Panel formed to probe allegations

KUWAIT: HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah (right) and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Mohammad Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah attend a parliament session at the National Assembly yesterday. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah yesterday faced two grillings by opposition MPs in a 13-hour marathon closed debate, which ended without filing a non-cooperation motion. Opposition MPs needed the signature of 10 lawmakers to file the non-cooperation motion, which is similar to a no-confidence motion, but they could not muster the required number.

Many opposition lawmakers decided to keep the pledge they made several weeks ago not to grill the prime minister in return for the government’s pledge to reinstate citizenships of several opposition figures it revoked about three years ago. At the start of the session, the government demanded that the debate be held in secret and the Assembly agreed, with 33 votes supporting and 28 opposing.

The two quizzes alleged that the government of the prime minister failed to check rampant corruption, that it has squandered public funds and raised charges on citizens after the drop in oil revenues. They also accused the premier of selectively targeting political opponents and punishing them by revoking their citizenships.

In the first grilling, MPs Saleh Ashour and Faisal Al-Kandari spoke in support of the prime minister, while MPs Jamaan Al-Harbash and Ali Al-Deqbasi spoke in support of the grilling. In the second grilling, MPs Salah Khorshid and Khalaf Dumaitheer supported the prime minister, while MPs Abdulwahab Al-Babtain and Adel Al-Damkhi supported the grilling.
At the end of the first grilling, a three-MP committee comprising of MPs Rakan Al-Nasef, Jamaan Al-Harbash and Awdah Al-Awdah was formed to investigate the allegations and issues raised by the grilling. The panel was also asked to investigate the issues raised by the second grilling. Following the debate of the two quizzes, the grillers managed to secure the signature of only six lawmakers, four short of the required number.

But a number of opposition MPs still warned the government of more grillings if it did not reinstate the citizenships of the opposition figures. MP Abdullah Al-Fahhad said over 20 opposition lawmakers are ready to grill the prime minister again if the government fails to fulfill its promises. MP Mohammad Hayef said that he did not sign the non-cooperation motion because of the pledge the opposition lawmakers gave to suspend grilling the prime minister in return for reinstating the citizenships. He said that some of the citizenships will be returned next week.

Following the end of the two grillings, the Assembly began just before midnight to debate in public the grilling of MP Shuaib Al-Muwaizri against State Minister for Housing Yasser Abul. The grilling accuses the minister of failing to implement the housing plan making Kuwaiti citizens as a result wait for many years to get their homes.