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KUWAIT CITY, Dec 10: Several parliamentary committees met on Sunday to discuss various items in their agenda. The Legal and Legislative Affairs Committee deliberated on the proposed reformation of constituencies in preparation for discussion and voting at the National Assembly. Chairman of the committee MP Muhannad Al-Sayer has confirmed the completion of the panel’s report on amending the constituencies to combine the individual and list electoral systems, through which a voter casts two votes — one for the individual candidate and the other for the list. He pointed out that the suggestion is a hybrid election system — a combination of individual and list candidacy.
The bill consists of the following articles:
1. Kuwait is divided into five constituencies as per the table adopted in the last elections.
2. The candidacy in each constituency is based on the individual and list systems, wherein each constituency has four to six candidates. The list should not be formed according to sectarian or tribal bases. If the required number of candidates for a single list is not reached, the number can be completed by taking from the individual candidates in the same constituency. If the required number is still not reached, the candidates on the list are considered individual candidates.
3. The Higher Elections Commission gives the name for every list and the candidates are listed alphabetically.
4. Every constituency elects 10 MPs and every voter has the right to vote two times — one for the individual candidate and the other for his chosen list.
5. Individual candidates and lists with the highest number of valid votes are declared winners. In case two or more candidates in a list obtain the same number of votes, the Higher Elections Commission shall organize a lottery to determine the winner among these candidates.
The Housing and Real Estate Affairs Committee continued its investigation into the delayed implementation of new housing areas, and delayed infrastructure works and provision of basic services for the existing residential areas.
The Budgets and Final Accounts Committee discussed the report of the State Audit Bureau (SAB) on the budget and final accounts of the Secretariat General of the Council of Ministers for fiscal 2022/2023 and comments of the Bureau of Financial Controllers (BFC) in this regard. The representatives of SAB, BFC, Ministry of Finance, Central Agency for Public Tenders (CAPT), and Secretariat General of the Council of Ministers attended the meeting. The Values Enhancement and Negative Phenomena Committee looked into the causes of widespread bribery in public institutions and ways to combat bribery in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice and Kuwait Anti-Corruption Authority (Nazaha). The Public Facilities Committee talked about its tasks to follow up plans to plant trees along the roads and the establishment of more public parks in residential areas.
The Environment, Food, and Water Security Affairs Committee discussed its task to follow up on plans to add more plants, trees, and green spaces throughout the country; especially in the residential areas. The representatives of SAB and the Public Authority for Agriculture Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAAFR) attended the meeting. The Education, Culture, and Guidance Affairs Committee deliberated on the capabilities of private institutes, colleges, and universities; in addition to increasing the number of seats for Kuwaiti students compared to more than the overseas scholarship slots. Present at the meeting were representatives of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, the Board of Directors of the Public Universities Council, the boards of directors of private universities, and the National Bureau for Academic Accreditation and Education Quality Assurance. Chairman of the committee MP Falah Al-Hajri disclosed that they also discussed the violations of private universities; indicating that Minister of Education, Higher Education and Scientific Research Adel Al-Manea, who attended the meeting, confirmed the violations. He added the minister responded well as he issued a decision obligating the private universities to refrain from collecting illegal fees from the students and to refund the illegal fees collected since the establishment of these universities to date. He said an agreement has been reached to amend Private Universities Law number 34/2000 in a bid to impose penalties on erring universities. He pointed out that the existing law was ratified almost 23 years ago and it has no stipulation on punishing universities if they commit violations.
The Human Rights Affairs Committee talked about ways for the Ministry of Social Affairs to grant more support to charities to provide aid to the Palestinians. Present at the meeting were representatives of the Ministry of Social Affairs and the State Ministry for Family, Women, and Children Affairs.
Meanwhile, MP Majed Al-Mutairi asked Minister of Education, Higher Education, and Scientific Research Adel Al-Manea to provide him with a copy of the contract on the Firewall system for the protection of the ministry’s database including the contractor’s name, terms and value of the contract; if approvals were obtained from the concerned monitoring institutions; the number of employees in charge of the Firewall system; if the system works properly without any disruption; measures taken against the contractor if there have been disruptions in the system; if the machines causing the disruptions were replaced; if the ministry is preparing a new tender for the provision of another protection system; and if it is true that the ministry recommended awarding the new tender to the same contractor despite the repeated disruptions.
MP Muhammad Al-Hewaila forwarded queries to the Minister of Electricity, Water and Renewable Energy and acting Minister of Public Works Jassem Al-Ostad about the contract for the construction of Terminal Two (T2) at Kuwait International Airport, rate of accomplishment compared to the timetable stipulated in the contract, penalties imposed on the contractor in case of delays, and total expenditures on the project till date.
By Saeed Mahmoud Saleh
Al-Seyassah/Arab Times Staff
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