Lawmakers threaten to grill premier, ministers

MP calls for probe into plane, balloon collision

KUWAIT: MP Omar Al-Tabtabai yesterday said he will file to grill Minister of Oil Essam Al-Marzouk over appointments in the vital oil sector as his senior lawmaker Waleed Al-Tabtabai called on MPs to unite to grill the prime minister instead of questioning individual Cabinet members. The new threats came as several lawmakers have threatened to grill the ministers of finance, oil, social affairs and labor, defense, information, education and others over a variety of claims of failure to perform their duties and charges of corruption.

“Our colleagues will file to grill the ministers of social affairs, oil, finance, defense, sports, information, education and others. What’s your opinion if we gather all to grill the prime minister” Waleed Al-Tabtabai wrote on his Twitter account. The lawmaker also criticized the government’s policies to nationalize government jobs, saying that if the government was serious about Kuwaitization of jobs, it should begin with legal and financial advisors and not with typists and secretaries as has been the case.

In a related development, MP Omar Al-Tabtabai threatened that he will file to grill the oil minister at the start of the next Assembly term, beginning next month if he did not resign. The lawmaker claimed that the Ministry of Oil has “forged” and changed a question sent to the Oil Minister by him and also sent a wrong answer. He said that if the minister ordered the forgery and should apologize to the Kuwaiti people and should step down – and if he did not order that but signed the wrong answer, he should also resign or face grilling.

Omar Al-Tabtabai said that he believes that the end of the Oil Minister has approached and spoke about the period after his resignation. The lawmaker said that if the minister is not capable of running the affairs of the ministry, he should quit immediately. He also criticized a decision by the oil sector to appoint a non-Kuwaiti as head of the state-owned Equate petrochemicals company and warned the council of ministers against accepting the decision, adding that the post must be occupied by a Kuwaiti.

Meanwhile, MP Nasser Al-Dossari strongly lashed out at Education Minister Mohammad Al-Fares and accused him of failure to carry out his job after the ministry failed to take the necessary preparations to open new schools at Sabah Al-Ahmad area. He said that he and other colleagues had informed the Education Ministry about preparing the schools in the newly-built area and the officials said everything was ready but it turned out to be exactly the opposite.

The lawmaker said the situation at the area’s schools are catastrophic and will not pass without action, adding that the minister must be made to pay for the bad management of the ministry facilities and schools. Dossari asked the Education Minister if his officials had informed him that the number of students in the classroom will be 50 and that some schools do not have administrators nor teachers. The lawmaker called on the minister to step down as a result of mismanagement.
In the meantime, head of the Assembly Committee on Bedoons or stateless people MP Nasser Al-Dossari said yesterday that he will call for an emergency meeting for the committee over the Ministry of education refusal to admit children of Bedoon servicemen. He said the committee will meet with Education Minister Mohammad Al-Fares to discuss the issue, adding that reasons made by the ministry are unjustified. The lawmaker said the minister must answer the committee questions clearly about why the ministry refused to enroll the bedoon students adding that his answers must be supported by figures and facts.
In another development, MP Jamaan Al-Harbash yesterday called for a neutral investigation into the collision between a passenger plane and an air defense balloon late last month, describing the incident extremely dangerous. The lawmaker said he will send questions to the Minister of Social Affairs and Labor and State Minister for Economic Affairs Hind Al-Sabeeh, who oversees civil aviation, regarding the investigation, adding that the probe must be neutral, specialized and internationally recognized.

Harbash said that although the various concerned sides like Civil Aviation, the Defense Ministry and the concerned airlines may have launched their investigations, the government should also carry out its own probe. He said that only a neutral investigation will prevent similar incident from reoccurring, adding that the minister has so far failed in carrying out the required duties which require taking her to account.

Harbash said he will propose a special pay-scale for aviation monitors after he found that their financial and living conditions are far below their counterparts in other Gulf states. He said that it is time to consider this profession as a hard job, calling for the establishment of a navigation institute. The collision did not result in any damages and all passengers escaped unhurt.

This article was published on 12/09/2017