Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Gulf News?

The Gulf News, the major English language newspaper here in the UAE ran a front page story earlier this week saying that residents with certain listed occupations would be barred from getting drivers licences, with immediate effect. The article did not list the banned occupations nor give a link to any relevant government website with further information. It also intimated that eventually only people with a university degree would be allowed to hold a UAE drivers licence. Naturally, a large degree of concern resulted amongst the public who rely on their cars to get around. There's no alternative to the private car as there's no public transport system aside from a few buses and the metro is not due to open until Sept 09.

A couple of days later the GN happily informs its readers that the ban applies only to the Emirate of Sharjah. Why did nobody at Gulf News think that, instead of just printing a government press release without question, they could have asked two simple questions, which would have been of huge public interest and benefit:
  1. "Does this ban apply to the whole of the UAE?" (Answer: no, only Sharjah....at the moment anyway); and
  2. "Where can the public find out if their particular job is on the banned list?" (Answer: nowhere, the list is not available to the public).
In further developments, according to a government spokesman, the 31 December 08 deadline to obtain the National ID card has not been extended, but as from 1 Jan 09 residents without the ID card won't have their bank accounts frozen nor will they be refused hospital treatment etc. (There are no ID application interview appointments available until mid-Feb anyway).

This week the previously announced UAE government ban on registering cars over 20 years old has also been reversed.

1 comment:

  1. What will this do to private drivers? The UAE is going insane...