‘COVID impact lingers’

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KUWAIT CITY, March 15: Chairman of the Kuwaiti parliamentary delegation to the 146th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and Undersecretary of Kuwait Inter-Parliamentary Group MP Thamer Al- Suwait attended the second meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement Parliaments Network on the sidelines the IPU Assembly, during which they discussed efforts to support global recovery from Covid-19.

Al-Suwait pointed out that many countries are still struggling in the provision of healthcare for their citizens due to the negative impact of the pandemic to medical professionals. He said the international community has yet to recover from the economic consequences of the pandemic, citing the United Nations reports that the poverty and hunger rates keep on increasing. He added this has negatively affected the ongoing efforts to address poverty and ensure justice in societies. He hopes the parliamentarian efforts could contribute to laying down strategies for the unification of international movement towards ending the Covid-19 crisis, grant aid to needy countries and achieve sustainable recovery.

Meanwhile, MP Hamdan Al-Azmi submitted a proposal to create a smart phone application called, ‘Your Voice is Heard and Your Right is Protected’, for citizens to air their complaints. In his capacity as chairman of the parliamentary Complaints and Petitions Committee, Al-Azmi said the current system for receiving complaints is cumbersome and tedious. He proposed the formation of three teams to manage the smart phone application – one will receive complaints, another will review and follow up complaints, and the last will submit reports on complaints including recommendations on the steps to address complaints. He disclosed that many citizens complained about the ‘Sahl’ application as it failed to serve its purpose, indicating the application he recommended will receive complaints from citizens regardless of the complainants’ location as it will be done through multiple channels like direct contact and WhatsApp.

In another development, MP Abdulaziz Al-Saqaabi responded to those who claimed the National Assembly has had no achievements so far. He pointed out that within the first 100 days of the Assembly, it ratified seven important laws compared to zero during the first 100 days of the 2016 and 2020 assemblies. On the allegation that the current Assembly submitted trivial bills which are not in the interest of citizens, Al-Saqaabi stressed only 10 percent of the 572 bills submitted so far can be considered trivial. He said the priorities for the first parliamentary year were specified on Jan 10, 2023 and these priorities include 37 important bills; such as amending the salary scale, voting based on the address in the civil identification cards, establishment of the Supreme Commission for Elections and specifying the minimum pension amount.

Talking about the alleged disruption of parliamentary sessions, Al-Saqaabi asserted that he and his colleagues reiterated their view – Article 116 of the Constitution does not require the presence of the government to hold a legislative session, as it stipulates the representation of the government in legislative sessions and that attending such sessions is part of governmental duties. He stressed it is illogical that the Assembly is being punished for the absence of the government in its sessions. Asked why the MPs do not deal with Assembly Speaker Ahmad Al-Saadoun the same way they did with former Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanim, Al-Saqaabi clarified the dispute with Al-Saadoun is minor and they share the same views on the issue. He said the dispute with Al-Ghanim was due to many reasons like the cancellation and postponement of grilling motions, protecting the prime minister and mismanagement of sessions.

On the possibility of declaring the Assembly null and void, the lawmaker quoted His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Meshal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah as saying that it will take a long time to discuss the decree on fresh elections and voting based on the address in civil identification cards to address the legal and constitutional loopholes. He warned against claiming that the last election results were rigged as this is absolutely baseless considering the judges supervised and monitored the entire electoral process. He said the best solution is to speed up the formation of the new government and allow His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to appoint ministers without any interference. He stressed the need for strong ministers who can take decisions on their own; so they can face grilling, instead of dodging it. By Saeed Mahmoud Saleh Arab Times Staff

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