Bahrain organisations come out against proposed expat driving ban

Published:  15 Jun at 6 PM
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Yesterday’s announcement that Muharraq Municipal Council’s is attempting to introduce a ban on expat drivers hasn’t gone down well with various Bahraini organisations.

Strong opposition to the proposed ban on expat drivers in Bahrain hit the headlines just a day after Muharraq Municipal Council’s attempt to reintroduce the formerly rejected law. The emirate’s Human Rights Watch Secretary General Faisal Fulad was the first to come out against the ban, saying officials should study existing plans in European states such as weekend bans in various districts and disallowing trucks from using certain routes during rush hours. Revoking expat licenses or banning expat drivers in certain sectors, he added, is not a solution to Bahrain’s traffic problems.

Migrant Workers’ Protection Society’s chairwoman Marietta Dias agrees, adding most Bahrainis owned too many cars, often one for each family member. Infrastructure development and additional public transport are desperately needed in order to deal with congestion on the country’s roads, according to the secretary-general of the Bahrain Federation for Expatriate Associations, Betsy Matthieson. She believes there should be a balanced solution involving other alternatives which will lead to a wise decision.

Meanwhile, in Oman, the Civil Service Council has announced the paid sick-leave limit for expats working in government positions is to be lifted. Non-Omanis will be pleased to hear that the four-month sick-pay limit is now history. The amendment was implemented just over a week ago, one day after it was first announced in the region’s Official Gazette, much to the relief of expats working for government offices.

Expat Steve Barka expressed his relief to the Times of Oman, saying he’d had surgery and was in rehabilitation for two months, adding the change would be good news for any expat with similar health problems. However, Oman resident Alex Bradbury expressed his concern about expats seeking to take advantage of the new law, but Omani resident Manch Kuttan said the number of expats working for the government was small, adding it knows full well few expats would abuse the system.
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