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Lawmakers warn govt against imposing taxes, raising fees

The National Assembly

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: Opposition MP Abdulkarim Al-Kandari yesterday threatened to grill HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah if the government insists on including the imposition of taxes in its program. The lawmaker said if the government presents to the National Assembly the same program which has appeared in newspapers and which calls for imposing taxes and cutting spending on health and education, he will debate it by grilling the prime minister.

Kandari also insisted that without eradicating corruption from government agencies, all government plans will remain without any value. MP Osama Al-Shaheen said that if the published program is correct, lawmakers will reject any reference to imposing taxes or increasing charges for public services.

Meanwhile, opposition MPs yesterday stressed that the Assembly must debate events that took place at the inaugural session two weeks ago and reiterated their rejection of the Assembly office’s decision to form an investigation committee. The Assembly office on Monday formed a committee headed by Deputy Speaker Ahmad Al-Shuhoumi to probe events that took place during the opening session, including allowing dozens of supporters of Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem to enter the gallery in violation of rules.

MP Osama Al-Munawer described the Assembly office move as a “farce”, saying some members of the Assembly office are party to the problem and should not be involved. MPs Shaheen and Farz Al-Mutairi, who were named as members of the panel, said they will not take part in any investigation without authorization from the Assembly and following a full debate.

MP Mohammad Al-Mutair said lawmakers have submitted a motion to the Assembly calling to refer a number of people involved in the events, including the speaker’s brother Khaled, to the public prosecution for investigation. Opposition lawmakers are also alleging the use of fake ballot papers in the election of the speaker and have demanded a probe.

MP Abdullah Al-Turaiji meanwhile proposed that the government should increase the monthly housing allowance of Kuwaitis to KD 250 from the current KD 150. MP Farz also called for increasing the pensions of retired Kuwaitis by KD 30 per month. MP Hesham Al-Saleh yesterday submitted a draft law stipulating that within three years, all public attorneys and members of the judiciary must be Kuwaiti citizens. The draft law also calls to ban the appointment of any non-Kuwaiti personnel in these two posts.

Saleh insisted that Kuwait has sufficient and experienced manpower that can fill the gap, adding that the proposal is not racist, but allows citizens to control the judiciary. In another proposal, Saleh called for amending the law governing the administrative court to allow it to look into all issues including those related to citizenship. The proposal also excludes deporting expatriates from the authority of the court.

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