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Egypt Refuses to Comment on Kuwaiti MP’s Contentious Remarks

Egypt Refuses to Comment on Kuwaiti MP’s Contentious Remarks

Wednesday, 14 August, 2019 - 06:15
Kuwaiti lawmaker Safaa al-Hashim. (KUNA)
Cairo - Mohammed Abdo Hassanein

Statements by Kuwaiti lawmaker Safaa al-Hashim, who criticized the excessive importing of Egyptian labor, were met with popular contempt but no response by Cairo.

While parliament rejected to comment on Hashim’s contentious statements, Abdel Fattah Mohamed Yehia, director of the Labor Office, confirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat that “Egyptian workers are being sent to Kuwait to meet the Gulf state’s local demand for labor.”

They are also covered by MoUs and agreements signed by both governments that share a long history of exceptional ties.

Hashim’s comments had followed a report published by the Kuwaiti newspaper, Al Ra'I, which documented the entry of 8,000 Egyptian migrant labors to Kuwait each month in 2018.

Labeling the collected data as disastrous and criminal, Hashim said: “The report confirms the issuance of about 98,000 new work permits for Egyptians to travel to Kuwait during the past year, the majority of whom do not have any university qualification ... this is a crime against Kuwait, an across the board disaster, and an inconceivable surprise.”

The Ministry of Manpower and Immigration declined to comment on the MP's remarks.

“We do not respond to such statements,” Maha Salem, a spokeswoman for the ministry, told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Hashim’s critique was a part of a series of attacks she launched against the Human Resources Development Committee at Kuwait’s National Assembly for allegedly neglecting its role in reducing the number of expatriate workers.

She also accused the Kuwaiti government of not being serious in implementing its policy on regulating and replacement of foreign labor, and called for an urgent response.

In his comments, Yehia said that every Egyptian heads to Kuwait with legally binding work contracts vetted and approved by the Kuwaiti government. He also blamed Hashim for her statements, saying they harm Cairo’s ties with Kuwait City.

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