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Session delay sought over COVID

Bid to skirt grilling: MP

KUWAIT CITY, Sept 13: National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanim received a letter from Minister of Health Sheikh Dr Basel Al-Sabah requesting for postponement of the legislative session slated for Tuesday, because one of the MPs was found to be infected with coronavirus and the latter interacted with his colleagues during last week’s sessions. In a press conference Sunday, Al Ghanim disclosed the MPs are required to undergo testing for coronavirus on Sept 19 as per the regulations of global health organizations which specified the seventh day of infection for testing those who interacted with corona patients.

He clarified that the MPs will not undergo testing for coronavirus on Monday, as the results could be inaccurate according to the health authorities. During the press conference, Al-Ghanim was informed that another MP was infected with the coronavirus making the total two. He then continued to say that the National Assembly Office will discuss the minister’s letter on Monday. If an agreement is reached to postpone the session slated for Tuesday, it will be moved to Sept 22, the Speaker explained.

On the other hand, MP Al-Humaidi Al-Subai’e voiced objection to the request of the minister to postpone the upcoming session; describing the request as a way for the government to avoid discussing the grilling motion he submitted against HH Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah. Al-Subai’e stressed that it is unacceptable to end the current parliamentary term before discussing the grilling. He argued that completion of eight months and approval of the budget are the minimum conditions for ending the parliamentary term; while the rule is to complete the 12-month period, especially if there is a need to discuss important issues.

He wondered what could be more important than the grilling motion. He said the government disrupted the work of the legislature for about three or four months under the pretext of curbing the spread of coronavirus; hence, the current parliamentary term should not end without addressing the pressing issues. Meanwhile, MP Abdulkareem Al-Kandari, who submitted another grilling motion against HH the prime minister, announced in a press conference earlier that he received information about the premier’s unwillingness to discuss the grilling in the session scheduled for Tuesday.

He said the premier might take certain steps like referring the grilling motion to the parliamentary Legislative Affairs Committee or requesting for deliberation on the motion behind closed doors. He asserted the premier should not waste the opportunity to respond to the questions and refute the grilling points. He added the citizens are waiting for the prime minister to respond to questions regarding the leaked recordings. He also quoted MP Adel Al-Damkhi as saying that Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmad told him the latter handed over three recordings to Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid including the spying and Malaysian sovereign fund issues. Al-Kandari added Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid was supposed to hand over the recordings to Minister of Interior Anas Al-Saleh but the minister swore in the last session that he received only the recordings about the Malaysian sovereign fund.

He said one of the three – Al-Saleh, Al-Damkhi or Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid – is not telling the truth. MP Abdulkareem Al-Kandari has called on the Public Prosecution to issue a statement about the health conditions of an officer and a lawyer who were arrested because of the leaked recordings issue.

The lawmaker asked the authorities to allow the families of the officer and lawyer to meet them as per the regulations. He also stressed the need to allow them to hire lawyers who should be present whenever the relevant procedures are taken regarding their case. He added HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah must bear responsibility for the actions of Interior Minister Anas Al-Saleh. Earlier, MP Adel Al-Damkhi disclosed the officer – a colonel – was among those who prepared the report on the spying issue and that the officer is being punished for doing his job.

On the other hand, MP Muhammad Husain Al- Dallal intends to forward queries regarding Colonel Nasser Badr Al-Tayyar to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Anas Al-Saleh on Sunday. He wants to know details about the arrest of Al- Tayyar, such as dates of arrest and referral to the Public Prosecution; if the officer was subjected to acts of violence, threats or torture during interrogation; if Al-Tayyar was referred to a psychiatric hospital and the legal basis for taking such a step; if the Interior Ministry prevented the family and lawyer of the officer from visiting him for 10 days; if the ministry issued a similar instruction to the hospital; and decisions taken by the prosecution regarding the case. Meanwhile, MP Osama Al-Shaheen submitted a proposal to grant allowance to fathers whose children are studying online – KD 250 for each child regardless of their educational level.

He pointed out that online education has become compulsory; thereby, increasing the expenditures of families. He said it is possible to change the amount if the need arises; adding that the requirements for online education include an iPad or laptop for every child, Internet, desk and printer. He revealed the prices of iPads and laptops increased recently, so he asked Minister of Commerce and Industry Khalid Al Rawdan to follow up this issue.

By Saeed Mahmoud Saleh Arab Times Staff

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