MP AL-DAQBASI CALLS FOR REVAMP OF ELECTION SYSTEM
KUWAIT CITY, Dec 25: Today’s Assembly session was dedicated for discussing the MP’s responses to the speech delivered by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah in the inaugural session of the fourth parliamentary term. MP Ali Al-Daqbasi was the first to talk. He began by warning against repeating the previous experiences of plunging into repetitive talks without action, highlighting that the National Assembly has so far not received the government program.
He stressed the need to change the approach of the government and adopt a new policy that does not support favoritism and personal interests. Al-Daqbasi said there are many institutions with boards of directors in various fields such as oil which pull out a lot from the public funds but provide nothing in return for the citizens.
He called for amending the election system, describing it as a racist and biased system that was followed previously by South Africa.
Al-Daqbasi lamented that the current election system divides the constituencies to make “masters” out of some and “slaves” out of some others.
He said it is unreasonable for two governorates – Capital and Hawally – to be represented by 30 MPs while the remaining four governorates are represented by 20 MPs, adding that this does not ensure justice.
Al-Daqbasi called on the relevant authorities to impose tough punishment on those who offend Kuwait and harm national unity, adding, “Citizens can criticize whomever they want but it is unacceptable to offend the State of Kuwait”.
He concluded by highlighting the importance of collective work instead of individual initiatives. MP Dr Adel Al-Damkhi said they waited for a long time for the new government to be formed but now they have to wait for three more weeks to receive the government program.
He called upon the government to commit to the Islamic, Arab and Gulf identity of Kuwait, revealing his shock at the appointment of the ministers including those who offended the Gulf unity.
Dr Al-Damkhi wondered about the renewal of the services of some senior officials in certain institutions despite the negative reports issued against them by the monitoring institutions. He called upon the government to ease the pressure imposed on bloggers, and respect freedom of speech.
Dr Al-Damkhi said it is very strange that Kuwait has not witnessed trial of a single minister in more than 25 years. MP Shuaib Al-Muwaizri said the ruling family is responsible for everything that will happen in Kuwait.
However, he was quick to affirm his loyalty to His Highness the Amir and his respect for the ruling family. He explained that the ruling family, in the 1930s, allied with the Bedouins to turn against the urbanites. They later allied with the urbanites against the Bedouins.
Then the ruling family allied with the Sunnis against the Shiites, and later with the Shiites against the Sunnis. Now it has allied with the tiny entities. Some of the ruling family members who are state officials are not committed to Article 6 of the Constitution.
Al-Muwaizri insisted that the love and respect the citizens show the ruling family must be reciprocated with love and respect too. Addressing the members of the ruling family, Al-Muwaizri said, “You are losing your deposit by the citizens. Do not scarify the people for the sake of a few individuals.” He revealed that many Kuwaiti families buy houses overseas because they are not sure about the future.
MP Khalil Al-Saleh said the future of the country seems dark due to lack of jobs and houses, and low salaries as well as continuous hike in prices. He suggested offering full salaries to Kuwaitis who register at Civil Service Commission (CSC) for employment after the first three months of the registration.
MP Hamdan Al-Azmi said interpellations are supposed to be the start to the process of finding solutions to problems. However, it has been noticed that the discussion of an issue usually comes to an end when an interpellation request is submitted, which implies that interpellations are being used for personal disputes and not in search for real solutions. He called for approval of the general amnesty law and amendment to the election law.
Al-Azmi indicated that he calls for its amendment for the sake of public interest, even though he is one of the beneficiaries of the “oneman one-vote” election system. He lamented that local bloggers are not allowed to express their opinions even though Kuwait is being offended by many countries and no one questions them.
MP Al-Humaidhi Al-Subai’e said His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al- Jaber Al-Sabah stressed the importance of national unity but this cannot be achieved without approving the general amnesty law, insisting that the subjects for the amnesty are not thieves and they did not embezzle public funds. He stressed the importance of finding solution to the Bedoun issue, indicating that, because the Bedoun residents do not have the right to vote, there are less than ten MPs supporting their issue.
