MPs yesterday approved plans aimed at delivering harsher punishments to rogue traders, despite the government urging them to rethink the move because it believes the laws are tough enough.
They unanimously voted in favour of amendments by the Shura Council to the 2012 Consumer Protection Law that would see offenders handed no less than a month in jail, or fined between BD5,000 and BD20,000, or both for selling, possessing or promoting counterfeit or tampered items.
For those found guilty of hoarding and hiding such goods, the punishment would be a fine of between BD1,000 and BD10,000.
Violating outlets would see their business suspended for up to three months and all items, equipment and goods confiscated. If an offence was repeated within three years the outlet would be closed for six months or the commercial permit terminated.Anyone found preventing inspectors from doing their work would also face fines of between BD1,000 and BD10,000.
The government had asked parliamentarians to reconsider their stand saying the current law continued to achieve its intended purpose.It has been referred to the Shura Council for review.Other sentencing issues came under scrutiny too.Bullying, for example, on the basis of religion, belief, sect, sex, race or colour could be considered a crime and punished under a parliamentary amendment to the 1976 Penal Code approved unanimously yesterday.
The punishment could be up to three months in jail, or a fine between BD300 and BD3,000, or both.Tougher punishments could also be introduced for repeat offenders, who could be jailed for up to six months, or fined between BD1,000 and BD4,000, or both.The bullying amendment has been referred to the Cabinet to draft as proper legislation within a maximum six months.
* Punctual and productive civil servants could be given cash awards under Parliamentary-proposed amendments to the 2010 Civil Service Law that were approved unanimously. The Cabinet will be requested to draft it as proper legislation.* Parliament also unanimously approved government-drafted amendments to the 1976 Merit Law to add two new medals for policemen and outstanding security service. The legislation has also been referred to the Shura Council.