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Ban expats from obtaining driving licences, says Kuwait MP

Safaa al-Hashem is widely criticised for having what has been described as hateful views [Getty]

Date of publication: 3 April, 2017

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Kuwait's only female MP Safaa al-Hashem has called for a one year ban on expats being allowed to receive a driving licence.

A Kuwaiti MP has suggested that tougher measures should be put in place to discourage expats from driving, in her latest proposal according to Kuwait's al-Rai daily newspaper.

Safaa al-Hashem has proposed a one year ban on expats being allowed to obtain a driving licence, not only "to reduce traffic," but also in an attempt to "discourage them from entering and staying in Kuwait."

She has also called for expat's licences to be tied in with their employment contract, a move that would potentially tighten controls of sponsors on foreign workers.

The sponsorship system has been condemned by human rights organisations for putting workers in dangerous situations that often put their lives at risk.

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She states in her proposal that non-Kuwaitis should be limited to having one car per person, and that expats must not be allowed to own a car unless they have a Kuwaiti licence.

The Kuwaiti government is making it more difficult for expats to obtain driving licences, by piling on stricter conditions, such as the applicant needing a university degree, having a minimum monthly salary of 600 Kuwaiti Dinars ($1967) and being a Kuwaiti resident for a minimum of two years.

Al-Hashem is Kuwait’s only female MP and is widely criticised for having what has been described as hateful views.

She had previously called for hard-line policies to reduce immigration, such as forcing non-Kuwaitis to pay a tax for walking on streets and banning them from having access to free medicine in hospital, regardless of how poor they may be.

Al-Hashem constantly insists that she is not racist, despite her alarming comments, and says she wants to balance the Kuwaiti to expat ratio and reduce the levels of crowding within the country.

Expats currently make up 70 percent of Kuwait’s population.

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