KUWAIT: Islamist opposition MP Mohammad Hayef, who last week threatened a "heavyweight" grilling of the interior minister, appears to have started the procedures towards the grilling. He asked Interior Minister Sheikh Khaled Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah about the measures adopted by the ministry over to safeguard security and eliminate what he called negative practices in Ardiya industrial area. The lawmaker asked the minister about the number of crimes committed in the area since 2012. Hayef warned he will grill the minister next week over security issues and an undisclosed issue if he does not take the necessary procedures to deal with the issues he raised.

Another Islamist opposition MP Adel Al-Damkhi yesterday asked the ministers of interior and finance about the arrest and release of Syrian businessman Mazen Al-Tarazi, who is close to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. Damkhi said Tarazi was reportedly arrested on state security and money laundering accusations, but was released four days later. He asked if he was indeed arrested for such accusations and why was he released and under which legal pretext.

The lawmaker inquired if the ministry of interior came under any internal or external pressure to release the Syrian businessman, and asked for the nature of such pressures. Damkhi asked for the names of those who interrogated Tarazi and inquired if he was on US and European blacklists.

MP Mohammad Al-Dallal yesterday again criticized the finance ministry for violating the law by raising existing charges on public services and imposing new charges. He said some of the increases in charges are justified and others are not, whether on citizens or expatriates, but insisted that the government has no right to increase charges or impose new charges on public services without a new law passed by the National Assembly.

MP Yousef Al-Fadhalah yesterday submitted a draft law to amend the internal charter of the Assembly to replace article 16 that was declared unconstitutional by the constitutional court. The new amendment stipulates that any member of parliament will lose his/her seat automatically and without the need for a vote in the Assembly if they are convicted in final ruling in a felony. It also states that if any MP loses any of the membership conditions specified in the constitution or the electoral law, the Assembly will assign the legal and legislative committee to study the case and then refer its report to the Assembly for a vote.

By B Izzak