Assembly witnesses acrimonious scenes – MPs extend probe over distribution of agricultural land

KUWAIT: MP Ali Al-Khamees (left) confronts MP Hamdan Al-Azemi (right) during a parliament session at the National Assembly yesterday. - Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat
KUWAIT: MP Ali Al-Khamees (left) confronts MP Hamdan Al-Azemi (right) during a parliament session at the National Assembly yesterday. – Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: Tempers flared in the National Assembly session yesterday when a number of MPs quarreled during a heated debate over amendments to the municipality law. Strong arguments broke out when the government insisted that the addition of new residential areas to existing electoral districts for the municipal council should be done by the government through an Amiri decree and it should be included in the law.

MP Hamdan Al-Azemi and some other MPs objected saying the whole article in the law was rejected in the last session and should not have been brought up for debate. Azemi then angrily protested at the voting to approve the government’s request, saying this is not a real assembly and MPs are not real men.

That triggered a reaction from MP Ali Al-Khamees who shouted back at Azemi, insisting that the lawmakers are real men. MP Hamad Al-Harshani also got himself involved in the heated exchanges by accusing Azemi of disrupting the assembly session. At this point, Azemi threw a book at Khamees but missed him to hit MP Mohammad Al-Huwailah.

MP Sultan Al-Shimmari then took part in the quarrel by shouting at Azemi to stop. The two lawmakers then threw shoes at each other as many other MPs came to prevent them from reaching each other. Speaker Marzouk Al-Ghanem then stopped the proceedings and ordered the assembly hall to be vacated.

A few minutes later, Al-Ghanem resumed the session and said that Azemi apologized to other MPs and the whole issue was now over. But Azemi insisted that the apologies were reciprocal and it did not come from him alone.

Shortly afterwards, the assembly voted to approve the government’s request and the whole municipality law which prompted MP Azemi to walk out of the session which was immediately closed by the speaker.

Before the quarrels, the National Assembly agreed to extend until the next term an investigation launched by the public funds protection committee into allegations that many state-owned farms were illegally distributed to people who do not qualify.
Head of the committee MP Abdullah Al-Turaiji said that it has been found that some officials at the agricultural authority are partners in the allotted farms and called on Public Works Minister Ali Al-Omair to submit all required documents to the committee. MP Khalil Abdullah said that some officials who are summoned by the probe committee provide false information or refuse to provide facts citing secrecy laws.

Omair told the assembly that the government has provided all the necessary names and information to the committee and that they did not have anything to hide. But a number of MPs insisted that important information related to the probe has not been given by the government and some MPs claimed that certain names were not given to protect them.

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