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MPs seek end to political crisis and bedoon issues

Lawmaker calls for pardoning all political prisoners

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: Lawmakers on Tuesday continued to debate the Amiri Address delivered at the opening session of the new National Assembly by calling for a lasting solution to the problem of tens of thousands of stateless people, or Bedoons, and for extending the Amiri amnesty to all political prisoners. MP Mohammad Hayef said that the Bedoons problem should be resolved by granting citizenship to all those who are entitled and then asking others to correct their legal status.

“We are asking to naturalize only those who deserve and Bedoons should not continue to face oppression … It is not acceptable that people with no identity should remain in our streets” Hayef said. Hayef also called for extending the Amiri amnesty to all political prisoners in order to close this black page in Kuwait’s history, adding that there are female tweeters who remain in jail for tweeting. He said this issue should be closed. MP Abdullah Fahhad described the Bedoons plight as a “bleeding wound” in this nation, adding that a new section of Bedoons are now carrying fake passports and facing yet a new problem.

He claimed that the central agency for Bedoons is dealing with Bedoons in a racist way despite their sufferings for decades. MP Fahad Al-Azemi said the problem of Bedoons must be resolved, adding there is nothing called Bedoons “but Kuwaitis who have been deprived of citizenship”. MP Majed Al-Mutairi said the plight of Bedoons “has become a black point” for Kuwait. He also called for extending the amnesty to around 20 members of the Mutairi tribe, including former MPs, who are in jail for taking part in outlawed tribal primaries.

MP Hamad Al-Matar said that the Kuwaiti people are frustrated because of the past political disputes and are looking for achievements and these can happen only through cooperation between the government and the Assembly. The government and a majority of lawmakers rejected calls by some MPs for the government to reassess the policy of subsidies through abolishing all forms of subsidies and replace it with a fixed financial assistance to Kuwaiti families.

MP Marzouk Al-Ghanem criticized the acting Finance Minister, Saad Al-Barrak, who is also the Oil Minister, for refusing to answer his question over sacking some Kuwaiti pilots for expressing their views. Ghanem said he will re-file the question. Ghanem, also criticized the government for voting against a letter he submitted in which he called on the assembly’s financial and economic affairs committee to study the possibility of replacing subsidies with financial aid to citizens. He said that the proposal aims to reduce squandering of public funds through stopping subsidies to non-citizens.

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