The recent National Assembly election left behind a sense of negativity that will remain in the Kuwaiti society for a long period and one of its highlights was the discriminatory speech which spread hatred towards the expatriates.
Outrageous violation of human rights principles was observed in the election campaigns of some candidates as they attempted to take advantage of the lopsided population structure issue to gain the support of voters and launch attacks on the oppressed expatriate labor force.
These candidates either forgot or ignored the fact that their statements sowed seeds of skewed ideas which have negative and dangerous repercussions for expatriates; it was like pouring cooking oil on fire.
In an investigative report, several citizens and expatriates pointed out that the discriminatory speech and demand for increase in fees imposed on expatriates will stagnate the economy because it will prompt skillful expatriates to relocate to neighboring countries where making a better life is bearable and there are more privileges compared to Kuwait; in addition to many families returning to their motherland which means the number of bachelors will increase.
They added such a speech will ward off expatriates from the country and lead to collapse of many consumer establishments among them the commercial complexes and restaurants. They stressed this discriminatory atmosphere does not correspond with Kuwait’s reputation of being tolerant.
According to statistics released by the Central Statistical Bureau as at July 30, 2015; the expatriate workers in the government sector represent 26 percent of the total labor force, although they constitute the majority in the private sector with a huge percentage compared to citizens.
On salaries, about two thirds (59.3 percent) of expatriates receive less than KD 180 salary; whereas those whose salaries range from KD 180 to KD 360 constitute 24.2 percent and those receiving more than KD 360 constitute 16.51 percent.
Azmi Saleh, an expatriate, disclosed that when he heard the campaigns he felt uneasy due to the discriminatory speech regarding non-Kuwaitis, especially when it comes to increasing fees. He wondered if expatriates come to Kuwait to panhandle or to work in return for salary. He affirmed the expatriates are not receiving more than what they deserve in this country.
Another expatriate, Salah Biyaumi, wished the discriminatory speech does not become a reality considering a candidate promised to bear responsibility for the fuel price increase on expatriates as if the Arab and non-Arab expatriates are not bearing the brunt of the fuel price increase.
A citizen, Bo Yousef, pointed out the MPs who want to impose financial pressure on expatriates are oblivious to the fact that citizens will be affected too, while the economic movement in the country will be affected negatively because expatriates will leave under such conditions and whoever stays will not spend much in the country, let alone transforming Kuwait into country of bachelors.
Another citizen, Ibrahim Al- Ghannam, said the smart and shrewd MP is supposed to enlighten voters that any financial pressure imposed on expatriates will affect almost every economic sector of the country, especially commercial and local investment sectors such as private schools, residential buildings and others.
Al-Ghannam urged the new members of Parliament to deal with the situation of expatriates in a balanced manner to avoid tarnishing Kuwait’s reputation in terms of the foreign labor force. Bo-Abdallah added another MP complained about an Arab national in the Information Ministry receiving a salary of KD 1,500.
He wondered what is KD 1,500 when it comes to someone with skills and expertise, especially since such person will not receive this salary if he does not possess the corresponding expertise. He asked the MPs if they know that an Arab national receives KD 30,000 from a bank as that person made the bank earn high profi ts due to his experience in this field.
Economic expert Dr Adel Al- Saadoun revealed some former and current MPs who dealt with issue of discrimination against expatriates in the recent election. He claimed those spreading hatred toward expatriates while sitting in their offices act as if they don’t know that an expatriate installed the telephone he is using, the road he is plying through and the mechanic who fixed his car.
He said the discrimination reached a point where MPs are even looking into on medicines given to expatriates as if the expatriates are not humans who need health services just like any other person on this planet, forgetting that doctors are allowed to prescribe medicines for two months continuously before raising any flag.
SOURCE : ARABTIMES