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Sunday , January 16 2022

MPs file to ‘grill’ minister over sports ban – ‘Don’t jump to conclusions over no-confidence vote’

Kuwaiti MPs (left to right) Al-Humaidi Al-Subaie, Abdulwahab Al-Babtain and Waleed Al-Tabtabaei arrive for a session at the National Assembly in Kuwait City on Jan 15. The three lawmakers filed to grill the Minister of Information and Youth for allegedly failing to meet international demands to end a 14-month sports ban

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 15: MPs Waleed Al-Tabtabaei, Abdulwahab Al-Babtain and Al-Humaidi Al- Subaie on Sunday submitted a grilling request against Minister of Information and State Minister for Youth Affairs Sheikh Salman Al-Humoud Al-Sabah.

The interpellation consists of these points: suspension of sports activity in Kuwait, wastage of public funds, serving personal interests in the State Ministry for Youth Affairs, financial and administrative irregularities in the Ministry of Information, ignoring press freedom, and prosecuting bloggers.

Speaking to reporters after submitting the grilling motion, Al-Tabtabaei pointed out the minister has been given more leeway, especially on the sports issue which made Kuwait miss the opportunity to participate in the Asian Cup. He urged the people to refrain from jumping into conclusion regarding the no-confidence vote as this is for the MPs to decide. He then stressed the need to reject the idea of referring the interpellation motion to the Constitutional Court, delete its points or discuss it in a closed-door session. Talking about the group of 26 opposition figures, Al-Tabtabaei stressed this group does not represent a political party so their stance on the interpellation motion might be different.

On the possibility of reshuffling ministers, Al-Tabtabaei pointed out that it is unacceptable if the reshuffle takes place before the interpellation. Last month, the minister and the public sports authority requested IOC and FIFA to temporarily lift the suspension and pledged to amend controversial sports legislation, under pressure from Parliament. But the two sports bodies rejected Kuwait’s request and the IOC demanded specific measures before ending the suspension. Besides amending sports laws, the IOC asked the authorities to immediately reinstate the Kuwaiti Olympic Committee dissolved along with several sports federations in August.

It also demaned that Kuwait withdraw all cases filed in Swiss courts against international sports bodies, claiming the suspension was illegal. As a result of the ban, Kuwait was barred last week from taking part in qualifiers for the 2019 Asian Cup. In a related development, National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al- Ghanim confirmed receiving the interpellation request on the same day, disclosing the request will be included in the agenda of the parliamentary session slated for Jan 31, 2017. He explained that postponing the debate on the interpellation requires a decision by the Parliament because the two-week period has yet to end.

Meanwhile, the parliamentary Legal and Legislative Affairs Committee on Sunday discussed a number of bills and approved a draft law on donations, grants and foreign aids. Committee Chairman MP Mohammed Al-Dallal revealed they also approved a draft law on protecting nationality which is similar to the Citizenship Law. He added that they talked about bills on protection of teachers and amendment of the Housing Care Law, indicating the latter includes good stipulations concerning divorced Kuwaiti women or those who never got married.

In addition, Al-Dallal affirmed the committee unanimously agreed to lift the immunity of MP Waleed Al-Tabtabaei and they will prepare a report in this regard which will be forwarded to the Parliament for deliberation in the next session.

By Abubakar A. Ibrahim Arab Times Staff

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