Monday , November 20 2017

MPs row over Municipality Law

KUWAIT CITY, June 13: The Parliament approved the proposal to amend Kuwait Municipality Law No. 5/2005 in its second deliberation on Monday, including the suggestion of the government on adding new areas through a decree rather than a law. In the explanatory note of the bill, it is stated that the law was amended in view of changes in the Municipality’s nature of work and services, as well as the growing population.

This will support the Municipality in addressing issues and facing challenges to ensure smooth fl ow of work. It also clarified that some functions of the Municipal Council and the Executive Body of the Municipality overlap with that of other institutions due to the issuance of laws governing the Public Authority for Food and Nutrition and the Environment Public Authority (EPA); hence, the need for the amendment bill.

According to the Public Utilities Committee’s report, the amended version of the law includes four chapters with 53 articles whereas the existing law consists of 42 articles. The amended law states that the Municipality is an independent public authority based in Kuwait City.

It consists of the Municipal Council and the Executive Body, with legal characteristics and under the supervision of the minister. Article Three mandates the Kuwait Municipality to write the urbanization policy. C

lause One of Article Four stipulates that the Municipal Council consists of 10 members elected according to Law No. 35/1962 — one from each of the 10 constituencies outlined in tables issued through a decree. The same article says the appointed members should hold university degrees but this condition does not apply to the elected members.

Article Five states that appeals regarding the results of Municipal Council election shall be under the jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court.

Paragraph Two of Article 13 stipulates that if a council member formally nominates himself for the parliamentary election, then he is deemed to have resigned from the Municipal Council so his seat is declared vacant in accordance with the law.

Article 18 stipulates that if a member fails to meet even one of the membership requirements or loses civil eligibility, his membership is cancelled by law and it is not dependent on the decision of the council.

For instance, if the member is stripped of his nationality or loses civilian capacity, his membership is cancelled and the decision of the council is not required in this regard. Article 21 stipulates the jurisdiction of the Municipal Council and transfer of some powers of the Kuwait Municipality to other institutions because one of the powers granted to the Municipality covers everything such as building regulations and public hygiene.

During deliberations on the bill, Public Utilities Committee Rapporteur MP Mohammed Al-Hadiya said 50 amendments were presented after approval of the bill in its first reading, 22 of which were incorporated into six articles while the rest were rejected. As a whole, the bill was approved by the Parliament and government but some MPs were unhappy about the article on the belongingness of areas to constituencies as it allows the government to remove or add areas to constituencies through a decree.

This sparked a heated argument because some MPs believe that such a decision should be taken through a law, not a governmental decree. MP Hamdan Al-Azmi was adamant in asserting what he regarded as a big mistake. He blamed the government for the failure, negligence and corruption spreading in the Municipality.

Other MPs stood against Al-Azmi, defending the government while accusing him of continuously interrupting sessions.

The verbal altercation escalated into a physical one between Al-Azmi and MP Sultan Al-Shimiri, prompting the speaker to stop the session for 30 minutes to give the MPs enough time to cool down. Meanwhile, on the question he forwarded to Minister of Justice, Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Yakoub Al-Sanei about the statement of Zakat House regarding the number of Bedoun families, MP Faisal Al- Duwaisan said they discovered that Zakat House grants aid to these people but the Central System for Remedying the Status of Illegal Residents (CSRSIR) did not provide anything.

He stressed that helping Bedouns and granting them their rights are considered a victory for Kuwait, indicating Kuwait is the only country labeling some people as Bedouns because of the racists who classify Kuwaitis into first class and second class citizens. He demanded for withdrawal of the citizenship of those who hold dual or forged citizenship saying, “If you want to open the door to dual citizenship in Kuwait, do it instead of burying our heads in the sand and ignoring those with dual citizenship who are loyal to the government. In another development, Budget and Final Accounts Committee Chairman MP Adnan Abdulsamad said they discussed Monday the final accounts of the Public Authority for Youth Affairs and the National Assembly.

Talking about the Public Authority for Youth Affairs, the MP alleged there has been no tangible and serious directive on the part of the government in terms of unifying all youth affairs under one umbrella despite the establishment of the authority. He pointed out the State Ministry for Youth Affairs remains under the management of the Secretariat General of the Cabinet with a budget that is double the amount allocated for the authority; thereby, causing problems such as the absence of central management, similarities in objectives and duplication of expenses.

Considering the bylaws on the establishment of the authority have yet to be presented, the MP urged the minister to expedite the process for the authority to execute its pending projects, some of which have been pending for 14 years due to the absence of a centralized body that caters to the youths. On the Assembly’s final account, the MP pointed out the Assembly’s TV station was given a budget of KD 2,150,000 to cover everything including the purchase of equipment, production fees and salaries of employees.

The committee urged the TV station to reduce the number of programs from media companies and rationalize the budget for this purpose. In addition, the committee also suggested that Al-Majlis TV Channel and Al- Dustoor Newspaper should be in charge of announcing anything related to human development for free through a media campaign, as well as create a platform for those who are looking for jobs.

By Abubakar A. Ibrahim and Ahmed Al-Naqeeb Arab Times Staff

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