MPs accelerate attacks on MoI over vehicle seizures

Panel debates amending audiovisual law

KUWAIT: Lawmakers yesterday continued their criticism of the interior ministry for insisting to apply a controversial decision to impound vehicles for committing a series of traffic offences, mainly not wearing the seatbelt and using mobile phones while driving. MP Riyadh Al- Adasani, who threatened to grill the interior minister if he is included in the new Cabinet, yesterday reiterated that the harsh traffic decision was a ploy to divert the attention of the public after allowing the entry of allegedly contaminated Egyptian vegetables and onions into the country.

Adasani claimed that the government does not apply the law on members of the ruling family and MPs, adding that interior minister Sheikh Khaled Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah will have an opportunity to rectify wrong procedures in awarding contracts to certain companies. The lawmaker, who has already grilled the prime minister, said he is not concerned with reports that the prime minister may submit a non-cooperation motion to HH the Amir against the National Assembly. Under Kuwait law, if the Amir receives a non-cooperation motion by the government, he will either dissolve the Assembly and call for snap polls, or sack the Cabinet. Adasani also claimed that the government is expected to introduce the five-percent value added tax (VAT) as agreed among the GCC states because the state budget is facing a deficit.

Regarding the traffic decisions, opposition MP Shuaib Al-Muwaizri said the decision is not in line with the constitution and aims to divert the attention of the public and to humiliate them. MP Jamaan Al-Harbash said the decision is unconstitutional and bad, and criticized the exemptions on humanitarian grounds, saying these exemptions will be misused by authorities. He called on the interior minister to suspend the decision and then discuss it with the Assembly’s interior and defense committee if he seeks cooperation.

But pro-government lawmaker Ahmad Al-Fadhl said he totally supports the interior minister’s resolve to apply the law – especially traffic rules – to safeguard the lives of people. He said studies have shown that 94 percent of traffic accidents are caused by lack of attention, mainly by the use of mobile phones, adding that many lives will be saved by the decision.

Meanwhile, Fadhl said the Assembly’s legal and legislative committee studied yesterday a number of proposals to amend the audiovisual law, which stipulates harsh penalties for some “opinion” violations. The lawmaker said the law is bad and restricts freedom of speech, because it was introduced under special circumstances.

By B Izzak

This article was published on 20/11/2017