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MPs critical of panel amnesty

KUWAIT CITY, Feb 16: Attacks on the parliamentary Legislative Affairs Committee through trivial symposiums and useless statements do not deserve any reply, says Committee Chairman Khalid Al-Shatti.

In a press statement, Al-Shatti disclosed a number of MPs have been criticizing the decision of the committee to combine three draft laws on the general amnesty in one report. Although these three draft laws are on granting amnesty, each has its own beneficiaries.

One is on amnesty for those convicted in the Abdally cell case, another is on amnesty for those convicted of storming the National Assembly building and the third is on amnesty for Abdulhameed Dashti. MPs who voiced objection to the decision of the committee argued that if the three draft laws are referred to the Assembly in one report, the Assembly will vote on these draft laws as one.

These lawmakers pointed out that those convicted in the Abdally cell case are different from those convicted of storming the parliamentary building as the former were involved in violent acts and terrorism crimes while the latter are pro-reform lawmakers keen on combating corruption, Al- Shatti added. He explained the MPs who criticized the committee’s decision did the same when one of them – MP Muhammad Al-Dallal – headed the committee in the previous parliamentary term as he combined some draft laws in one report.

When MP Al-Humaidi Al-Subaihi submitted a draft law on granting amnesty for those convicted of offending friendly countries and those facing charges for spreading rumors and baseless information, some MPs found it surprising that the committee discussed the bill.

He wondered what could be the reason behind such reaction, considering five MPs submitted the draft law in order to expedite discussions in this regard. He added those criticizing the committee now and pretending to support freedom of speech are the same ones who supported the enforcement of laws which curtailed freedoms such as the cyber crimes, audio-visual, publishing and printing laws.

He also accused them of violating the Constitution and the Assembly decree. He stressed the committee carried out its task properly, discussed the draft laws, approved them and issued the relevant draft even though he believed from the beginning that granting amnesty is the absolute right of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al- Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah who opened the amnesty door.

He added the committee approved the draft law on appealing verdicts issued by the Court of Cassation; affirming this has been included in the agenda for the session on Feb 18, 2020. Commenting on the committee’s decision, MP Khalid Al-Otaibi said the decision is a confirmation that Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanim is the sponsor of such legislative frivolity. He urged citizens to attend the upcoming session in order to personally witness the positions of the Speaker and MPs.

Meanwhile, Chairperson of the Financial and Economic Affairs Committee MP Safa’a Al-Hashem revealed that the committee on Sunday approved the draft law on amending the Social Security Law, which is aimed at maintaining social solidarity – one of the Islamic concepts.

Al-Hashem said the draft law allows those who already obtained salary advance to avail the same privilege once again. She clarified that the committee approved this amendment even if the government thinks otherwise. She said inserting the term ‘Islamic Sharia’ in the text of the law will be detrimental to the beneficiaries.

Since the Sharia concept is indissoluble, it includes certain provisions such as limiting the right to obtain advance salary to once in a lifetime only, obligating the heirs to pay the loan by deducting installments from the pension, and requiring them to state the reason for obtaining salary advance, she explained. She added the committee approved the proposed reduction of installments to 10 percent of the pension and the government seems to be in favor of this move.

She also affirmed submission of the report on the draft law to the Assembly and its inclusion in the agenda for the upcoming session.

Furthermore, MP Riyad Al-Adasani has reiterated that the Kuwaiti economy is strong and this has been confirmed by international consulting institutions like Moody’s which rated the Kuwaiti economy as stable. He said the criteria adopted in this rating include low State debt, strong financial status of the State, and profitable sovereignty fund investment. He added the aim of portraying the State of Kuwait as a country on the verge of bankruptcy is to push for privatization and enforcement of tax, stressing he will prevent the realization of such goals

By Saeed Mahmoud Saleh Arab Times Staff

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