Al-Subai’e affirmed the need for the state to confront fake accounts, explaining that a blogger revealed that he received KD 14,000 from a senior official of Ministry of Interior. That senior official was not dismissed from office even though he was charged with six accusations.
MP Muhammad Al-Dallal said, “We sit in this ‘Hide Park’ every time but there are no positive results from our talk”. He congratulated His Highness the Amir for reconciling with Saudi Arabia on the issue of the joint zone.
Al-Dallal stressed the importance of amending the election law in order to ensure an effective and useful Parliament. He concluded by calling for specifying criteria to appoint senior officials and supervisory employees, and wishing for the issue of fake citizenships to be settled. MP Saleh Al-Ashour said the task of the government is to solve the problems of Kuwaiti citizens, and not the problems of other countries, indicating that he believes the course of the government will continue the same unless some surprises emerge. He called for the release of Bedoun activists, lamenting that they are behind bars even though they did not use any form of violence when demanding their rights.
Al-Ashour requested His Highness the Amir to release the imprisoned bloggers who have been sentenced to jail terms ranging from six months to ten years just because of some messages they posted on social media. He concluded by saying, “May God forgive those who suggested and approved the cybercrimes law.”
MP Salah Khursheed asked every minister to present his program and specify a time period to complete it. He criticized the ministers, especially the new ones, for their side speeches while the MPs have been delivering their own speeches, adding, “It is better for them to listen carefully and record the MPs’ observations which may help them in doing their work”.
MP Khalil Abul asked the government to take into consideration the fact that the expected term of the government is less than one year, due to which their program should be suitable and fitting for this period. He stressed that the program should include quick decisions, highlighting the importance of differentiating between a program and a plan.
Abul lamented that young people who apply for jobs must wait for more than three years and later the employers ask for newlygraduated employees. He called for re-defining the term of “newly-graduated citizen”. He suggested offering flats to citizens at low rents as a temporary solution to the housing issue.
Abul called for prompt decisions to be taken to tackle the demographic imbalance, lamenting that two-thirds of the infrastructure are used by expatriates. He stressed the need for bringing to justice those involved in the death of the Kuwaiti citizen Ahmad Al-Dhefeiri while in detention at Ministry of Interior, indicating his supposition that many individuals admitted crimes under pressure.
While MP Khalil Abul was talking about the demographic imbalance issue, he was interrupted by MP Dr Abdul Kareem Al- Kandari who said he submitted more than one bill in this regard but the MPs did not take them into consideration. Abul responded by saying, “I did not mean you, l meant the government”.
Then Dr Al-Kandari told Abul, “You are one of the members of the Legislative Committee, which has been disrupting the discussion of bills. For three years, you stayed silent and only now you decided to talk just because the elections are getting closer.”
MP Abdullah Al-Kandari said he wishes Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Foreign Affairs are no longer exclusive to the members of the Al-Sabah Family, adding, “I wish the new government proves I was wrong when I thought that nothing is going to change.”
MP Riyad Al-Adasani stressed the importance of taking relevant procedures for the repatriation of the former director general of Public Institution for Social Security Fahd Al- Raja’an, especially since final verdicts were issued against him by the British Judiciary.
MP Sa’adoun Hamad said he submitted bills for amending the election law but they were dismissed by the National Assembly “as if each MP is aiming at preserving the election constituency that voted for him”. He suggested “two-vote electoral system” whereby one vote will be for inside the voter’s constituency and the other for outside of it. He indicated that, as per the information he received, only five out of the 560 experts are suspected to be appointed illegally in Ministry of Justice, stressing the need to find a solution to this issue.
Hamad called for moving embassies out of the residential areas due to the traffic jam that they residents usually face in these areas. He insisted that the Bedoun issue must be solved with granting citizenship to those deserving and permanent residency to others.
MP Dr Bader Al-Mullah said 6,200 individuals have been granted Kuwaiti citizenship during the tenure of the former minister of Interior. He explained that the minister used the authorization given to him by the citizenship law to grant Kuwaiti citizenship based on his decision. A total of 320 individuals were granted Kuwaiti citizenships in the very last month of his tenure prior to the grilling of the former minister of Interior.