KUWAIT: A senior Kuwaiti legal advisor yesterday defended expatriates against what he called a "rising trend of racism and arrogance among the Kuwaiti society against expatriates". Hesham Al-Saleh, a professor of law at Kuwait University, said on his Twitter account that expatriates in the neighboring United Arab Emirates make up over 85 percent of the population and the state is progressing.

"Do not blame expatriates and hold them responsible for the failure of the government" said Saleh, a former parliamentary candidate, adding that one of the reasons of such a trend is that some MPs are benefiting from it with the blessing of leading officials. "Expatriates are human beings who came to Kuwait to work for salaries after obtaining official work permits" Saleh said.

A number of MPs, led by MP Hashem, writers and social media activists have recently increased their criticism of expatriates, using racist remarks in some cases, and blaming them for almost all the problems in the country. Some MPs have demanded a gradual deportation of expatriates, who number some 3.3 million, to bring their numbers down to be equal with Kuwaitis who make just 1.4 million.

Meanwhile, a number of lawmakers have submitted a motion calling to allocate two hours in the next session to study the government's security and defense preparations in the wake of rising tensions in the region. MP Safa Al-Hashem said through the two-hour debate, MPs want to assess the readiness of the government agencies, especially the security agencies, in case of any escalation in the region in light of the US-Iran tension.

She said that lawmakers want to know specifically the readiness of the police force, the army and the national guards in securing the country and vital installations in case a regional war breaks out. The National Assembly held a special debate last Thursday during which MPs heard presentations by senior government ministers on the regional developments.

After the session, Speaker Marzouk Al-Ghanem said that based on the briefings by the ministers, the chances of a regional war breaking out were very high. MP Mohammad Al-Dallal said that during that session, MPs were not briefed on the readiness of the security and defense agencies.

By B Izzak