New Kuwaiti female MP called racist for her attacks on expat rights

Published:  10 Mar at 6 PM
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Tagged: Visas, USA
Anti-expat female MP Safaa al Hashem’s latest attack on foreigners working in Kuwait urges her parliament to ban them from using government clinics and hospitals.

Al Hashem, the only female MP in the Kuwaiti assembly, is becoming infamous amongst Kuwait’s expat community for her continued attacks on their position within the emirate. Her latest proposal urges the Kuwaiti authorities to pass a law forcing hospitals and clinics to cease and desist from providing medicines to foreigners. She wants the KD1 and KD2 fees paid by expats on visits to clinics and hospitals to simply represent doctors’ fees without including tests or medicines.

At present, the fees paid by expats cover consultations and prescribed medications as well as partially covering laboratory testing fees. Al Hashem wants all prescription drugs at public hospitals and clinics to be reserved for Kuwaiti nationals, forcing expatriates to find a private pharmacy or clinic able to supple the prescribed drugs.

Her argument seems to be that the proposal would save the huge stocks of drugs purchased by the government and also reduce over-usage of the emirate’s medical facilities. Kuwait's private hospitals, she says, would benefit from the introduction of her proposal.

Expatriates in Kuwait pay a mandatory yearly heath insurance fee as a precondition to renewing or obtaining residence permits, and are also forced to pay charges for many medical services, including surgeries, radiology, X-rays, laboratory tests and overnight stays in the emirate’s hospitals. It’s often the case that higher-cost medicines are not given to expats, but are reserved for Kuwaiti nationals. in addition, Kuwait’s health ministry announced recently it was planning to raise charges for expats using the emirate’s medical services.

Since her election to the Kuwaiti parliament late last year, Al Hashem has targeted expats, with several writers and rights activists now describing her stance as racist. In February, she tabled a motion calling for expats to be charged more taxes and even be billed for walking on the emirate’s roads, and in another recent attempt she proposed the banning of expatriates from intensive care units in public hospitals because ‘expats use the oxygen in the units’.
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