MP seeks to nullify ‘Conscription Law’

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KUWAIT CITY, Dec 4: MP Badr Al-Mullah has submitted a bill on nullifying Conscription Law No. 20/2015. Al-Mullah pointed out that this law was supposed to address loopholes in the previous Law No. 102/1980, but it created new problems instead. He said he forwarded queries to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahd about the issue and he was informed that 6,368 Kuwaiti youths were referred to the Criminal Investigations General Department for violating the abovementioned law; in addition to 6,923 who have yet to register for conscription. He stated this means that almost 13,000 individuals are subject to legal procedures for crimes they have nothing to do with.

He clarified that the Kuwaiti youths want to register for conscription, but the Ministry of Defense cannot accommodate all of them. He cited Article Three of the law, stipulating the completion of conscription, postponement, or exemption as one of the conditions for employment in the public and private sectors; thereby, delaying the employment of the youths. He added Article 33 of the law states that employers in the public or private sectors are required to pay the salary of the employees during the conscription period. He pointed out that such a requirement has prompted the private sector to refrain from hiring Kuwaitis. He also highlighted the tough penalties stated in the law like three years imprisonment, which could be imposed on thousands of innocent Kuwaiti young men. He stressed the need to nullify the law; and then the Ministry of Defense, in coordination with the Supreme Defense Council, will be authorized to lay down the regulations for the mobilization of citizens during disasters and wars.

MP Dawoud Maarefi submitted a bill on nullifying Clause Two of Article Eight of Government Law No. 81/2014. This clause allows the governorates to take some of the gains of cooperative societies in their areas according to the decision issued by the Social Affairs and Labor minister as per the request of the Higher Council for Governorate Affairs. He argued this clause is illegal since it allows the governorates to take a part of its budget from cooperatives through the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor although they are under the Ministry of Interior. He added it is illegal for public institutions to get funds from the private sector, since the cooperatives invest private money belonging to the shareholders.

On the other hand, MP Hamad Al-Obaid asked Minister of Health Ahmed Al-Awadhi if it is true that the Elderly Health Services Department is now under the assistant undersecretary for Healthcare Affairs. If yes, he wants to know the pros and cons of this step for the elderly; and if the ministry has a plan to ease healthcare procedures for the elderly.

MP Shuaib Shaaban forwarded queries to Minister of Education, Higher Education and Scientific Research Adel Al-Manea about the rationale behind paying rent for unused fl ats for 11 months, measures taken to punish the officials responsible for the misappropriation of public funds, if the ministry conducted a study on the actual demand for fl ats to be rented for female expatriate teachers in order to avoid renting the whole building for a few teachers, if the ministry looked into the distribution of teachers to match the number of rented buildings in every educational district, total amount allocated for renting buildings for the accommodation of teachers in the last 10 years, number of rented buildings at present, steps that the minister has taken since he assumed office to nationalize jobs, number of national employees compared to the expatriates, their job description, types of contracts signed with expatriate employees, plan to fill up vacant senior and supervisory positions especially those currently occupied by acting officials, if the ministry added Artificial Intelligence (AI) and digitalization to the curricula of schools, if necessary equipment are available, plan to establish schools for boys and girls in new residential areas such as Al-Mutlaa and Jaber Al-Ahmad City, establishment schedule, if the needed plots have been allocated for this purpose, if the budget is available, if the Ministry of Higher Education provides subsidy to private universities, total amount of subsidy in the last 10 years if the answer is ‘yes’, legal basis for granting such subsidy, level of monitoring by the Secretariat General of Private Universities Council (PUC) in terms of the quality of education in private universities, if some departments are not accredited, why the departments with low or zero demand of graduates by the labor market continue to receive new students, number of graduates in such departments in the last three years, and estimated number of graduates in the current academic year. MP Ahmed Lari forwarded the following queries to the Minister of Electricity, Water and Renewable Energy and acting Minister of Public Works Jassem Al-Ostad:

■ Total budget of the Public Authority for Agriculture Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAAFR) for planting trees along the roads and streets, as well as desertification in the last three years including fiscal 2023/2024.

■ Plan of PAAAFR to combat desertification and plant more trees to minimize the effect of dust storms.

■ List of contracts that PAAAFR signed with agricultural contractors including the value and term of each contract, as well as the name of the contractor and the area covered by the contract.

■ Causes of the damage of large part of trees and plants along the roads and streets and if PAAAFR holds any other public institution accountable for such damage. In another development, 45 MPs signed the request that Rapporteur of the Legal and Legislative Affairs Committee MP Muhannad Al-Sayer attached to the report of the committee on the proposed nullification of Article 80 of Public Institution for Social Security (PIFSS) Law No. 61/1976, which is included in the agenda of the session scheduled for Jan 9, 2024.

The proposal aims to protect public funds; considering the aforementioned article authorizes the Council of Ministers to grant exceptional salaries and allowances which, according to the MPs who signed the proposal, is one way of squandering public funds. This article stipulates granting exceptional salaries to senior officials, including ministers and deputies – a violation of the principles of justice and equal opportunities. Meanwhile, the Budgets and Final Accounts Committee on Monday discussed the letter of the State Audit Bureau (SAB) stating that it is not allowed to carry out its monitory task in Kuwait Industrial Bank (KIB) as per Law No. 30/1964 on the establishment of SAB. The committee also discussed the report of the Ministry of Finance on the contribution of public institutions and legal personalities in KIB, as well as SAB’s report on the cash equivalent of unused leave days in the civilian and military sectors. Representatives of the Ministry of Finance, SAB, Kuwait Investment Authority and KIB attended the meeting.

By Saeed Mahmoud Saleh
Al-Seyassah/Arab Times Staff

This news has been read 891 times!

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