KUWAIT: National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem said yesterday he has prepared a draft law proposing a lasting solution to the decades-old problem of stateless people or bedoons, insisting that the legislation if approved will resolve the problem in one year. Ghanem provided no details about the draft law, saying that a number of lawmakers asked to give them a week to read the bill before officially submitting it.

Some 120,000 bedoons live in Kuwait currently and claim the right to Kuwaiti citizenship, while the government insists that a majority of them do not qualify to be considered for nationality. The speaker also said that a second draft law will be submitted to initiate a probe into Kuwaiti citizenship in order to fight forgery and wrongdoing. The government has repeatedly said that only up to 34,000 bedoons qualify for consideration for citizenship but has made no effort to naturalize them.
Bedoons have come under tremendous government pressure to force them to reveal what the government claims are their original identities. This policy has partially succeeded, but its implementation involved substantial suffering for the bedoons.

Ghanem also said opposition MP Riyadh Al-Adasani filed to grill Interior Minister Sheikh Khaled Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah, which will be listed on the agenda of the Nov 12 session. In the grilling, Adasani accuses the minister of failing to carry out his duties and that he misused his powers. He charged the minister of not cooperating with the investigation regarding alleged financial violation in the so-called ministry hospitality spending.

Adasani held the minister responsible for what he claims is a biased police report to the prosecution in a case that the lawmaker himself is involved, saying this could happen to a large number of people. This is the third grilling to be filed so far with two days remaining for the start of the new Assembly term. MPs have already filed to grill the minister of finance and public works over alleged violations. The two grillings are expected to be debated in the new term's opening session tomorrow. The speaker reiterated yesterday that the Assembly will complete its term and parliamentary elections will be held next year, downplaying attempts to force the Assembly's dissolution.

In another development, MP Khalil Al-Saleh said yesterday that the Assembly's legal and legislative committee yesterday approved five proposals to resolve the problem of consumer loans. Some of the proposals are calling for the state to purchase the loans from citizens and to reschedule their payment. Saleh said that the proposals will now go to the financial and economic affairs committee, which will decide on the financial aspects of the proposals.

By B Izzak