Amnesty eyed for expat violators

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March-May exit window; Can apply for legal return

Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister and Acting Minister of Interior Sheikh Fahad Yusuf Saud Al-Sabah

KUWAIT CITY, March 2 : Countering rumors and fake accounts spreading misinformation and false news in addition to finding solutions to those violating residency are amongst top priorities for the state, said Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Sheikh Fahad Yusuf Saud Al-Sabah on Saturday. In a KUNA interview, Sheikh Fahad — also Acting Minister of Interior — affirmed that the ministries of Defense and Interior were following a well-devised and strict vision aimed at justly enforcing the law on all without discrimination or favoritism.

indicated that combating illicit drugs, developing traffic rules, national military service, and bolstering the country’s economy by allowing several entry visas through strict regulations would be focused upon in the upcoming period.

In regards to the priorities of the Ministry of Defense, the minister indicated that they were focusing on maintaining the morale of the army and armed forces as well as developing their capabilities. Resolving issues related to corruption would also be on the agenda of the Ministry of Defense to continue anti-corruption action triggered by the late Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, he said, adding that extending cooperation with regional and international military entities was also an important goal.

Sheikh Fahad referred to the public prosecutor last month a file containing suspicion of crimes related to public funds, money laundering and financial irregularities. The Ministry of Defense said the referral was taken as further action against crimes of public funds and would enhance transparency, as well as cement justice and neutrality. Asked about the issue of national military service, the minister said that it was essential to implement the step to fend off threats, citing the resistance of Kuwaitis during the Iraqi invasion in 1990-91.

Having skills in combat and military helped Kuwaitis use weapons, rig explosives, and set plans to defeat the invaders and there are several benefits of the national service, Sheikh Fahad affirmed. He noted that challenges like the previous COVID-19 pandemic had made it clear that national service in the army was a must, noting that the service taught more than utilizing weapons, it instilled skills to run the country in case of man-made or natural disasters.

On refuting and combating false news and rumors, Sheikh Fahad said that the Interior Ministry was keen on countering such threats, which might lead to instability and fear. Those behind the rumors would surely face justice, he affirmed, adding that whether in Kuwait or abroad, those committing such acts would be held accountable. “Regarding those using fake names and publish from abroad, we will in a short period attempt to control this issue and know who is providing owners of those accounts, and I promise that we will eliminate many of these accounts shortly,” he said.

In regards to the new traffic law, the minister said that the draft law would be discussed and possibly ratified in the first session of the National Assembly, saying that it was a law for the betterment of Kuwait as a whole. He noted that many of the traffic accidents were due to leniency in the current fines, which might lead to fatalities, stressing that the punishment must equal the size of the crime in a sense that those passing the red light; for example, must pay a hefty price for such life-threatening act. Parents, he added, share responsibility too.

“Most of the time they are paying fines for crimes committed by their kids.” Speaking of the war against illicit drugs, Sheikh Fahad said that there was continuous cooperation with fellow GCC countries to fight drug trafficking, revealing that there were preemptive operations against drug dealers. Since taking the helm of the Interior Ministry, Sheikh Fahad said, the ministerial teams managed to bust 30 drug-related smuggling operations and pointed out that the main targets of drug dealers were individuals between the ages of 16 and 25.

On the latest decisions to allow visit and family-joining visas, the minister said that Kuwait was affected by the loss of capable cadres in several sectors especially within the health profession. The reintroduction of such visas would be done through several criteria, he said, and sponsors requesting the visa would be notified of the number of days the visitor should stay within rules and regulations via text and other methods. Sponsors violating the new laws would be blocked from completing other government transactions, warned the minister.

On the benefits of introducing visit visas on the population, the minister said that the country expects 100,000 to 200,000 visitors who would be staying for a period of 30 to 60 days, which would be beneficial for the economy. Activating the economy, added Sheikh Fahad, also related to building a huge airport. “We want to open Kuwait and show them how beautiful the country and its culture are. The weather is pleasant in 4-5 months, and people are more than welcome to visit Kuwait.” Asked about how to handle the issue of illegal residents, he revealed that there is a plan to allow residency violators to leave Kuwait starting in March and ending in May, noting that violators could apply for a visa to return to Kuwait via legal and approved channels. He called upon those violating residency to take advantage of the law or face permanent deportation from Kuwait. (KUNA)

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