KUWAIT CITY, May 11: The National Assembly approved, in its first reading Wednesday, the proposal to grant citizenship to 4,000 deserving applicants every year. Article One of the bill states that the number of those who will be granted Kuwaiti nationality for the year 2016 will not exceed 4,000 in accordance with clause (iii) of Article Five of Amiri Decree number 15/1985.
Article Two mandates the Prime Minister and ministers in their respective jurisdictions to implement this law from the date of its publication in the official gazette. In a related development, Minister of Information and State Minister for Youth Affairs Sheikh Salman Al-Sabah Al-Salem Al- Hammud Al-Sabah confirmed that the government is keen on addressing issues concerning Bedouns through legal channels in order to serve the interests of the country.
Sheikh Salman said the government is trying its best by implementing many programs and taking the necessary procedures to solve the problems of Bedouns.
Also, during the discussion on the Interior and Defense Committee’s report about 11 proposals to determine the number of those eligible for naturalization, MP Sultan Al-Ghesim claimed there have been attempts to hinder the progress of this procedure.
Some MPs suggested postponing the discussion due to the absence of the interior minister, but Al-Ghesim pointed out that the minister’s opinion is included in the committee’s report so the postponement is unnecessary. MP Yousef Al-Zalzalah stated it is illogical for a country, which is known as ‘humanitarian’, to deprive Bedouns of their basic rights such as marriage and education among others. He stressed the need to ensure these people lead a respectable life, whether they get naturalized or not; indicating some Bedouns are in this situation just because of the failure of their fathers, while some of them have been living in Kuwait way before those who have been naturalized and some even bled for the country.
MP Saleh Ashour asserted tens of similar proposals were submitted prior to those discussed Wednesday, but none of them solved the issue because these are “incomplete steps.” He claimed an opposing force, which is stronger than the Parliament, is hindering the pursuit for solutions. He even challenged the government and its ability to naturalize 23,000 deserving Bedouns, saying “The authority cannot do it, because the influence of certain people are stronger than that of the government.”
The MPs went on to raise more concerns, all of which point to the direction of naturalizing Bedouns considering the issue has been soaked in arguments, negligence and electoral benefits long enough as stated by MP Askar Al-Enezi. Furthermore, the National Assembly unanimously approved a bill on supporting sports clubs in the first and second deliberations. Minister of Information and State Minister for Youth Affairs Sheikh Salman Salem Al-Hammud Al-Sabah explained the bill aims to regulate the financial support for clubs. He said all clubs must receive the same support whereas the privatized clubs must receive support according to their activities. He added the government has presented a proposal to grant KD 500,000 financial support to sports clubs every year, but it later agreed with the parliamentary Youth Affairs and Sports Committee to increase this to KD 750,000.
He affirmed the government remains committed in supporting the youths and sports clubs, adding the bill is aimed at ensuring justice for all sports clubs. Article One of the bill stipulates granting annual support of not more than KD 750,000 to registered sports clubs in accordance with the decisions and guidelines set by the Public Authority for Sports Board of Directors, as well as decree number 42/1978. Furthermore, the Parliament approved the request of the Budgets and Final Accounts Committee to instruct the Education, Culture and Guidance Affairs Committee to investigate the alleged irregularities in the summer term bonuses at the Public Authority for Applied Education and Training (PAAET) within two weeks It also removed the bill to amend the Kuwait Municipality Law from the agenda in response to the request of the Public Utilities Committee because the proposal needs further studies.
By Abubakar A. Ibrahim and Ahmed Al-Naqeeb Arab Times Staff