MP warns govt over granting citizenship to non-Muslims

MP Mohammad Hayef

KUWAIT: Islamist MP Mohammad Hayef yesterday warned that the entire government will fall if it votes in favor of an amendment to allow granting Kuwaiti citizenship to non-Muslims. Hayef joins several lawmakers who have already said they will oppose the amendment when it comes up for voting in the National Assembly. The amendment was passed earlier this week by the legal and legislative committee. The amendment was warmly welcomed by liberal and Shiite MPs who insisted it will rectify a constitutional injustice introduced in 1981 that deprived non-Muslims from becoming citizens.

Hayef said that if the government agrees to grant nationality to non-Muslims as approved by the legislative committee, this will mean its total collapse. But liberal MP Rakan Al-Nasef welcomed the amendment and called for referring it to the Assembly for voting as quickly as possible. The issue is expected to stir a new controversy in the country between Islamists and conservatives who are the majority in the Assembly and liberals and their allies. The position of the government, which has 16 voting ministers, is very crucial for the passage of the amendment.

In another development, head of the Assembly’s priorities committee MP Salah Khorshid said yesterday the panel will withdraw the draft law for the mega project for the Silk Road and islands’ development, adding the bill will be replaced by Kuwait’s 2035 vision. Khorshid said the committee will add a number of new draft laws to its agenda like bills on bankruptcy, tenders, privatization and others.

Rapporteur of the public funds defense committee MP Abdulwahab Al-Babtain said the panel yesterday discussed a number of issues on its agenda and asked the Audit Bureau to provide it with new information and dates on several issues. Babtain said that there are 33 issues on the panel’s agenda, 20 of which are under study and research and will be considered during the committee’s next meeting. He said 10 other issues have been completed in the previous terms, while the committee will soon start discussing the remaining three issues.

A number of MPs meanwhile demanded in a letter to the Assembly to give priority to debate a number of important issues in the Assembly’s next session. These issues include a draft law to ban taking interest on loans offered by the social security agency and a proposal to set up a special agency for managing crises.

By B Izzak

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