Assembly delays grilling of Aseeri for two weeks

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: The National Assembly yesterday agreed to delay the debate of the grilling against Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Ghadeer Al-Aseeri for two weeks after the minister requested the postponement. Islamist MP Adel Al-Damkhi, who filed the grilling, accused the minister of undermining lawmakers and their voters by ridiculing their statements.

The minister had already demanded an explanation over a part of the grilling, saying it was not clear. MPs have accused the minister, who is in the Cabinet for the first time, of tweeting support for anti-government protests in Bahrain in 2011. The grilling is expected to be debated at the next session on Jan 21.

During the session, HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah demanded that statements made in the last session by opposition MP Shuaib Al-Muwaizri should be deleted. The lawmaker insisted that he only criticized the ruling family like other Kuwaitis, adding that the Assembly should not allow anyone, including ruling family members, to undermine the rights of the Kuwaiti people. The Assembly however agreed to remove the statements from its minutes.

MPs later accepted a government proposal to allocate two hours every month to debate issues concerning citizens despite the rejection of some lawmakers, who argued that this is not a proper way of resolving problems. The Assembly also approved a letter by MP Riyadh Al-Adasani calling on the government to refer the case of a former MP, who acknowledged receiving money from the government, to the Anti-Corruption Authority for investigation.

Adasani said the former MP had publicly admitted receiving the money and saying that other lawmakers had also taken it, and accordingly should be referred to the authority. MP Saleh Ashour said referring the case to the Anti-Corruption Authority would amount to interfering in the case, which is being investigated by the public prosecution, but Adasani denied it had been referred to the prosecution.

Adasani vowed that if the government does not apply the law by referring those suspected of stealing public funds to the public prosecution, he will file to grill the prime minister. MP Yousef Al-Fadhalah said that the issue of lawmakers receiving money from government officials is highly disturbing and a big blow to the constitution and values.

Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem told the Assembly that he has coordinated with the government to hold a special session tomorrow to discuss a number of issues including the recently signed agreement between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia over the neutral zone, adding that voting on the agreement will be made only after the foreign relations panel submits its report. Foreign Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah said he was prepared to provide the details of the historic agreement to the National Assembly.

The Assembly then continued to debate the Amiri speech delivered on the opening day of the current term late October. MP Safa Al-Hashem complained that some government departments are “penetrated” by foreign advisors, saying that an 80-year-old expat advisor to the finance ministry undersecretary has just got a renewal, “although he sleeps during meetings”.

MP Mohammad Al-Hadiya complained of flagrant violations in the citizenship issue and criticized the government for refusing to launch an investigation into the allegations. MP Thamer Al-Suwait however said there are unfounded allegations into this sensitive issue, saying that a lawmaker had claimed that 6,000 people were granted nationality in a deliberate attempt to raise baseless and racist concerns.

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