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Assembly discounts media swarm over salary of expat

KUWAIT CITY, May 14: The Secretariat General of the National Assembly has refuted rumors spread on social media that an expatriate consultant in the Assembly identified as Shafiq Emam is receiving a salary of KD 15,000.

In a press statement, the Secretariat General explained the Assembly wants to reveal the exact amount of Emam’s salary but this violates the privacy clause in the Constitution; hence, it is enough to state that the salary of Emam is less than half of the abovementioned amount.

The Secretariat disclosed Emam was a consultant at the Assembly in 1992 and he served in the same capacity in several public institutions like the Public Institution for Social Security (PIFSS) and Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), in addition to being advisor to a number of former and incumbent ministers upon approval of the Assembly.

It affirmed that Emam returned to the Assembly later.

According to the Secretariat, the Assembly strictly adheres to the replacement policy; pointing out that 92 percent of the employees are Kuwaitis and the contracts of 78 expatriate workers have not been renewed.

The Secretariat then appealed to the public to refrain from spreading false news and to obtain information only from official sources. On the other hand, Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanim participated through video conference in the fourth meeting of the preparatory committee for the fifth Inter- Parliamentary Union session scheduled for August 2020 in Vienna.

He represented the Arab parliamentary group in the meeting; during which he talked about a number of important issues like the refugees, climate change, demographic disorder in many countries and coronavirus crisis. Present at the meeting were the Assembly speakers of 15 countries representing various parliamentary geopolitical groups, President of Inter-Parliamentary Union Gabriela Cuevas Barron and Secretary General of the union Martin Chungong. In addition, Al-Ghanim said HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid informed him that the government is ready to attend parliamentary sessions after Eid Al Fitr.

He also confirmed that the suggestions and comments of MPs will be referred to the Cabinet, indicating the MPs agreed to assign the State Audit Bureau (SAB) to conduct a presentation on the contracts signed by the government during the coronavirus crisis at 12:00 noon next Sunday in the presence of the MPs.

He went on to say his meeting with the MPs on Wednesday focused on vital issues like holding online sessions, which requires amendment of the Assembly Decree while there are limitations such as the inability to hold secret sessions and secret voting.

He also disclosed that the MPs agreed to ask the government to regularly submit reports on coronavirus cases to the Assembly; adding these reports should cover health, economic, financial and security aspects.

Meanwhile, MP Adel Al-Damkhi criticized the government for not attending the parliamentary session on Wednesday. It seems the government is not ready to face Parliament and conduct a presentation on the current situation, he asserted.

He argued there is no justification for the attitude of the government; stressing it is not true all the ministers are busy dealing with the coronavirus crisis, so a few ministers could have attended the session to represent the government.

He urged HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid to take action against the ministers who have no serious contribution to ongoing efforts to address the crisis.

Moreover, MP Abdulkareem Al-Kandari asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to summon the Egyptian ambassador to Kuwait and deliver to him a letter in protest against Egypt’s refusal to receive Egyptian workers who violated the Residency Law and another letter informing the Egyptian authorities that Kuwait will no longer accept Egyptian workers.

Also, MP Muhammad Haif warned about the negative consequences of the decision to allow walking two hours daily, as this defeats the purpose of the total curfew.

He said this calls to mind the dangerous mistake committed by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson that led to a disaster — more than 32,000 deaths. In the meantime, MPs Khalid Al-Otaibi and Al-Humaidi Al-Subai’e voiced objection to threats to sue Dr Obaid Al-Wasmi and Dr Hassan Jawhar for expressing their opinions on the way the government is dealing with the coronavirus crisis.

They argued that freedom to express one’s opinion is guaranteed by the Constitution, emphasizing the need to strictly deal with any attempt to violate such right.

Al-Otaibi accused the government of being biased in handling issues, pointing out the government remains silent over television channels which circulate fake news and threaten national security; while it does not allow national figures like Jawhar and Al- Wasmi from expressing their views on the contracts signed by the government during the crisis despite the fact that they are known for their patriotism and commitment to protect public money.

By Saeed Mahmoud Saleh Arab Times Staff and Agencies

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