The parliament’s financial and economic committee meets today to discuss ‘populist’ draft laws that include increases to social security, rent allowance and housing loans. Meanwhile, AlQabas daily quoted committee president Faisal AlShaya who revealed that Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Sheikh Salem Abdul-Aziz AlSabah, as well as Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs and Health Minister Sheikh Mohammad AlAbdullah Al-Sabah, are invited “to provide the government’s opinion” on the proposals.
The government was against these regulations when discussed in the annulled parliament, and the Assembly was scrapped before the laws could be passed in their second hearing. In the meantime, the parliament’s investigation committee in the multimillion-dinar deposits case holds its first meeting tomorrow headed by MP Ali Al-Omair. According to sources, the probe will follow a new approach “and would not be based on the investigations carried out in the first annulled parliament”.
The sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that the questioning will cover members of parliaments elected in 2006, 2008 and 2009, but added that members are “still undecided on one mechanism” for investigations. In other news, the financial committee in the parliament prepared a letter on the draft law for the government’s plan for the fiscal year 2013/2014. According to the letter as quoted by Al-Qabas yesterday, the plan “fails to achieve the goal of increasing nonoil income by 30 percent at the end of the 5-year development plan”. Instead, income only increased by 6.4 percent, the letter said. It further criticizes the government for “failure to achieve necessary legislative requirements for the plan or preparing a suitable environment for the development process to go through”.
Yesterday, MP Hamdan Al-Azmi made a statement in which he suggested that “there are attempts to marginalize the parliament’s role in every way possible”, mentioning in specific “explanation requests to the constitutional court” and “accusing MPs of thwarting development through continued interpellations”. MP Abdullah Al-Turaiji had stated during an interview with Al-Rai TV Thursday that “there are attempt to dissolve the parliament and topple the Cabinet of Prime Minister HH Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah through personally-motivated grillings”. Al-Azmi also reiterated demand for a cabinet reshuffle “to change ministers whose presence creates tensions with the parliament because of their corruption or failure to address corruption”. On Thursday, MP Dr. Maasouma AlMubarak said in an interview with Al-Watan TV that a reshuffle was necessary to change ministers who she said “delay answering MPs’ questions and ultimately refuse to answer with the pretext that the questions go against the constitutional court’s ruling”.