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Saturday , November 28 2020

‘Expatriates’ between two eras … the living turn over

Egyptians were pampered the most

KUWAIT CITY, Dec 15, (KUNA): Over the course of more than half a century of Kuwaiti democracy, MPs have used the important and widely practiced “proposals with desire” mechanism in terms of issuing laws and legislation in matters within the jurisdiction of the parliament, or those the lawmakers wish to direct to the government on matters within its competence, reports Al-Qabas daily.

For many considerations, parliamentarians change the presentation of their desires, based on local or foreign political variables or upon reaching certain goals that were not previously achieved; such that hanging the content of desire and its rhetorical significance is related to the degree to which society attained the ladders of modernity and development.

Al-Qabas examined the files of proposals with desired documents submitted by the deputies over a period of 56 years and the outcome shows the extent of differentiation and the different tone and change of mood, which signifies a remarkable shift in dealing with the file of expatriates between two eras – especially after the decline of oil prices in 2014.

One of the most striking remarks in the parliamentary documents on the “proposals with desire” presented by the deputies over more than half a century was the enjoyment and “pampering” of expatriates (Arabs and Muslims in particular) when their presence was “highly desirable”.

This was the situation during the establishment of Kuwaiti state with doctors, judges, teachers, engineers, etc. It was before Kuwaitis were qualified to handle the burdens of running the institutions and working hard for their development.

The presence of majority of expatriates became a heavy burden disrupting the demographic makeup. Examples of the “favor” of immigrants at that time, resulted in a proposal submitted by Representative Rashid Al-Farhan on February 29, 1964 with the desire to “mediate with officials in the Arab countries to extend the period of the assignment of the pseudo-judges to Kuwait. By the same token, representatives Faisal Al-Duweesh and Muhammad Al-Bader suggested on June 28, 1976 “treating Kuwaiti-born children as Kuwaitis with regard to the appointment to public office.

On March 9, 1971, deputies Abbas Habib Munawer, Ali Al Habashi and Abdullah Al Hashemi urged for “abolition of travel restrictions imposed on citizens of Arab countries wishing to enter Kuwait. Representatives Hammoud Al-Roumi, Faisal Al-Duwaish and Mubarak Al-Dabbous on April 14, 1981 proposed “granting permanent residence to every Arab Muslim who has served the country sincerely for more than 20 years if he so desires.” As for MP Khaled Al-Wasmi, he saw on December 4, 1983 granting permanent residence to “everyone who worked in Kuwait for 30 years or reached retirement age after serving 25 years.”

Pampering the Egyptians

The Egyptian community in Kuwait had a lion’s share, perhaps, from the evidence and affliction at the time, as MP Ali Al-Habashi proposed on January 12, 1976 “excluding the Egyptian nationals from obtaining visit visa and granted them work in advance.” The Palestinian community also had a share, as deputies Jasim Al-Yassin, Khaled Al-Masoud, Abdullah Al-Nibari and Abdul-Muttalib Al-Kazemi suggested “support for schools supervised by the Palestinian Liberation Organization to guarantee all the necessary study expenses for it”.

Further more, on 14 October 1971, Representative Issa Bahman proposed “allocating funds within the state’s general budget to help the children of residents of Kuwait,” while on April 17, 1972, Representative Yousef Al-Rifa’i called for “opening of door to register all children of expatriates in government schools.” This was to complement the humanitarian message of Kuwait inside and outside the country to embody its civilized humanitarian role in the region and the world.

Kuwaitization Train
Years later, a lot of water ran under the bridge and the perception of expatriates changed, especially since the state began to rely on the arms of its people in many sectors where foreigners were the backbone, not to mention other considerations that can be summed up in the remarkable increase in the number of expatriates in the country until they cover about twothirds of the population compared to one-third of citizens, which many deputies viewed as a major imbalance in the demographics; hence, “Kuwaitization” train began. Before the emergence of MP Safaa Al- Hashim’s star in the sky of the parliamentary work and considering her as the “loudest voice” on the issue of “fixing the imbalance of the structure,” there were many deputies who aimed to “reconsider” the conditions of expatriates.

On April 2, 1981, MP Muhammad Al- Rashid proposed “Kuwaitizing the judiciary” and “abolishing the system of allocating government housing to hired and contracted state employees”.

MP Abdulaziz Al-Shayji proposed on December 25, 2008, “Kuwaitizing teachers in all government primary schools”. This was the same proposal put forward on July 29, 2009 by MP Walid Al-Tabtabaei. He appended his previous proposal to another cosponsor with MPs Jamaan Al-Harbash and Nasser Al-Sanea on March 11, 2009. They requested “the number of teachers of any nationality should not exceed 30 percent of the total number of non-Kuwaiti counterparts”.

Kuwaitization of Sermon
On December 6, 1993, former MP Talal Al-Saeed called for the Friday sermon broadcast live from Kuwait Radio and Television to be exclusive to Kuwaiti preachers

Save Expenses
On November 24, 2010, former MP Mubarak Al-Khurainj requested that all convicted foreigners be expelled to their countries, except those convicted of homicides or financial crimes, so that they can execute jail terms in their countries in order to save expenses and financial rewards they receive for the handiwork they make in prison.

Country Reputation
On 14 June 1967, former MP Abdullah Dashti proposed that cars bearing Kuwaiti numbers and owned by non-Kuwaitis should not be allowed to travel outside the country, because some of the owners of the cars carry out actions that harm the country’s reputation.

Bearing Hardships
Former deputy Walid Al-Tabtabaei praised expatriate workers from Bangladesh, describing them as bearing the hardships of work. He requested in a proposal on February 3, 2010 to address the issue of bringing in agricultural labor and restricting the job to a specific nationality. He wanted this to be done by opening the way for farmers to recruit agricultural labor of various nationalities, including five workers for each farm that will be Bangladeshi nationals, as it’s proven that they bear the hardships of agricultural work in Kuwait.

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