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INDEED the parliamentarians have lost their bearings. During the electoral campaigns, slogans were raised, but confusion prevailed among the people and the candidates. The parliamentary majority announced that it stood by the people, supported their demands, and sought to achieve them.
However, after they were elected, the mood changed, and the suggestions they were making were strange to Kuwait and Kuwaitis, to say the least. It is as if this country lives in the luxury of entertaining itself with small matters, and neither has crises that “cannot be carried by two camels,” nor have people who groan from the dire situation they are enduring.
These parliamentarians revealed the fact that they do not have realistic programs. Instead of a proposal that benefits the people, some proposed a law to ban tattoos and plastic surgeries. Others contented themselves with amending some laws that concern only a specific group of Kuwaitis. The majority of the people are waiting for justice and assistance in managing their living affairs, and making their lives better.
Therefore, when the Minister of Commerce asserts that he is not thinking of canceling the ration card, he is expressing a ministerial-parliamentary mentality that does not understand what equality means in terms of rights and duties stipulated in the Constitution. If his statement was aimed to oppose the proposal of MPs Marzouq Al-Ghanim and Ahmed Lari just for the sake of opposing, then he has lost sight of the fact that public money bears wastage of seven billion dinars annually on ration that is no longer needed.
In fact, it aimed to increase the wealth of merchants and the rich at the expense of the low-income earners. In recent years, smuggling of subsidized food items constituted a crisis for all agencies of the Ministry of Interior. Ironically, these materials continue to be sold in other countries at prices lower than their cost in Kuwait. What MPs Al-Ghanim and Lari proposed is realistically in the interest of the low-income earners and the poor, because canceling subsidies on goods and allocating cash support to the needy saves public money about five billion dinars. It has been proven that just one billion dinars is sufficient and in fact more for them, while the remaining can go to other outlets that Kuwait needs.
When water and electricity are wasted in palaces, and owners of huge luxury cars benefit from the subsidized gasoline, then it is unfair, and in fact, a waste of grace. If the rich man suffers from a cough, his private plane takes him to the most luxurious hospitals abroad, because he believes there is no proper medical infrastructure in Kuwait, let alone the fact that he contributed to its poor quality. Also, when the state lacks an educational strategy for the benefit of the owners of private schools and universities, this means slow killing of society. We have to realize that it is impossible for the situation to remain as it is.
Therefore, the MPs must take into consideration the conditions of the people. That is why MPs Al-Ghanim and Abolish subsidies Lari did well by proposing to stop commodity subsidies, and for the cash allowance to go towards securing the needs of low-income earners and borrowers. The writer of these lines neither needs two bags of rice every month, nor does he waste electricity and water like the owners of palaces who leave their air conditioners on throughout the summer months when they are vacationing in Switzerland, London and elsewhere. This is definitely not social justice.
In most countries of the world, and even neighboring countries similar to Kuwait, there is comprehensive health insurance for family members, including treatment abroad. The state can insure lowincome earners within the framework of cash support. There are many solutions to this problem, but when the parliamentarians lose their bearing and the government follows in their footsteps, then no good news can be expected. This is because the country can only be reformed through a realistic vision, and not through machinations and draft laws that rendered us a laughing stock.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times
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