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Friday , February 28 2020

Assembly’s special session adjourned for lack of quorum

Govt fails to make a presence

Legislators leaving the Abdullah Al-Salem Hall as Parliament’s special session was adjourned due to lack of quorum

KUWAIT CITY, June 24: Before taking a long summer break at the end of this week, the National Assembly was supposed to start the week with a special session slated for Sunday; but the government was absent so the session was adjourned due to lack of quorum. Prior to adjournment of the session, several MPs submitted new proposals which have yet to be sorted and tabled for discussion at the Assembly through the concerned parliamentary committees.

Talking about the adjournment of the session, Speaker of the Assembly Marzouq Al-Ghanim disclosed the government officially informed him that it would not attend the special session. In a press statement, Al-Ghanim acknowledged the right of MPs to express disappointment which fell short of allowing them to blame the legislative administration for lack of coordination with the government. He affirmed that the legislative administration followed regulations and sent invitations, although those who called for the session did not follow proper procedures.

“According to the basic parliamentary procedures, it is the duty of the House, not the Speaker or concerned members, to instruct the parliamentary committees to expedite submission of their reports. “It would have been possible to accomplish a lot if there had been better coordination, but I think communication and coordination are ongoing between MPs who wish to achieve something with the government in relation to some bylaws that both sides have agreed upon,” Al- Ghanim clarified. Many MPs expressed dissatisfaction over the government’s decision not to attend the special session. MP Khaled Muhammad Al-Otaibi described the government’s absence as a clear indication of lack of cooperation with the legislature.

It can be recalled that in his press statement last Thursday, Al-Otaibi warned about the possible adjournment of the special session and urged the government to attend in order to complete items in the agenda for this session. He criticized the claim that the government did not attend Sunday’s special session due to non-submission of relevant reports. He stressed this is a false claim, indicating the Assembly could have discussed and voted on six reports about important amendments which are beneficial to citizens.

These amendments are related to the following: appointment of officials, interest on loans at the Public Institution for Social Security, General Investigation Department, Handicapped Law, criminal procedures and Penal Code. Also, MP Muhammad Hayef expressed astonishment over the government’s failure to attend the special session which was scheduled for endorsement of some important bills. He asserted it is unfortunate that the government was absent, considering the request to hold the special session was submitted on May 30, 2018 and the Secretariat General received it about a month ago.

He pointed out that since the date of the special session was announced more than a month ago, the government should have coordinated with the Assembly’s administration. He lamented about the way the special session ended, indicating the country and its people deserve an efficient government and legislature which get things done in the interest of the whole nation. He added all it takes is a single session to endorse bills in the interest of citizens before the Assembly goes on a long holiday – about four months. In spite of the government’s failure to attend the special session, Rapporteur of the Budgets and Final Accounts Committee MP Riyadh Al- Adasani said the committee rejected the final accounts of the executive authority for failure to adhere to budget principles and frequent transfers between clauses and custody account as it is supposed to settle dues.

He cited other reasons such as failure to address many comments of monitoring bodies and violations mentioned in the reports of monitoring bodies. He said these are clear indications that the government lacks commitment in addressing its shortcomings. He was quick to add though that the committee approved the overall budget because it is related to future expenses.

On the other hand, MP Majed Musaed Al-Muteiri has submitted a proposal to establish clinics for citizens and expatriates who frequent commercial complexes and markets. He explained that his proposal aims to provide health services in every part of the country, including immediate medication in emergency situations. MP Ahmad Nabeel Al-Fadhli also submitted a proposal concerning the Civil Society Institutions Law which replaced law number 24/1962 on clubs and non-governmental organizations.

In his explanatory document, Al- Fadhli called for enactment of new regulations in line with the growing importance of civil society institutions and to prevent a certain group from monopolizing such activities. He also emphasized the need for new standing orders to facilitate followup of such institutions. MPs Safaa Al-Hashim, Yousef Al-Fadhala, Dr Khalil Abul and Thamer Al-Dhufeiri proposed adding a clause to Article 10 of law number 18/2016 on social care for the elderly. The clause stipulates granting interest-free loans for divorced elderly women and widows with married children and providing houses with low rent for never married male and female elderly.

Meanwhile, MP Askar Al-Enezi said he was surprised when the Health Ministry undersecretary issued a communiqué requiring Bedouns to have a valid security card in order to undergo treatment in public hospitals and health centers. Al-Enezi urged Minister of Health Dr Basel Al-Sabah to quickly intervene, especially since he had earlier issued a directive allowing Bedouns to undergo treatment in public hospitals and health centers until October this year even if their security cards have expired. He could not hide his confusion over how matters are handled in the ministry, particularly on such important issues. He said complications pile up whenever the minister says something and the undersecretary says otherwise.

By Mohamed Wangengi Arab Times Staff

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