Lawmaker enquires about labor towns

MP Osama Al-Shaheen, MP Mohammad Al-Dallal and MP Mohammad Al-Huwailah

KUWAIT: Opposition MP Osama Al-Shaheen yesterday filed a proposal stipulating that the presence of cabinet ministers is not necessary to hold assembly sessions and called for the assembly to convene immediately.

Shaheen said that he re-submitted the same proposal made by five opposition MPs in the 2009 assembly which stipulates that national assembly sessions are legal when the required quorum is available regardless if those attending are all assembly members and none of them is from the government.

It has become a norm in Kuwait since the establishment of the national assembly in 1962 that assembly sessions are considered illegal if no ministers are attending. The norm stipulates that at least one cabinet member must be present for the assembly sessions to be legal.

The issue has been raised now because the assembly has not held sessions for almost one month because the government has resigned and the new cabinet has not been formed. As a result, assembly sessions are not held because there are no ministers to attend.

The cabinet resigned about four weeks ago after 10 lawmakers filed a no-confidence motion against Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs and acting information minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah following a grilling. As the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah has accepted the resignation, ministers are operating as a care-taker government and cannot attend assembly sessions.

But Shaheen, a lawyer by profession, insisted that the Kuwaiti constitution takes every care to ensure that assembly sessions are held on regular basis and requires three conditions for holding a legal session, none of them is the presence of ministers.

The constitution states that a session is legal if held in the right place, right time and in the presence of the required quorum, said the lawmaker, adding that the government's presence is not essential. Shaheen said that obstructing the assembly sessions is delaying the approval of a number of important issues and legislation, adding that the government should inform lawmakers of the developments in light of regional tension.

Meanwhile, opposition MP Mohammad Al-Dallal said that failure to form the new cabinet after one month of the resignation of the outgoing government is an explicit violation of the constitution. Dallal said the delay in government formation has put the country in a state of paralysis unacceptable from a constitutional, political and popular viewpoints.

MP Mohammad Al-Huwailah meanwhile yesterday sent a series of questions about the construction of six labor towns as a way of controlling the inflow of expatriate manpower. He asked the state minister for municipality about the progress in the construction of the six labor cities, the sites that have been allocated and their capacity and the timetable for implementing the cities.

By B Izzak