarnish the image of Kuwaiti families. He pointed out everyone has a political responsibility to stand against the airing of such programs, particularly during the holy month of Ramadan. In another development, the Parliament rejected the request of the Public Prosecution to lift immunity of MP Abdurrahman Dashti in a press misdemeanor case. The Parliament also instructed the Health, Social and Labor Affairs committee to complete, within three weeks, its report on the proposed establishment of a company for the recruitment of domestic workers.

MP Kamil Al-Awadhi, who presented this request, stressed the need to approve the bill before the end of the current legislative round as it is vital in regulating the domestic labor sector. In the meantime, the Parliament extended the work period of the committee tasked to investigate violations in the Capital Market Authority until the next legislative round.

The Assembly went on to discuss the proposed amendments to the Capital Market Authority Bill after changing the commissioners’ membership period from five to four years. The executive and legislative authorities approved the proposal in its first and second readings. The bill was referred to the government for implementation. During deliberations on the End-of- Service Bill, Human Resources Committee Chairman MP Yaqoub Al- Sanei clarified the proposal is aimed at unifying the end-of-service package for Kuwaiti employees in the government sector to guarantee justice for all. He said the bill also stipulates the establishment of an end-of-service fund in which both the government and public institutions will contribute. Minister of Finance Anas Al-Saleh affirmed the government has taken into consideration the request of the committee to include citizens employed in the private sector, so he submitted an amendment in this regard.

Due to this amendment, the Parliament postponed discussions and referred the bill back to the committee for further study. Furthermore, the Parliament approved the memorandum of understanding between Kuwait and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the establishment of the IMF center for economic and finance in the Middle East. Al-Saleh said the agreement is extremely important because it will contribute to the development of Kuwait as it becomes a major player in the Middle East. He added this is the seventh center in the international level and that some GCC countries are ready to host it due to its importance.


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

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