KUWAIT: MP Saadoun Hammad yesterday proposed an amendment to the electoral law to raise the deposit candidates pay from just KD 50 to as high as KD 5,000. The lawmaker said the move will stop candidates who are not serious from registering to contest any election or attempting to make fun of the process, as witnessed during registrations for byelections that are set to take place on June 26.
Candidate Waleed Al-Nasser drew attention on Saturday when he appeared in an untraditional green bisht and announced that he will work to legalize the sale of liquor in Kuwait and allow gambling.
Another candidate, Mohammad Al-Masri, registered a day earlier wearing heavy winter clothing, paid the registration fee in loose change, and used an inkpad to put his thumbprints on the registration papers. “The absurdity happened recently has nothing to do with democracy, but rather is an insult to it,” Hammad said.
Meanwhile, a National Assembly committee dealing with tackling bad social behavior yesterday approved a proposal to ban “nudity” of women at all swimming pools, public places and in hotels, head of the committee said.
MP Hamdan Al-Azemi, head of the committee for combating alien behavior, said the panel approved a proposal submitted by him to ban “nudity” of women at places accessible by the public The Islamist lawmaker has not provided a definition for the term “nudity”, but a few days ago he issued a statement strongly criticizing women dressed in bikinis at some swimming pools on beaches and in hotels. The term also includes revealing or improper dress.
The proposal must be approved by the Assembly and accepted by the government to become a law. Azemi said the committee also approved another proposal to establish a center for tackling alien negative practices like other Gulf states. The panel also discussed what he called a recent surge of cases of violence among domestic helpers, Azemi said, adding that the panel found that the biggest problem facing maids in Kuwait is non-payment of salaries.
Kuwait is home to around 650,000 domestic helpers, the overwhelming majority of them are Asian. Azemi also demanded a clear policy from the government regarding ‘Kuwaitization’ of public posts, or replacing expatriates in the public sector with Kuwaiti employees. He indicated in a statement yesterday that there are 126,000 non-Kuwaitis working in the private sector, compared to at least 20,000 Kuwaitis in the unemployment queue waiting for a government job.
Azemi called for a survey to determine jobs occupied by expatriates that can be handed to Kuwaiti employees instead. In a related development, the legal and legislative committee yesterday cleared a draft law for organizing domestic workers in the country not covered by the labor law which applies to workers in the private sector.
The bill will now go to the concerned panel to study its details before approving it and sending it to the house for voting. The draft law aims at proving a legal cover for maids who often complain of mistreatment and non-payment of salary among other complaints.
In another development, the legal committee approved a key amendment to the constitutional court law by allowing people to directly deal with the country’s highest court, whose rulings are final.
Under the existing law, people cannot file lawsuits at the constitutional court directly except in matters relating to election petitions.
All cases heard by the court come either from the government, the Assembly or from other courts to interpret controversial laws. MPs have considered this amendment as a major reform step to provide people access to the constitutional court. Liberal MP Rakan Al-Nasef said MPs will try to push the amendment through the Assembly before the end of the current term, in less than two months.
Head of the legal committee MP Mubarak Al-Harees said the panel also approved the establishment of Sabah Al-Ahmad residential city with a capacity of around 35,000 housing units.
By A Saleh and B Izzak
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