Parliament adjourns to February 7

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KUWAIT CITY, Jan 25: National Assembly Speaker Ahmed Al-Saadoun adjourned Wednesday’s session until Feb 7 despite having quorum, because State Minister for National Assembly, Housing and Urban Development Affairs Ammar Al-Ajmi informed him that the government will not attend the session. Meanwhile, MP Muhammad Hayef Al- Mutairi commented on the rumor that the Constitutional Court will rule on the dissolution of the Assembly due to the erroneous election procedures. He called for questioning and punishing every senior official behind such procedures.

He suggested suspending erring officials, in addition to imposing a fine on them to compensate for the losses incurred by the State during the election. He said all the candidates, whether they lost or won in the election, must be compensated as well, since they spent a lot on preparing for the election. He added it is unacceptable that the Assembly remains under the control of the Constitutional Court due to the alleged erroneous election procedures.

He stated this happens frequently, but such errors are ignored until the government figures out what kind of Assembly it is dealing with. “In case the Assembly is in harmony with the government, the wrong procedures are hidden. If there is a dispute between the two authorities, the wrong procedures are used to push for the dissolution of the Assembly.

Even if the current Assembly is dissolved, a bill must be ratified to sue and dismiss whoever is proven to be behind the erroneous election procedures. It is no longer acceptable to dissolve every Assembly that the government dislikes. It took three months to prepare for the last election to prevent errors and constitutional violations that could lead to the dissolution of the Assembly,” he explained. Al-Mutairi also reacted to what he considers a “deliberate misinterpretation” of his recent press statement on Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI). He denied supporting the current form of KCCI, as he is for amending the law on the establishment of the chamber; specifically the method of voting, subscription fees, and dominating other public institutions through the compulsory representation of KCCI in their boards of directors. He clarified that he applies the same policy on all public institutions – correction, not cancellation. In another development, MP Jenan Bu Shehri disclosed that the grilling motion she filed against Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Barrak Al-Sheetan will not be ignored due to the resignation of the government.

She explained the motion is aimed at informing the citizens about the truth and question the minister who committed violations. She said the minister heads the Economic Affairs Committee in the Secretariat General of the Cabinet, which issued two decisions to grant exceptional salaries to the new ministers within one month. She said the committee issued a decision on Oct 31, 2022 to grant exceptional salary of KD 2,400 to the new ministers and then another decision was issued on Nov 28, 2022 to grant KD 6,000. She stressed that both decisions are enough to prove the inappropriate implementation of Article 80 of the Public Institution for Social Security (PIFSS) Law. She clarified that every time a new government is formed, a decision on granting exceptional salary to the new ministers is referred to PIFSS for review and then revision, if necessary. She said PIFSS scrutinizes the files of every minister to determine if he deserves the exceptional salary or not.

She added the government hindered the ratification of bills in the interest of citizens and delayed studies on such important bills, while Al-Sheetan was preoccupied with the issuance of decisions on the exceptional salary for new ministers. She asked: Who really needs a salary increment, the ministers or the citizens? She called for the revision of the recent decision of the Cabinet to refer the exceptional salary resolutions to the Economic Affairs Committee in the Cabinet. She urged Chairman of the committee Minister of Oil Bader Al-Mullah to take into consideration the verdict of the Court of Cassation on Nov 22, 2022 that the Cabinet has the authority to suspend a decision on granting exceptional salary or pension in case the beneficiary does not meet any of the conditions.

She thanked her colleagues MPs Muhannad Al-Sayer, Hassan Jawhar, Abdullah Al-Mudaf and MP Abdulwahab Al-Essa for submitting a bill on cancelling Article 80 of PIFSS Law; which allows the Council of Ministers to grant exceptional salary and pension to senior officials, ministers, lawmakers, undersecretaries and assistant undersecretaries. Commenting on the resignation of the government, MP Adel Al-Damkhi asserted that if the decision lies in his hands, he would have rejected the resignation; and then instruct the government to face the grilling and deal with the bills as per the Constitution.

He said the citizens are disheartened due to the seemingly endless disputes and crises. He pointed out that the Amiri speech delivered by His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Meshal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah emphasized the need for the legislative and executive authorities to cooperate. He wondered until when the citizens will suffer the consequences of government resignations and legislative dissolutions. He added the citizens are the victims and the corrupt are the beneficiaries of such a situation. He inquired what will happen to the efforts exerted by parliamentary committees to address vital issues like political reform, housing, education and healthcare. He then pointed out that the resignation of the government prolongs the suffering of citizens. He added the roads have been in bad condition for almost 15 years despite the presentation of 20 recommendations to address the issue; including the implementation of the fourth clause of Article 85 of Central Agency for Public Tenders Law, which stipulates penalties for contractors proven to have committed violations like prohibiting them from participating in biddings until the errors are rectified.

On the other hand, MP Abdulkareem Al-Kandari submitted a bill on amending Compulsory Education Law number 11/1965 in order to impose harsher penalties on those who publish, circulate or leak exam questions in all educational stages in public and private academic institutions. The bill stipulates a fine ranging from KD 10,000 to KD 20,000 or two to seven years imprisonment. These penalties are also applicable to whoever tries to commit the aforementioned crimes. The student proven to have cheated in the exams will not be allowed to take any exam within the next two years, and will be given a ‘failed’ mark in all subjects. By Saeed Mahmoud Saleh Arab Times Staff

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