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Minister refutes MP’s claims of obstructing T4 operations

Lawmaker says amnesty gateway to Assembly-govt cooperation


Jenan Bushehri

KUWAIT: Minister of State for Housing and Services Affairs Jenan Bushehri yesterday denied allegations by opposition MP Mohammad Al-Mutair that the government was obstructing the work of a Korean company that won a contract to operate a new Kuwait airport terminal used by Kuwait Airways. Mutair had alleged that the company was unable to operate Terminal 4 properly because ministries were refusing to issue the necessary visas and residence permits, claiming this was done under pressure from a competing domestic airline. The lawmaker also threatened to file to grill the prime minister over the claims and accused the government of being weak.

Kuwait Airways was exclusively given the new terminal in a bid to reduce the rush of passengers at the main terminal as a Turkish company is due to complete the new airport project by the end of 2021. Bushehri insisted that the civil aviation authorities and other officials have held meetings regularly with the South Korean company to discuss facilitating operations and the company did not raise any complaints about visas and residencies.

She said that the ministries of interior and social affairs and labor have been providing the company with all the assistance needed for the recruitment of employees to ensure smooth operations. Bushehri however asked the lawmaker to submit any evidence regarding his claims and promised she would take the necessary legal measures. The minister stressed that operations at T4 are proceeding according to schedule in cooperation between the civil aviation, Kuwait Airways, the interior ministry, the customs and other authorities. She said this is being done gradually and in phases to reach full operations soon.
The minister said that the claims by the lawmaker that three Kuwait Airways jets were deliberately involved in accidents to prevent their operation need to be sent to the public prosecution if true. She however recalled that in 2017 and this year, two KAC planes met with accidents and the two cases were investigated and sent to court. A third plane was involved in an accident by mistake and the case is under investigation.

Separately, opposition MP Nayef Al-Merdas said yesterday cooperation between the government and the National Assembly over the issue of granting a general amnesty to convicted opposition MPs and activists is the gateway for solid cooperation between the two bodies. He said that after the conviction of MPs Waleed Al-Tabtabaei and Jamaan Al-Harbash over the storming of the Assembly building, their membership in the Assembly should be decided by the Assembly itself.

The lawmaker said that the storming of the Assembly is a purely political case in which opposition MPs and activists protested against corruption and the bribery case in the Assembly, and accordingly the membership of the two lawmakers must not be revoked. Merdas called for putting an end to this issue by issuing the general amnesty law to defuse a political crisis that has continued for years and has exhausted the country.

By B Izzak

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