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REFORMERS must address a number of public issues that concern majority of Kuwaitis, if not all of them; because it is now time for reform and turning a new chapter; that is, after correcting the path.
This includes general amnesty, which several MPs made as their slogan in their electoral campaigns. They began marketing it as soon as they entered the National Assembly; in addition to writing off the personal loans of citizens, not the commercial loans.
Before anything else, it must be emphasized that the political leadership is generous and the rulers are closer to the concerns of the people than others. They have no other interest than social and economic stability, which inevitably leads to political stability.
In order to prevent these issues from becoming a source of electoral gain or social anxiety, Kuwaitis are counting on an Amiri initiative to pardon prisoners of conscience and those with heavy sentences in this regard. This is in addition to redressing defaulters who are serving prison time; because of dud cheques and personal debts resulting from consumer loans — some of which are usurious, or money laundering.
Without a doubt, removing these obstacles from the citizens’ path will have a positive impact on the general situation of the country and prevent the political exploitation of these issues.
This should be done, so there is no going back to square one in terms of the conflict between the two authorities as a result of parliamentary effort to pressure the government and non-passage of laws that the country needs, which means a return to the malicious polemics that we do not need, especially under these sensitive circumstances.
Yes, everyone honors the Amiri immunity and those who transgressed it must be held accountable; but many tweeters have been imprisoned for tweets, which were either interpreted against their intentions or employed to gag them in order not to expose clandestine issues in an effort by those in power to terrorize those who opposed them. Undoubtedly, this does not satisfy the rulers who are known for not covering up violators and exploiters, and for rejection of injustice.
As for the second issue that affects majority of Kuwaitis; it must be mentioned that after the approval of the Bankruptcy Law, dud cheques became a problem and imprisonment has become an explicit violation of this law.
With regard to the travel ban, it is almost ironic. How can they prevent a citizen from leaving his country? In addition, the Constitution prohibits restricting the movement of citizens except for those who have been convicted of criminal offense. In other Gulf countries, citizens are not prevented from traveling on this kind of case.
As for the general right, in some countries the prisoner ‘buys’ the prison term and he is fined. Sometimes, the fine is more severe than imprisonment. Then, he is given another chance to re-evaluate his status and activity in order not to fall into the debt trap again.
Also, the leadership in those countries took the initiative to write off the loans of citizens and pay fines for them. In fact, Kuwait was the first to take this step when it announced such initiative years ago. I think it came from the former minister, Muhammad Al-Sanousi, when he was a program presenter on Kuwait TV. He called for collection of donations during the holy month of Ramadan and to release women who were imprisoned for issuing dud cheques under pressure from their husbands who enjoyed the money they earned while their wives were in prison.
Yes, the authority of the leadership over the people is broad. Without a doubt, all Kuwaitis will appreciate it if the leadership makes the abovementioned an initiative.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times
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