MPs call to amend sports laws to end sus­pen­sions

Op­po­si­tion MPs warn PM over cit­i­zen­ships, util­ity charges

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE - By B Iz­zak

KUWAIT: Eleven op­po­si­tion MPs yes­ter­day de­manded an emer­gency ses­sion in the Assem­bly to de­bate a so­lu­tion on how to end the in­ter­na­tional sus­pen­sion of Kuwait’s sports bod­ies. The law­mak­ers said they want the ses­sion to be held on Wed­nes­day, just two days be­fore an ul­ti­ma­tum given to Kuwait to rec­tify its sport leg­is­la­tions to be able to take part in qual­i­fi­ca­tions for the 2019 Asian foot­ball cup.

MPs said in the mo­tion that Kuwait was barred from in­ter­na­tional sports over a year ago be­cause of a num­ber of lo­cal leg­is­la­tions is­sued since 2013 that vi­o­late in­ter­na­tional sports char­ters. Dur­ing the open­ing ses­sion of the Assem­bly on Dec 11, law­mak­ers passed a rec­om­men­da­tion call­ing on the gov­ern­ment to take nec­es­sary steps to lift the freeze on Kuwaiti sports.

Min­is­ter of In­for­ma­tion and Youth Sheikh Sal­man Al Hu­moud Al-Sabah said the gov­ern­ment is pre­pared to sit with the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee or world foot­ball gov­ern­ing body FIFA or any other side to set­tle the is­sue, pro­vided that this does not breach the Kuwaiti con­sti­tu­tion or sovereignty. At least three op­po­si­tion MPs have threat­ened to grill Sheikh Sal­man over the sports is­sue, un­less the gov­ern­ment adopts the nec­es­sary mea­sures to end the sus­pen­sion, which was im­posed in Oct 2015.

The op­po­si­tion law­mak­ers also sub­mit­ted a draft law call­ing to scrap all con­tro­ver­sial sports laws is­sued in 2013, 2014, 2015 and ear­lier this year that were cited by world sport bod­ies as vi­o­lat­ing in­ter­na­tional char­ters. The law­mak­ers want to re­vive a 2012 leg­is­la­tion that was in line with the in­ter­na­tional sports law in a bid to end the sus­pen­sion.

The gov­ern­ment has re­peat­edly charged that Kuwaitis oc­cu­py­ing lead­ing posts in in­ter­na­tional sports or­ga­ni­za­tions con­spired to cause the sus­pen­sion by com­plain­ing to them. In the past few months, the gov­ern­ment dis­solved the Kuwait Olympic Com­mit­tee, Kuwait Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion and sev­eral other fed­er­a­tions cit­ing fi­nan­cial and ad­min­is­tra­tive vi­o­la­tions. A de­ci­sion on whether to hold the emer­gency ses­sion on Wed­nes­day or not is ex­pected to­day. The gov­ern­ment should agree to the ses­sion for it to go ahead or it can de­mand de­lay­ing it.

Mean­while, a num­ber of op­po­si­tion law­mak­ers di­rectly warned Prime Min­is­ter HH Sheikh Jaber AlMubarak Al-Sabah over the is­sue of re­in­stat­ing cit­i­zen­ships re­voked by the gov­ern­ment for po­lit­i­cal rea­sons and over ap­ply­ing in­creased elec­tric­ity and wa­ter charges. MP Mubarak Al-Ha­jraf warned the prime min­is­ter that pa­tience was run­ning out quickly and if the gov­ern­ment does not show the re­quired co­op­er­a­tion on the is­sue of cit­i­zen­ships, the prime min­is­ter must pre­pare him­self for a grilling. He said that all should shoul­der their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, be­cause play­ing with cit­i­zen­ships is like play­ing with the na­tion, which is to­tally un­ac­cept­able.

MP Mo­ham­mad Hayef said the pe­riod in which cit­i­zen­ships were re­voked has ended and the cit­i­zen­ships must be re­turned in or­der to strengthen the in­ter­nal front. He said that ten­sion over the re­voked cit­i­zen­ships must be de­fused, “oth­er­wise we will be com­pelled to grill”, adding that the Kuwaiti peo­ple know that cit­i­zen­ships were re­voked be­cause of a po­lit­i­cal strug­gle and this is un­just.

MP Mo­ham­mad Al-Dal­lal also in­sisted that the gov­ern­ment should take steps to re­solve this is­sue, be­cause the cit­i­zen­ships were re­voked for po­lit­i­cal rea­sons. Dal­lal, who is the head of the le­gal and leg­isla­tive com­mit­tee, said the panel will meet next Sun­day to dis­cuss a large num­ber of leg­is­la­tions in­clud­ing the cit­i­zen­ship and DNA test laws. The com­mit­tee will also dis­cuss the con­tro­versy over the elec­tion of the deputy speaker and will take the opin­ion of le­gal ex­perts.

MP Mo­ham­mad Al-Mu­tair called on the gov­ern­ment to halt the im­ple­men­ta­tion of a law to raise power and wa­ter charges from next year. Mu­tair gave the gov­ern­ment un­til May to make the re­quired amend­ment, oth­er­wise he vowed to file to grill the prime min­is­ter.

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