KUWAIT CITY, Aug 18: The parliamentary Human Resources Committee on Monday discussed seven bills on the demographic issue, says Committee Rapporteur MP Osama Al-Shaheen who pointed out that the government did not submit any of these bills.
Al-Shaheen disclosed the committee agreed to hear the opinions of the government and Ministry of Justice about the penalties stipulated in these bills.
He said the committee also agreed that there is no need to establish a new institution for this purpose; considering the existence of several concerned entities like the Supreme Committee for the Demographic Issue in the Cabinet, Public Authority for Manpower (PAM), Civil Service Commission (CSC), and Supreme Council for Planning and Development. He added the committee approved the recommendation for the government to specify the ratio between the expatriate workers and citizens.
He said the committee also agreed on the need to specify the number of expatriates of every nationality; otherwise, nothing will change. He revealed the committee agreed to exempt the domestic workers from the quota for every nationality in order to maintain the stability of Kuwaiti families and prevent any increase in the cost of recruiting domestic workers from abroad.
He clarified that the government requested for the exemption of workers under governmental contracts from the abovementioned regulations. He said the committee laid down two conditions for approving this request. First, the workers must leave as soon as the project is accomplished. Second, the workers’ residency is non-transferable.
He went on to say that the committee agreed with the government to ban the recruitment of workers among the nationalities that exceed the specified percentage.
The ban can be lifted once the number of such workers is lower than the limit. He added the committee agreed to toughen penalties including imprisonment and fine for those who facilitate the entry of expatriate workers more than the quota set by the government.
The penalties shall be imposed also on whoever engages in visa trading and whoever urges any concerned employee to sign forms illegally. He said the committee corresponded with the Ministry of Justice to hear its opinion about such penalties. He disclosed the committee is waiting for completion of the relevant report to refer it to the Assembly before the end of August.
He said the committee also discussed the issue of appointing senior officials and members of boards of directors and the allowances granted to them. The committee was assigned by the Assembly to investigate this issue and communicate with different public institutions to determine the criteria and conditions for appointing senior officials.
In another development, Rapporteur of Educational Affairs Committee MP Omar Al-Tabtabaie disclosed that the committee discussed the bills on amending the Audio-Visual, Printing and Publishing laws. He explained the main aim of the committee is to ease the penalties and enhance freedom of speech. He said the committee agreed to cancel the imprisonment and fine, except for crimes on offending the Heavenly Entity.
He clarified that the dispute between the committee and the government stemmed from the latter’s insistence to maintain vague phrases like ‘violating public morals’. He argued such flexible terms can be misused or abused either in favor of one accused and against another according to the desire of the authorities.
The lawmaker added that the second disputed article is on offending friendly countries. He said this article intimidates the citizens to the extent that they cannot defend their country on social media as they are afraid of lawsuits filed by foreign countries against them through their embassies in Kuwait.
He added the committee also discussed the Printing and Publishing Law, and it agreed to remove the advance censorship targeting the writers and thinkers. He said the later censorship will remain but it will be in the hands of the judiciary to decide if the writer is guilty or not.
Meanwhile, MP Muhammad Al-Dallal forwarded queries to Minister of Finance Barrak Al-Shitan about the number and job descriptions of Kuwaiti employees at Kuwait Investment Office in London.
He asked Al-Shitan to provide him with the Kuwaiti and global regulations organizing the appointment of employees at Kuwait Investment Office in terms of qualifications, salaries, grants and allowances.
He asked for the names of Kuwaiti employees who have been tasked to represent Kuwait Investment Office in London since 2015, and plans laid down by Kuwait Investment Authority and the London investment office to train and qualify Kuwaiti employees to work at the office
By Saeed Mahmoud Saleh Arab Times Staff