HONORABLE MP Safaa Al-Hashem has submitted a proposal to stop giving free medicines to expatriates visiting the government hospitals in Kuwait, saying the fee of KD 1 or KD 2 they pay in the clinics and hospitals should be for diagnosis and consultation.
There is no doubt I respect the parliamentary right held by honorable Safaa but the Constitution and law gives me the right to comment with a rational level of freedom on any decision or law in my beloved country, Kuwait. Before making any comment on Safaa’s proposal, we need to draw attention to the racism and discrimination against expatriates worldwide, which continues to spread to the point of becoming the political ticket used lucratively in recent years.
For instance, the bigotry controversial rhetoric of President Donald Trump of the United States of America boosted his popularity and propelled him to the White House; the Rightist political parties in Europe are living their golden days, especially in France and Germany — with the German chancellor under fierce political attack for accommodating immigrants.
In Austria, the rightists also came close to succeed on their political bid, which means the rhetoric against expatriates or rather foreigners became a profitable political trade in various parts of the globe, and not only in Kuwait.
A country like Kuwait depends on expatriates from almost all educational levels to do most of its jobs, and many of them deliver the kind of work that supports the course of economy and other services in the country.
The increasing individual income of Kuwaiti citizens makes it almost a necessity for them to hire a housemaid or house driver and a maid. The construction sector and local trade largely depends on expatriates.
Educational, cultural and social sectors are neither excluded from the services of expatriates, and it’s safe to say that expatriates play a vital role — being a very important card in the country. I could agree on proposals to impose reasonable tax on expatriates’ remittances to other countries or realistic charges for driving license, although it should be done in a well-studied manner to avoid injustice or rather tyranny.
However, it is uncalled-for storming into the health sector. Without going further, I am registering total and unequivocal rejection of any decision that negatively affects the health of noble expatriates in our country, because the repercussions of such decisions are inhumane and taints our country’s image. We are reminded that our country has a positive and ideal image in the terms of hosting foreigners, and if there are flaws here and there, the situation can be remedied without targeting expatriates.
I completely agree with those who are agitated by the people coming to our country for medical treatment and other health services that cost almost nothing here. In case transgressions and flaws are noticed in any sector of the country, there must be a way to preserve the wellbeing of each person without the situation affecting anyone negatively.
This is a humanitarian issue and should not be sucked into the political platform where unnecessary confrontation is the norm. Finally, I sincerely wish MP Safaa will withdraw the controversial proposal that affects expatriates in our country, because most of them have been serving the country and its people devotedly.
The repercussions of the decision will have a devastating effect on citizens too, because we are in the same boat. I believe the implementation of health insurance system is the best offer, because the rights of each person will be preserved fairly.
By Yousef Awadh Al-Azmi