The Council of Representatives rejects the new pension law.
The Council of Representatives yesterday rejected a controversial proposed law which will bestow a government authority the right to control citizens’ pensions. The move received a nationwide criticism as it is believed to jeopardise social security.
Unlike the previous session, the majority of MPs (38 out of 40) attended the “historic” session. As reported last week, only 20 MPs attended last Tuesday’s session, forcing the Speaker to suspend it due to lack of quorum. Thirty-seven MPs voted against the bill yesterday following a heated debate.
The proposed law gives absolute jurisdictions that are related to the pensions of the employees of both the military and public sectors, in addition to members of the Legislative Authority (Shura Council and the House of Representatives), to the Social Insurance Organisation (SIO).
The jurisdictions include determining pensions’ percentages, retirement age, pensions’ increment, combining the pensions that MPs receive from the council and from their previous jobs, and other authorities.
The bill was initially rejected by members of the council’s services committee on Monday. Committee members insisted that the bill consists of constitutional errors, mentioning that “it deprives MPs and Shura Council members of their powers, which are granted to them by the Kingdom’s Constitution, to legislate and supervise”. They claimed that if the bill is implemented, SIO would have the absolute power to amend the existing retirement law without consulting the Legislative Authority.
MPs opinions in yesterday’s session were similar to the committee’s view, with many of them underlining that it’s against the Constitution and the reform project of HM the King. They said that it’s against the concept of separating the jurisdictions and preserving the independency of each of the Kingdom’s judicial, executive and legislative authorities.
Several MPs accused the government of “seeking solutions to the deficit caused by the insufficient strategies of SIO by passing this bill and controlling the retirement fund”