KUWAIT: The National Assembly is sanitized after a suspected case of coronavirus was discovered after a parliamentary session on Wednesday.— KUNA

KUWAIT: The secretariat general of the National Assembly has asked all those present during Wednesday’s parliament session to self-quarantine for 14 days after a lawmaker was suspected to be infected with the coronavirus, according to a report in Al-Anbaa daily. The secretariat general said all attendees should also be tested for COVID-19, the report added.

During the session, the parliament approved a bill amending the criminal prosecution law whereby appealing final verdicts is permissible in some criminal cases. Up to 51 of those attending the session that came on heels of Tuesday’s session during which two government officials were grilled voted in favor of the legal draft law, with one against, out of the total of 52 attending legislators.  The lawmakers conducted the voting after discussing some provisions of law 17/1960 on criminal law and proceedings. Moreover, the MPs voted in favor of a bill stipulating issuance of a law intended to bring judges and public prosecutors to account for irregularities or breaching laws. They also blessed another bill with respect to issuance of licenses for individuals and companies “in a fashion intended to stay abreast of digital evolution”.

MPs also agreed to a separate bill amending the social security law, lowering monthly payments for retirees from 25 to 15 percent. The first article of the draft law says a retiree is entitled to request payment of a sum seven times their net retirement payment while being compelled to pay back at a rate of 15 percent of their net monthly salary.

Finance Minister Barrak Al-Sheetan confirmed that the parliament’s approval of the bill to amend some provisions of the Public Institution for Social Security to reduce the repayment rate is in the interest of retirees. In a press statement, the minister said the parliamentary financial and economic affairs committee report sought to reduce the rate to 10 percent, which would constitute a cost to public funds, noting that the government’s opinion was to maintain the 25 percent deduction rate. The minister pointed out that out of cooperation and in the interest of retirees, it was agreed to reduce the rate to 15 percent.

MPs also approved a bill delaying collection of installments due from defaulters and family support funds for six months effective April 2020. An affiliate memo of the bill notes the response of the ministry of finance to HH the Amir’s desire to ease the financial burden on citizens as a result of the coronavirus outbreak and its ramifications at various levels.

MPs also approved a draft law regarding civil and commercial proceedings in relation to electronic advertisements. The approved amendment to civil and commercial proceedings states that an advertisement can be posted on the Internet or any other electronic means that can be preserved and retrieved upon a decision by the minister of justice.

In cases where parties involved do not know how to post an advertisement digitally, the court is entitled to do so conventionally. Minister of Justice Fahd Al-Afasi affirmed that such a legislation is important to facilitate modernizing the tasks of the judiciary.  National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem on Wednesday praised HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah for his constructive cooperation that enabled lawmakers to approve a series of bills in Wednesday’s follow-up session. The speaker, during the session, re-affirmed significance of cooperation between the legislative and executive authorities for enacting laws that concern citizens.

Minister of State for Services Affairs and Minister of State for National Assembly Affairs Mubarak Al-Haris affirmed during the session the government’s keenness on cooperation with legislators in line with guidelines in this respect by HH the Amir. — Agencies