Lawmaker calls for ministerial scrutiny to avoid future crises

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MP Saud Al-Asfour

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 15: Chairman of the Disabled Affairs Committee in the National Assembly MP Saud Al-Asfour has confirmed that the committee discussed the government’s decree responding to the proposed amendments to Disabled Affairs Law number 8/2010, reports Al-Seyassah daily. Officials of the Public Authority for Disabled Affairs (PADA) attended the committee meeting, while representatives of the Legal Advice and Legislation Department were absent.

Al-Asfour revealed they found out that the government’s comments were not presented to the committee to obtain its opinion before returning the bill, affirming the committee will complete the review of the comments after the formation of the new government to discuss them with the concerned minister. He added the committee also talked about its task to study medical cases that are not approved as a disability; such as one eye, one ear, childhood diabetes, and others; disclosing the committee asked the authority’s medical team to provide it with the standards approved in such cases. Meanwhile, MP Abdul Hadi Al-Ajmi has called on HH the Prime Minister-designate Sheikh Dr Mohammad Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah to carefully review the names of ministers in the government formation and remove those surrounded with suspicions of corruption to prevent political crises, so that “we do not resort to more difficult procedures after the oath guaranteed by the Constitution.”

In a press statement, he asserted: “This is a clear message because some of the names being circulated as ministers send negative signals to the Kuwaiti street, considering they have negative positions or were subjected to interrogations and did not provide anything to protect them before the Kuwaiti people.” He hopes that Kuwait will have young ministers who can complete government work and perform well for the country. He pointed out that Kuwait is living in an atmosphere of long wait and anticipation for the formation of the new government, indicating the nation’s representative must bear his oversight responsibilities. He stated that he asked HH the acting Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah about his choices for ministers, the question related to a minister in the previous governments, and his observations and suspicions of a conflict of interests. “The issue resurfaced today, but there is room for HH the Prime Minister-designate to reconsider since this question still exists after the circulation of some names nominated to the new government. Well-known corruption files, which have disturbed the Kuwaiti street, are still open; most notably the Army Fund.

The Public Funds Protection Committee held a series of meetings on this file,” he added He disclosed the committee discovered that this case, which Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmad announced — may Allah have mercy on him — in a historic position by exposing this group and its repercussions are continuing. He stressed it is unimaginable that an official, a bank manager or a person closely or remotely linked to any of the suspicions related to the Army Fund would be a candidate as a minister in the new government. “If this happens, the committee will summon the minister to investigate the case, as well as other well-known corruption cases,” he warned. He also denied accusing the Ethics Committee of violating the laws and praised the citizens’ cooperation with the panel. On the other hand, Chairman of the Committee for Promoting Values and Combating Negative Phenomena MP Muhammad Hayef accused “intrusive institutions” — which he did not name — of seeking to change the face of Kuwaiti society and preoccupying young people with matters outside their religion, customs, and traditions in a world filled with many negative and alien phenomena that invade societies. In a press statement following the committee’s meeting, Haif praised the ministries’ employees in assisting the relevant agencies to reduce negative phenomena. He also lauded the citizens who report to the competent authorities about any wrong practices in the country. He vehemently denied the allegation that he accused the Ethics Committee of making decisions contradicting the laws, stressing that the committee is playing its role in urging the activation of laws and regulations. He said “The committee discussed the legal and ethical violations in health clubs based on the complaints we received from citizens and in the presence of representatives of the ministries of Commerce and Municipality who were informed about the necessity of activating the laws and regulations to organize the work of health clubs and various activities in the country. These regulations prohibit them from violating the provisions of Islamic Sharia, including the employment of men in women’s salons; in the same manner that women are prohibited from working in health and physical institutes and salons for men.

Chairman of the Education Affairs Committee MP Hamad Al-Olayan announced that the committee will organize a discussion panel and an open dialogue entitled, ‘The Challenges of Education in Kuwait and Ways to Advance It, at the National Assembly Theater on Thursday to determine the reasons for the deterioration of education in the country and ways to develop it. In a press statement, Al-Olayan confirmed the conference is within the framework of the committee’s preparations for the session on education laws and development on April 30. He said the committee is keen on fully preparing for the session regarding reports and laws to ensure the session is fruitful and to achieve its goal. He hinted on the possibility of holding marathon meetings to complete the reports needed for the session. He pointed out that the invitation to the conference will be general to all specialists, interested parties, educational activists, those in the educational field, and officials in the Ministry of Education and other concerned authorities. He added the members of the committee will be present at this conference to listen to the concerns of specialists in this field and to know their views on the reasons for the deterioration of education in Kuwait, ways to advance it, and their ideas for educational development in the country. He stated that the committee recently held several meetings with government agencies; such as the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, Academic Accreditation Authority, Private Universities Council, government universities and many entities related to education.

He said the meetings coincided with the visit of the members of the committee to the State of Qatar to learn from the Qatari experience. In another development, MP Abdullah Al-Anbai asked Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Oil and Minister of State for Economic and Investment Affairs Dr Saad Al-Barrak about the number of drilling towers and well repairs at the joint operations in Wafra, the number of contracting companies, and number of Saudi and Kuwaiti employees supervising them. He wants to know the number new rigs operating at the joint operations since the resumption of production, the number for each contracting company, if the increase in the number of rigs is accompanied by a similar increase in the number of Kuwaiti employees representing Kuwait Gulf Oil Company (KGOC) in the concerned departments, number of Kuwaiti engineers specialized in preparing work programs for drilling towers and well repair before and after the new drilling towers started operating, if this increase is accompanied by an appropriate increase in the number of Kuwaiti employees representing KGOC, future national manpower needs of KGOC in all specializations, if the dues and benefits of Kuwaiti employees are different after switching from the joint account to the single account, including the annual merit increase, annual bonus, optional external training, allowances

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