MPs press protest … fault media sit-out of sit-in

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KUWAIT CITY, June 18: The 17 MPs, who boycotted the special session for voting on the Retirees Bill, continued their sit-in at the National Assembly building for the fifth consecutive day on Saturday. These MPs include Thamer Al-Suwait, Abdulkareem Al-Kandari, Khalid Al-Otaibi, Muhannad Al-Sayer, Hamdan Al-Azmi, Abdulaziz Al-Saqaabi, Hassan Jawhar, Al- SaifiMubarak Al-Saifi, Ahmed Mutei Al-Azmi, Fares Al- Otaibi, Mehalhal Al-Mudaf, Abdullah Al-Mudaf, Shuaib Al-Muwaizri, Muhannad Al-Hewailah, Bader Al-Mullah, Soud Bu Sleeb and Mubarak Al-Hajraf. The number of protesters increased to 18 on Saturday afternoon as MP Muhammad Al-Mutair joined them upon his return from Turkey.

On their Twitter accounts, the protesters called for activation of Article 102 of the Constitution: “The Prime Minister shall not be responsible for any Ministry and the casting of a vote of confidence in the Assembly shall not be applicable to him.

However, should the National Assembly, in the manner prescribed in the preceding Article, deem it impossible to cooperate with the Prime Minister, the matter shall be referred to the Head of State; and in that case the Amir shall either relieve the Prime Minister and form a new Cabinet or dissolve the National Assembly.

Should, after dissolution, the new Assembly return with the same majority a motion of non-cooperation with the Prime Minister, the latter shall be deemed relieved of his post from the date of the Assembly’s decision and a new Cabinet shall be formed.” The protesters also criticized the national media’s lack of coverage of the sit-in, compared to the international media which has been fully covering such an unprecedented event since day one. In addition, they decided to hold sit-ins in their respective diwaniyas scheduled for various days throughout the week. MP Thamer Al-Suwait clarified that the sit-ins in their diwaniyas are not a substitute to the gathering of citizens at Erada Square.

Minister of Finance and Minister of State for Economic and Investment affair Abdulwahab Al-Rashid on Thursday announced that executive procedures were finalized to enforce the bill granting Kuwaiti pensioners KD 3,000 (nearly USD 9.780) each and hike the value of pensions. “At the behest of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the bill was passed by the National Assembly yesterday and endorsed by His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah today,” the minister told KUNA this evening. “The disbursement will start as from next week after coordination with banks,” he made clear. Al-Rashid thanked the political leadership for their quick endorsement of the bill and constant care for pensioners, appreciating the efforts of the leaders and staffers of the Public Institute for Social Security.

In another development, Chairman of the Public Funds Protection Committee MP Abdullah Al-Turaiji said they noticed that the State Audit Bureau (SAB) has been slow in responding to the correspondences of the committee. He pointed out this has negatively affected the work of the committee, particularly its investigation into the violations uncovered in Touristic Enterprises Company (TEC). He warned SAB against concealing facts and protecting some senior officials. He went on to say that the delayed response of SAB contravenes its monitoring role, as well as the directive of His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al- Khalid to Minister of Finance Abdulwahab Al-Rashead to inform him about the measures taken against TEC and the concerned public institutions in view of the bureau’s comments about the collection of fees for utilizing State properties. He stressed the need for the committee to receive the response of TEC to the comments of SAB in order to compare it to the response of the company’s senior officials to the queries of the committee for the latter to finalize its report. He then unveiled his plan to invite the chairman of SAB and senior officials in Kuwait Investment Authority and TEC to discuss ways to address the violations related to the renewal of 12 contracts for renting State properties and the illegal appointments.

On the other hand, MP Ahmed Al-Hamad has confirmed receiving the response of Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Oil and State Minister for Cabinet Affairs Muhammad Al-Fares about the cost of paving land for the establishment of Zour Refinery. He revealed the total cost is KD186,504,000; while the land measures 13,564,358 square meters. Al-Fares informed the lawmaker about the stages of preparing the site for the establishment of the refinery as follows: survey, removing obstacles, conducting geotechnical studies to determine the required amount of sand, installing pipes to get sand from the bottom of Gulf waters, distribute sand to the specified areas, and buffering the soil by using certain equipment to match the required level.

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