Son carries on father’s tradition of modernity and development
An interview with Ahmad Al-Fadhel
KUWAIT: As part of our series, Candidate Speaks, Kuwait Times met candidate Ahmad Al-Fadhel, who is running from the third constituency. He is the son of MP Nabeel Al-Fadhel, who passed away last December while still in office. He espouses the same modern ideas as his late father, who hoped to make Kuwait the most developed country in the region.
“I have many issues that I would like to work on if I enter the parliament. I have various solutions and law proposals for various problems including education, health, economy, culture, sports and reforms in the parliament and government,” Fadhel told Kuwait Times.
“I would work on two issues - the system and the curriculum. We need to change the system of rote learning and instead teach chemistry, physics, mathematics and other subjects, including events such as World War II. Students should learn about materials, numbers and other activities that will help them internalize the knowledge, as they do in Sweden. We also need to train teachers,” Fadhel noted.
“The government is taking care of sports completely, and this is a very old practice. Today sports, culture and arts should be an industry, each with its own mechanism. We should have private teams using public facilities. There should be investment in real estate to grab the attention of investors, even if they don’t like sports. The government should give investors land on which they can build sports centers, where professional players can train and participate in professional leagues,” Fadhel explained.
These leagues should be based on schools and districts. “We have 52 areas, and each of them has a school and co-op. The co-op will pay for the equipment of the players, while the Public Authority for Youth will arrange to bring the trainers. This is the perfect environment for talent scouts. In the US, they search for talent in schools, then they adopt them and make them join college or professional teams. We can have competitions in the six governorates and the winners of each governorate will play in the playoffs, which will be broadcast on TV,” Fadhel added.
“Teenagers usually dream to be popular. Through school sports, we will offer them publicity through a weekly publication that will publish articles with their photos. The condition is to be an excelling student. Here, we connect education with fun and hobbies. And from the start, they learn that there is no gain without work.”
“We need to stop the censorship of culture and artistic work. If somebody is against something, he can reply with another piece of work that shows his opinion - not by banning it. At the same time, we should have certain criteria to ensure artistic works suit our culture and society. For instance, a movie can’t have kissing scenes, but we should be allowed to see political theatre. I don’t mean books detailing how to make a bomb for instance - these are dangerous and not allowed in any country,” Fadhel stated.
“We should scrap the ban on musical concerts and parties. If somebody doesn’t like ballet, he doesn’t have to attend a performance. Also, gender segregation at the university is wrong. After graduation, men and women work in a mixed environment. We are in a civil country ruled by law and not only religion. If we don’t have entertainment, the young generation will easily be attracted to bad behaviors or criminality. Whoever doesn’t want to attend concerts can stay at home.”
On Religious Freedoms
“The Kuwaiti constitution guarantees freedom of religion, so anybody living in this country should be free to believe in any religion. Also, they should be allowed to have their worship places if their numbers are large enough. The government should give them land to build their worship places on to practice their rituals. There were Jews living here in the past, but they migrated after the rise of religious extremism,” he said.
“We need to bring expert doctors in all specializations from abroad for a period of three months to treat patients in Kuwait instead of patients travelling abroad for medical tourism, especially that we now have a large number of hospital beds after the completion of Jaber Hospital. Also, local doctors will gain experience from these visiting doctors. This will not cost more than KD 350,000 annually, while we are now spending more than KD 800,000 for medical treatment abroad.”
“These will target two areas - the parliament and the government. It will also speed up procedures and paperwork. We aim to reactivate the disciplinary court under the Audit Bureau that is in charge of sanctioning employees in the public sector who are not doing their work properly. Today, employees are lazy and don’t work properly, but they are not punished,” stressed Fadhel.
On the Parliament
“A minister should submit a list of projects he is planning to execute in the next four years after being appointed. MPs should hold the minister accountable if he doesn’t meet the target and grill him. This applies to service ministries and does not include the ministry of interior or foreign affairs, for instance.”
On the Economy
“The government employment structure should be changed. More than 88 percent of the national labor force works for the government. Our aim is to issue legislation that will reduce this figure to 40-45 percent within 20 to 25 years. So the 40 or 45 percent will work in small or medium businesses. Our GDP has to consist of at least 40-45 percent of the labor force working for themselves, as most employees in the public sector are not productive and they just wait to get their salaries. We want to connect your earnings to your achievement, starting from the youth. We aim to have a healthier economy,” Fadhel explained.
For more than 60 years, 90 percent of our national income is from oil. “The alternatives can’t be realized in one day, and if it comes in one day, it won’t make a big difference. It has to be long-term and well-studied with a basket of revenue sources. So if any sector falls or a depression or recession occurs, we can absorb it. We won’t reach this target if our economy only depends on others’ results and the international demand for oil,” highlighted Fadhel. “I want to change this so we will be more than just an oil producer. We should have industries even if they are small. We have a strategic location in the region, and we can be a logistics hub as we are the gateway to Iraq, Iran, Syria and others.”
“Kuwait can be a medical hub with the huge capacity of the recently-launched Jaber Hospital. We can issue resort licenses with oases in the desert to support medical tourism. We can also be a sports hub with professional clubs. Furthermore, we can be an art hub - we have artists in all fields and we are pioneers in the region. We can even create an art city with streets adorned with images of our popular artists and celebrities. We should also develop our islands to attract tourists,” concluded Fadhel.
KUWAIT: Third constituency candidate Ahmad Al-Fadhel speaks to Kuwait Times. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat