KUWAIT: The National Assembly began its new term by debating a grilling against State Minister for Cabinet Affairs and acting Information Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah yesterday, who unexpectedly said he was ready for the debate immediately. After the interpellation, 10 MPs filed a no-confidence motion against the minister. Voting on the motion will take place in the next Assembly session, expected to be held next week, and if 24 lawmakers vote against him, he will be automatically dismissed from his post.
Opposition MPs Riyadh Al-Adasani and Abdulkarim Al-Kandari explained the alleged violations the minister has committed in both the ministries and in departments under his supervision. They particularly accused the minister and the government of covering up and refusing to answer questions about the legal status of the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry, saying that since its establishment in 1959, the chamber has no legal status and its officials are not held accountable.
They also charged that the minister committed or failed to prevent financial and administrative violations in the ministry of information. The lawmakers also accused the minister of unnecessarily appointing expatriates in several state departments with lucrative salaries, thus depriving Kuwaitis of much-needed jobs. Adasani said he submitted a large number of questions to the minister but he did not answer them.
The minister categorically denied the charges and stressed that he has sharply reduced the amounts of unpaid debts in his ministries by a big margin. He said he received 17 questions from the lawmaker and answered 16 and informed him that he was not authorized under the law to reply to the last question.
Sheikh Mohammad defended the appointment of expatriate senior legal advisors, saying that they were appointed in accordance with the laws and regulations and praised their work. He also regretted that MPs have started criticizing people based on their nationality, which is something new in Kuwait.
After that the two lawmakers responded to Sheikh Mohammad’s answers and said he had failed to refute their charges. The 10 lawmakers who signed the no-confidence petition include Waleed Al-Tabtabaei, Adasani, Shuaib Al-Muwaizri, Abdullah Al-Roumi, Thamer Al-Dhafiri, Mohammad Al-Mutair, Hamdan Al-Azemi, Mubarak Al-Hajraf, Jamaan Al-Harbash and Omar Al-Tabtabaei.
Meanwhile, opposition MP Al-Humaidi Al-Subaei said he along with MPs Hajraf and Khaled Al-Otaibi will file a request to grill Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Hind Al-Sabeeh. The grilling will be submitted early November. The Assembly then began late yesterday night the process of electing members of the permanent and temporary committees.
By B Izzak