PM vows response to interpellation

KUWAIT: MP Hamdan Al-Azemi arrives to file to grill HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah yesterday. — Photo by Joseph Shagra

KUWAIT: The National Assembly appears to be on its way out with online activists advising people to be ready for yet another parliamentary election, after MP Hamdan Al-Azemi yesterday surprised everyone by filing to grill HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah on a variety of allegations including a rise in corruption. The new grilling comes only a few days after two opposition lawmakers filed to grill Oil Minister Bakheet Al-Rasheedi over alleged corruption and mismanagement, with reports that MP Saleh Ashour is planning to file to grill Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Hind Al-Sabeeh on Sunday.

Sheikh Jaber said that he would respond to the grilling motion just as he did with earlier similar moves. In a statement to KUNA by phone, the prime minister emphasized that more attention needs to be given to vital issues that necessitate earnest work and sincere cooperation to find optimal solutions and to push forward national development, thus realizing higher national objectives.

Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem said yesterday the new grilling will be placed on the agenda of the May 1 session. Next week’s expected grilling will also be placed in the same session if submitted. The new grilling has prompted online activists to predict that the Assembly, elected less than two years ago, will be dissolved, although there were no official indications of this. Online activists called on voters to be ready for snap polls and also advised hopefuls to start preparing their campaign tents.

In his grilling, Azemi accused Sheikh Jaber of being responsible for the massive slide in Kuwait’s position on the International Corruption Perception Index by more than 50 places from 35 in 2003 to 85 last year. He said being the head of the government, the prime minister is responsible for this slide and for the spread of corruption in the country. The lawmaker said among the factors that promoted corruption in the country is the delay in mega projects and the increase in their costs.

He said the cost of two key roads linking Kuwait City and Jahra has increased from KD 275 million to around KD 560 million.
Azemi said another indicator is the appointment of senior officials in key posts through influence and not competence. The lawmaker also charged that the prime minister is responsible for not implementing laws issued by the National Assembly and accepted by the government and listed more than 10 legislations that the government has failed to make the necessary measures to implement.

The grilling also accuses the prime minister of being responsible for revoking the citizenship of a number of Kuwaiti opposition figures who opposed government policies. It also accuses the prime minister of being responsible for the government’s failure to present any solution for the plight of 120,000 stateless people, known as bedoons.

The lawmaker charged that Kuwaiti governments had in the past failed to resolve the problem but under the current prime minister, the government deliberately refused to resolve the crisis facing bedoons. He said as a result, a number of young bedoon men and women have committed suicide to escape their miserable life after they were deprived of basic services and barred from jobs. The grilling also accuses the prime minister of failing to take the necessary measures to lift the international suspension imposed on various Kuwaiti sports federations over alleged government interference.

By B Izzak