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Minister urged to suspend new traffic campaign

Essa Al-Kandari

KUWAIT: Acting National Assembly Speaker Issa Al-Kandari called on Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Khaled Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah to suspend new traffic regulations that allow policemen to impound vehicles if motorists are using mobile phones or not wearing seatbelts while driving. The lawmaker urged the interior minister to investigate if the new traffic rules are in breach of the constitution, saying the minister should discuss the issue with constitutional experts to ensure the legal status of the rules.

Kandari said that if the minister finds that the rules are suspected of violating the constitution, he should suspend them, as the minister “is known for his positive cooperation with lawmakers”. He said the rules have triggered strong controversy and wide divisions in the country.

As part of a new traffic campaign, the interior ministry last week began impounding vehicles for a series of traffic offences, mainly not wearing seatbelts and using mobile phones while driving. The campaign was harshly criticized by lawmakers as unconstitutional, who called for imposing fines without the need to seize vehicles. A number of MPs threatened to grill the interior minister if the rules were not suspended.

Meanwhile, head of the Assembly’s financial and economic affairs committee MP Salah Khorsheed said yesterday the panel discussed a government draft law stipulating to allow the government to borrow up to KD 25 billion for durations of up to 30 years. He said the government needs to borrow to boost its sovereign rating and safeguard the national currency.
Kuwait posted a budget deficit in the past two fiscal years due to the sharp fall in oil revenues, which make up around 95 percent of public income. As a result, the government borrowed from domestic and international markets, and issued international bonds for the first time to finance the budget shortfall. Under Kuwaiti law, the government can only borrow with legislation passed by the Assembly.

Separately, opposition MP Riyadh Al-Adasani yesterday warned ministers in the new Cabinet before its formation that he will grill those who fail to perform their duties and promises. He said he will give ministers and the prime minister some time to test their performances, then grill those who fail to perform.

By B Izzak

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