KUWAIT: MP Safa Al-Hashem, who has been calling to tax expatriates for walking on the road, said yesterday that charges on public dental services offered to expatriates will be raised like other medical services. The lawmaker, who had also called for imposing a five percent tax on remittances by foreigners, said that the health minister has revised the existing prices of dental services in a prelude to raising them for expats.
The lawmaker denied on her Twitter account that dental services have been spared from the hikes that include many medical services implemented at the start of October. She also blasted those who criticize the health minister for raising charges on expatriates, saying this is intended to protect medicine merchants, whom she described as “sharks” who are not concerned for the “lives and health” of Kuwaitis. Hashem, the only female in the 50-member house, has been targeting expatriates with proposals and calls that some of her colleagues and many Kuwaiti writers describe as “racist”.
Incidentally, a group of dentists had expressed displeasure towards a decision by the assistant undersecretary for dental medicine affairs for not including expats who visit dental clinics in the fee increase. They claimed the official is aware that the equipment and material used to treat dental cases are very expensive and cost the country millions annually.
The dentists asked the government to move quickly and cancel the undersecretary’s decision and apply the increase on expats “in the interests of the country and citizens”, wondering what was the interest of the official to not include expats in the fee increase decision. They said the dental sector suffers from unilateral decisions without any study, condemning the official’s response after an escalation in the media and the “bogus” achievements he continues to claim.
Meanwhile, well-known Kuwaiti writer Fajr Al-Saeed yesterday criticized lawmakers who are targeting expatriates with abnormal proposals and charged they are doing this because they failed to oppose the government. She said that many lawmakers acted like strong opponents to the government during the election campaign, but later turned against expatriates because they failed to oppose the government.
An opposition MP on Monday proposed imposing an annual charge of KD 1,200 on every expatriate holding a driving license. MP Khaled Al-Otaibi said the proposal will be the best solution for traffic jams on Kuwaiti roads. The proposal must be approved by the National Assembly to become effective.
By B Izzak