KUWAIT CITY (AFP) – Four members of a Kuwaiti opposition group walked out of a parliamentary session on Tuesday after MPs voted to grill the prime minister over alleged inaction on pollution behind closed doors.
Speaker Jassem al-Khorafi then cancelled the grilling because Khaled al-Tahus, an opposition MP who had filed the request to quiz the prime minister, was among those who walked out of the session.
Khorafi said that 39 MPs, including the 16 cabinet ministers, voted in favour of the secret session, 19 others voted against, while four members refused to vote and another three were absent. Kuwait’s parliament comprises 49 elected MPs and 16 cabinet ministers.
Tahus last month demanded to question Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmad al-Sabah, a nephew of the ruler, over allegations that he failed to apply the law to check pollution in a residential area.
Tahus and the three other opposition MPs who staged the walk out belong to the Popular Action Bloc, headed by veteran lawmaker Ahmad al-Saadun.
The group’s spokesman MP Mussallam al-Barrak told reporters that they withdrew from the session because of the decision to hide important information from the Kuwaiti people.
“Our demand is to have an open discussion in the parliament chamber” to allow the Kuwaiti people to hear the truth, Barrak said.
Tahus had repeatedly warned that he would grill the prime minister if the government did not shut several polluting industrial facilities.
Residents of the Ali Sabah Al-Salem area, 55 kilometers (35 miles) south of Kuwait City, have often complained that excessive pollution from oil and chemical facilities in the area posed a serious health hazard.