KUWAIT: The National Assembly’s legal and legislative committee yesterday passed a draft law calling on the government to grant Kuwaiti citizenship to up to 4,000 people during the current year. The draft law will now go to the interior and defense committee for approval, then it will be sent to the Assembly for voting. The bill gives the government flexibility on the number of people it wants to naturalize, as it does not oblige it to grant citizenship to the total number.
The Assembly has been passing such laws every year for more than a decade as a means of assisting the government to resolve the decades-old problem of 120,000 stateless people known here as bedoons. Rapporteur of the committee said that a minority group in the panel pointed out that there was no need for a law, as those who deserve to be naturalized should get citizenship without the need for a special law.
Meanwhile, MP Bader Al-Mulla yesterday announced filing a proposal, along with MPs Yousef Al-Fadhalah, Abdullah Al-Roumi, Abdullah Al-Kandari and Ahmed Al-Fadhl, to form a special independent committee to discuss issues related to citizenship, said informed sources, noting that the group demanded limiting granting citizenship to stop what it described as “fooling around with the Kuwaiti society’s social fabric” in recent years by granting citizenship to people who do not deserve it, merely for profiteering and winning those people’s loyalty and support of the government when voting on various bills.
The sources added that the lawmakers want to set some measures that will help control the government’s actions, through preventing nationalizing Kuwaiti citizens’ wives, which they claim has become a business for some male citizens through which they get paid in return for getting married to non-Kuwaiti women. The lawmakers said over 80,000 non-Kuwaiti women had been granted citizenship since 1991, which is a lot more than the 10,000 women who got citizenship in the period of 1959 to 1991.
The lawmakers also called for setting strict conditions to grant citizenship to Kuwaiti women’s children, including they should be born, raised and live in Kuwait and that their non-Kuwaiti fathers should have died. They also called for special restrictions on granting citizenship to bedoons and halting the process for 10 years to examine the cases of those who got citizenship using fake documents.
The legal committee also decided to separate two draft laws related to the judiciary – the first on the independence of the judiciary and the other on allowing people to dispute judges. It was decided to merge the second law with the arguments law. MP Fadhl yesterday blasted the cooperative societies union and charged that some co-op officials were manipulating prices of essential commodities and committing violations for personal interests. He said that lawmakers have been discussing the possibility of forming a special panel to investigate what he called manipulation of prices at cooperative societies.
By B Izzak and A Saleh