Lt Gen Dahi Khalfan Tamim Image Credit: JAVED NAWAB/Gulf News

Manama: Dubai's Police Chief supported a claim that if the population of expatriate workers continued to rise in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states at the current pace, Gulf citizens would soon be marginalised.

"The possibility of GCC nationals turning into a minority in their own countries cannot be ruled out if a law is, for instance, promulgated and enforced to naturalise expatriates," Lieutenant Colonel Dahi Khalfan Tamim said.

He was reacting to questions from the audience at a popular monthly call-in programme on Qatar Television Laqum Al Qarar (It Is Your Decision).

The audience comprised mostly young people from across the Gulf, Qatari daily The Peninsula reported yesterday.

The discussion addressed the issue if the rising numbers of foreign workers posed a serious threat to the GCC identity and culture, and if so, what steps the governments in the region could take to reduce the danger.

If the GCC governments do not take bold steps to check the inflow of foreign workforce, a day could come when locals would be marginalised in their own countries and become like Red Indians in the United States, Lt Gen Dahi said.

Unending chain

Citing examples, he said Malayalees (people from the south Indian state of Kerala) and Iranians who came to the Gulf and ran small neighbourhood stores eventually became millionaires.

"Why can't we run these stores which, after all, we legally own? But we do not want to do such work," he said. An Indian driver is hired by a Gulf family and then he manages to bring a relative even if there is no job for him. The relative hunts for a job and lands one. This is an unending chain," Dahi said. Ministers should bring to the notice of the GCC Rulers the rising threat the heavy influx of foreign workers poses to GCC identity and culture," he said.

However, when asked if the problem could be tackled to some extent if more workers were brought in from Arab countries, Lt Gen Dahi said: "I do agree that they [Arab expatriates] are better than non-Arabs."