All expats face ban from driving in Bahrain

Senior MP and business groups slam plans for new law
All expats face ban from driving in Bahrain
Bahrain Shura Council and House of Representatives in Manama. (MOHAMMED AL-SHAIKH/AFP/Getty Images)
By Beatrice Thomas
Mon 02 Jun 2014 10:30 AM

A senior Bahraini MP has joined a chorus of opposition to proposed new laws that would ban expats from driving in the Gulf state, saying it is unconstitutional, it was reported.

Local media reports suggest the draft traffic law would involve a blanket ban on driving for all non-Bahraini citizens, with no mention of whether any exemptions could apply.

The Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) has already announced that it will try to block the law after describing it as a retrograde move for the country’s tourism industry that will stifle business confidence.

“Article 20 which bans expat driving, strips immigrants of one of the basic human rights - that's the right of movement,” the BCCI said in a statement.

Minister of State for Information Affairs and government's official spokeswoman Sameera Rajab said the draft legislation “is constitutionally questionable”, Gulf Daily News reported.

“We have always been moving forward, not backwards,” she said.

She confirmed the government was following closely the development of the contentious law.

The chamber said Bahrain needed to maintain a business-friendly environment.

“Such controversial decisions will only harm Bahrain’s reputation, hurt its investment assets in the long run and destabilise the business community,” it said.

No date has been given on when Parliament will debate the proposed law. Bahrain’s proposed new traffic laws described as anti-business.

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