LAWMAKERS NOD TO BLOCK EVICTION FOR LOCKDOWN RENT ARREARS
KUWAIT CITY, Aug 6: The National Assembly on Wednesday rejected the government’s proposal to allow employers in the private sector to negotiate with the employees in order to reduce salaries by 50 percent maximum or unpaid leave during the compulsory lockdown.
This came after the Assembly discussed six bills, five of which were ratified and one was rejected. Among the 48 MPs present in the earlier part of Wednesday’s session, 34 voted against the governmental bill on tackling the consequences of coronavirus (COVID-19), 13 voted in favor and one abstained.
The bill allows employers in the private sector to negotiate with all or some of their employees to reduce salaries by 50 percent maximum or unpaid leave during the compulsory lockdown.
The bill stipulates that the government will compensate national employees by granting them financial support equal to the amount of salary reduction, in addition to the regular national labor subsidy.
Meanwhile, the Assembly approved the bill on amending the Penal Code in order to grant the mother, in addition to the guardian (father), the right to sign the waiver if a patient needs surgery or any medical procedure and the latter is unable to take a decision in this regard. Chairman of the Legal and Legislative Affairs Committee MP Khalid Al-Shatti disclosed the committee agreed on granting the above mentioned right to the mother in this bill only; because another bill on amending the Medical Profession Law is currently under discussion in the Health and Social Affairs Committee.
This bill authorizes the wife, sister, first and second degree relatives to sign the waiver in addition to the guardian.
The Assembly also approved the bill on combating family violence in its first reading with 38 MPs voting in favor, while six voted against and one abstained. The second reading is slated for the Aug 12 session. The bill is an amendment of Law No. 16/1960 on family violence, in which a new article will be added stipulating that the penalties stated in the current version of the law shall be doubled on a member of the family who attacks another member if the victim is a minor, mentally challenged or elderly
. In addition, the Assembly unanimously voted in favor of the bill on organizing Kuwait Fire Service Directorate. It grants additional privileges to firefighters such as the establishment of a special hospital for them with a research unit focusing on relevant injuries and diseases.
According to the bill, a firefighter who has been in service for more than 15 years shall be promoted to lieutenant. It stipulates the military nature of the firefighting work but the firefighters will be unarmed and changes the name of the directorate to Kuwait Firefighting Force. It grants the firefighting force judicial arrest power and allows them to inspect public places to ensure strict compliance with the regulations.
Another bill was passed with 51 MPs voting in its favor while three voted against. It prohibits the eviction of tenants with rent arrears during the compulsory lockdown provided the rented space is not used within this period. It leaves the mode of payment for the judge to decide as per his evaluation of individual cases.
The bill on the right to obtain information was approved with 44 MPs voting in its favor while 11 voted against. It states that any citizen has the right to obtain any information he requests, except confidential information like those related to Kuwait Army and national security.
The concerned minister issues a decision whether to release the requested information or not.
On the other hand, the citizen has the right to submit a complaint to the Council of Ministers if he is not satisfied with the decision of the council to hide information. The citizen can resort to the court which will decide if the needed information is confidential or not.
Moreover, 45 MPs voted in favor of referring the report of the parliamentary fact-finding committee on the violations in the oil sector to the government while four MPs voted against it. The report consists of 90 recommendations including the referral of 11 cases to the Public Prosecution due to administrative and financial violations concerning illegal appointments. Furthermore, the Speaker of the National Assembly Marzouq Al-Ghanim expressed solidarity with the Lebanese people in this difficult time as they grapple with the sad incident – explosion in Beirut – which resulted in a large number of injuries and deaths.
In a statement he read on behalf of the Assembly, Al-Ghanim praised the prompt response of the Kuwaiti government that sent medical equipment to the sisterly country Lebanon. He also lauded the positive role played by Kuwait Red Crescent Society that immediately sent aid to the victims. He then wished all the injured speed recovery and implored Allah to have mercy on the victims.
By Saeed Mahmoud Saleh Arab Times Staff