The National Assembly

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: The government has sent amendments to the traffic law to the National Assembly proposing massive increases to penalties and fines in a bid to curb traffic offenses that have been on the rise in recent years. The new law, which has to be reviewed and approved by the Assembly, proposes a three-month jail term and a fine of between KD 200 and 500 for a variety of offenses that include running the red light, reckless driving, racing, speeding, driving against traffic and using a mobile while driving.

The same applies to ferrying passengers in a private vehicle and driving a vehicle without a number plate. Fines in the existing law for most of these crimes do not exceed KD 50, and the fine for some violations is just KD 10.

The draft law also proposes a two-month jail term and a fine of between KD 100 and 200 for allowing a child under 10 years to sit in the front seat, driving with defective brakes, allowing people with no driving license to drive one’s vehicle, causing damage during a traffic accident and not staying in lanes. It also proposes a one-month jail term and a fine of between KD 50 and KD 100 for using high-beam lights, stopping vehicles on highways, driving or parking on pavements, using loudspeakers and others.

The law will be reviewed by the next Assembly following general elections in late November, as the current term is expected to close this week. The Assembly is scheduled to hold its final sessions tomorrow and Wednesday to debate two grillings against the prime minister and discuss a number of legislations.

Meanwhile, a number of lawmakers called on the foreign ministry to issue a statement denying remarks made by US President Donald Trump claiming that Kuwait was likely to normalize ties with Israel soon. The remarks were made at the White House on Friday following a ceremony in which Trump awarded HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah the prestigious Legion of Merit, a top US honor. The honor was received by Sheikh Nasser, the Amir’s eldest son, as HH the Amir is receiving medical treatment in the United States.

In a question to Foreign Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nasser Al-Sabah, MP Mohammad Al-Dallal inquired about Trump’s remarks, which contradict Kuwait’s official position and parliamentary and popular positions, which reject the Israeli occupation and establishing ties with Israel. He also asked if the government contacted the US administration to see why Trump made such remarks and if the Kuwaiti government has denied the country’s intention to normalize ties with Israel.

Dallal also asked if the Kuwaiti delegation which received the award discussed the issue of normalization with US officials and why the foreign ministry has not issued any statement regarding Trump’s remarks, which apparently aim at involving Kuwait in the normalization issue.

Also yesterday, MP Osama Al-Shaheen said he and MP Dallal submitted a proposal calling to expand voting timing beyond the normal 12 hours because of the coronavirus crisis. Ballots in Kuwait open at 8 am and close at 8 pm. The proposal also calls for allocating four schools in each committee instead of two, and also to allow candidates to explain their election programs on state TV.