Financial panel rejects new govt proposals for retirement

KUWAIT: Lightning strikes during a recent thunderstorm in Kuwait. —KUNA photo

KUWAIT: The National Assembly is scheduled today to debate a grilling against His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah over alleged government mishandling of recent heavy rains amid an attempt to delay the debate.
The grilling was filed by leading opposition MP Shuaib Al-Muwaizri who charged that the government ministries and agencies failed in taking the necessary measures and actions to face the heavy torrential rains which caused heavy damage.
Muwaizri is charging that the prime minister is responsible for the failure because he is the head of the government who failed to effectively coordinate between government agencies in facing the heavy rains.

It was not immediately clear what will happen in the session today and whether the debate will go ahead after the premier expresses reservations that the grilling is unconstitutional or other steps may be taken.

Pro-government MP Khalaf Dumaitheer said on Sunday that he and some other lawmakers will submit a proposal to refer the grilling to the assembly’s legal and legislative committee to examine if it was in line of the constitution.

Muwaizri however insisted that the grilling is constitutional because it targets the head of the government who is responsible for coordinating between ministries and agencies. He said that he did not hear any constitutional expert saying it is against the constitution. If the debate goes ahead, it will most likely be held in a secret session.

Another government-assembly controversy is expected to come up for debate today; the long dispute over a law providing additional benefits for Kuwaiti civil servants who go on early retirement. Head of the financial and economic affairs committee MP Salah Khorshid said the panel rejected a new government draft law that stipulates that early retirement seekers should bear some cost. Instead, the committee agreed to delete a controversial provision in the law to make its passage easier and allow the government to accept it.

Under the new amended law, Kuwaiti males and females can seek early retirement after serving for 30 years and 25 years respectively or after reaching 55 years and 50 years of age, respectively. In both cases, their pension will be equal to 95 percent of their full salary.

The law allows men to seek early retirement after only 25 years of service if they agree that their pension will be reduced by deducting five percent of their basic salary every year. The same applies to female employees who want to retire five years early.

By B Izzak