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Wed 1 May 2013 09:34 AM

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Kuwait's traffic chief defends expat deportations

Major General Abdul Fattah Al-Ali says running red light is equivalent to attempted murder

Kuwait's traffic chief defends expat deportations

The head of Kuwait’s traffic directorate has defended the recent deportation of scores of expats over traffic violations by comparing running a red light to premeditated or attempted murder.

Major General Abdul Fattah Al-Ali on Tuesday confirmed 213 expats had been removed from the country in the past week under a crackdown on repeat traffic offenders.

Defending the decision, he said using a private vehicle as a taxi violated labour and residency laws, while driving without a licence was equal to working without a permit.

The deportations have been criticised by the Kuwait Labour Union and former MP Abdullah Al-Turaiji, who claim they are a violation of human rights and are illegal.

Head of Kuwait Labour Union’s expatriate office Abdulrahman Al- Ghanem said in a statement it would have economic and social consequences for the country, which should instead be focusing its attention on punishing visa traders.

Traffic offences should be dealt with through fines or license suspensions, he said.

Al-Ghanem claimed the government was blaming expats for the country’s demographic imbalance and had resorted to oppressive measures against them.

The Kuwaiti Ministry of Social Affairs has announced it plans to cut expat numbers by 100,000 each of the next 10 years. Expats make-up about two-thirds of the country’s population of 3.8 million and relied on for menial work as well as high level expertise.

Many in the country’s private sector fear the oil-rich nation - in which about 90 percent of national workers are employed by the bloated public sector - is not prepared for self-sufficiency.

However, Al-Ali said the law allowed for deporting expats on the basis of repeat traffic offences.

“According to our criminal and penal laws, penalties for such violations include deportation,” he said, according to Kuwait Times.

“The law also authorizes the MOI [Ministry of Interior] to deport expats in [the] public interest in case they commit repeated crimes or violations.”

He said citizens also were severely punished for repeat traffic offences, citing the case of a national who was recently jailed for three months.

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Ruben 6 years ago

Hopefully there is more oversight in this process than the article seems to suggest. But if not, this 'deportation for traffic violation issue' is a sure indication that you are not welcome in certain countries.

Catch the drift and move on to some place where you will be treated better.

Sadly, everyone suffers in some way in the long run.

John butler 6 years ago

Does deporting an expat give the Kuwaiti’s the feeling of superiority? Or is it just the usual arrogance? Yes the MP is right it is inhumane and a stupid excuse to kick expats out of the country! If the law says that these violators must be punished shall be by fines or even taking them to jail! Otherwise, yes it is definitely a violation of human rights. Maybe the day will come when the authorities will start deporting Kuwaitis!

Expat in Kuwait 6 years ago

Sadly, The cops don't even understand English & they are not willing to listen to anything. They do as they like, It is my wish that wherever the citizens of this country travels for holiday or business they are treated the same way as they treat us.

Daniel 6 years ago

I flew out of Kuwait last week-end and the area where we had to check-in was so conjested that the queues for the 5 or 6 airlines that they squeezed in that area were all bumping into one another, so in all this chaos this Indian woman with a distant look in her eyes comes up to me in the queue with a survey sheet about tourism in Kuwait. With a surprised look on my face, I told her that there is no tourism in Kuwait - the door swings out, not in, what does Kuwait have to offer a tourist? I watched her exhausted trying to find a tourist - there were none.

Hisham 6 years ago

Why should they? Does the police in the UK understand Arabic? Do most traffic policemen in France understand English? Or Chinese? Or Spanish? Why would it be so logical for them to speak English when more than half the countries in the world don't use English as a language at all...

Wajih 6 years ago

Could it be because English is more of international language ? Isn't traffic controllers in Kuwait and others in the Middle East communicate in English? Or may be because two young Kuwaitis speak with one another in English most of the time, or perhaps why Kuwaitis enrolling their kids in English schools ? Or yet may be because those who do not speak English fly to. London most of the Summer and ask for Arabic speaking aid? Guys wake up, your country is nowhere better than a small town in the southern part of Antarctica

Noor 6 years ago

With so many accidents, I wish the same happens in the UAE, no Asian expat will remain.

Vincent 6 years ago

If your wish comes true Noor, you may soon be driving your own taxi rather than hailing one!

Neil 6 years ago

I too wish the same happens.....Then you would be the one cleaning your own roads, washing your cars , and braving the 46-50 degree heat.

AJs 6 years ago

And of course the Non-Asian community are the perfect drivers in the country and need to be emulated right? Please take one-sided opinions elsewhere.