Kuwaiti MP Safa Al Hashem: The Woman Who Loves to Hate on Expats
by Rana Elhawary
Earlier this week, Kuwaiti MP Safa Al Hashem has proposed new laws that would place a temporary one-year halt on issuing driving licenses to expatriates.
She added that this halt should be renewed on a regular basis, until a solution is found to the growing traffic congestion on Kuwaiti roads. Finally, Al Hashem stated that expatriates should not be allowed to own more than one car in Kuwait.
Such open racism and hate towards expatriates, however, is not shocking for Al Hashem, just a few months ago a video of her emerged that showed her making proposals to enforce a fee of 100 Fils on expatriates, every time they access and/or use a road.
Al Hashem’s legal proposals are part of her over-all comprehensive plan to decrease the ratio of expatriates to Kuwaitis. Al Hashem, like most conservative nationalist, feels that expatriates abuse too much of the benefits that are provided by their lives in Kuwait.
This logic that suggests that expatriates don’t giving back to the Kuwaiti society is untrue. While expatriates do make up 70% of Kuwait’s total population and do far outnumber Kuwaiti citizens, there is nothing to prove that the majority of these expatriates are freeloaders, who have contributed nothing positive to live in Kuwait.
Indeed, expats include teachers, managers, doctors, domestic workers, and garbage men, etc. These are all things that benefit the economy. Those people have jobs, ones that benefit and help sustain life in Kuwait, on all levels.
I really don’t think it’s a coincidence that when MP Al Hashem proposed these new driving license laws, and then conveniently added a caveat that exempts family car drivers from that regulation.
Looks like Al Hashem herself is well aware that several Kuwaiti families would be outraged if they lost their drivers, a job exclusively occupied by expatriates.
It seems that her policy has lost consistency with itself, or maybe it has not. Maybe, Al Hashem actually believes that expatriates are quite alright to have around, so long as there are clear ways in which they literally serve affluent Kuwaiti households; 193 Kuwaitis are employed under the ‘Private House Labor’ category, while 562, 209 non-Kuwaitis are employed under the same category.
I wonder if Al Hashem also has in mind the things that would happen to the children of these affluent families if they were to lose their school teachers or university professors, a majority of whom are also expatriates; 31,931 Kuwaitis are employed in the ‘Education’ sector, while 36,586 non-Kuwaitis are employed in the same sector.
Moreover, if any member of any Kuwaiti family were to get sick and there were no expatriates to be found in well-paying jobs, which doctors exactly would he or she visit? Indeed, 11,789 Kuwaitis are employed in the ‘Health and Social Service’ sector, while 29,985 non-Kuwaitis are employed in the same sector.
While being a racist or a classist, or even both is a (sad) personal choice, Al Hashem should not try to do it in a way that denies a fact that is so evident to anyone who has lived or visited Kuwait, namely the fact that life in Kuwait is unsustainable without the labor of the expatriates you love to hate on so very much!
WE SAID THIS: Al Hashem, if you truly have your country’s best interest in mind, use your legislative power to stop the abuses expatriates face while working in your country!