MP Safa Al-Hashem
MP Safa Al-Hashem : Expats should be banned from hiring maids
Lawmaker slams Kuwaiti aid for Iraq reconstruction
KUWAIT: MP Safa Al-Hashem went into overdrive yesterday in her tirades and abnormal proposals that blame expats for almost every problem Kuwait faces. The lawmaker, who has been tirelessly trying to build her political popularity by criticizing expatriates, said she will propose to ban expats from recruiting and hiring housemaids, blaming them for mistreating their maids and distorting Kuwait’s image.
She said disasters come only from expatriates mistreating their domestic helpers, in reference to a standoff between Kuwait and the Philippines, which has issued a total ban against Filipino workers coming to Kuwait. Hashem cited the example of an expatriate couple who allegedly killed their Filipina maid and stuffed her body in a freezer, where it was found after more than a year, further straining Kuwait-Philippines relations.
Hashem has repeatedly made very strange and sometimes racist proposals to deprive expatriates of their basic rights, suggestions that often brought her criticism from her own colleagues in the National Assembly. Laws in Kuwait permit expatriates to recruit or hire housemaids, but they have to fulfill certain conditions, including earning good salaries and the payment of an annual fee of KD 200. No Kuwaiti government agency has ever blamed expatriates alone for mistreating and abusing housemaids, and the blame has been for citizens and foreigners alike.
On the diplomatic standoff with the Philippines, Hashem called on the foreign ministry to send a “stronger” message to Manila by stopping aid to the Southeast Asian nation and opening the door for the recruitment of workers from other countries. She also called for halting the recruitment of Filipino manpower. Hashem criticized the Assembly’s interior and defense committee for rejecting her proposal to increase the fees for driving licenses for expatriates to KD 1,000 annually from just a dinar currently. She said that she will not stop presenting proposals to resolve the imbalance in the demographic structure, which is in favor of expatriates, who form 70 percent of Kuwait’s population of 4.5 million.
Hashem, the only female lawmaker in the 50-member house, also lashed out at donations by Kuwaiti charities for the reconstruction of Iraq, saying repeated Iraqi governments have failed in the field of reconstruction and development. She called against giving any aid to the Iraqi government and called instead to entrust Kuwaiti companies to carry out reconstruction projects.