Amendments propose registering plots smaller than 600 square feet

The parliament has accepted for consideration amendments proposed to the land law to allow registration of plots of land smaller than 600 square feet.

Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MP Riyaz Rasheed’s amendment bill was accepted unanimously with 56 votes in favour at today’s sitting of parliament and sent to committee for further review.

Under the current law, plots of land smaller than 600 feet cannot be separately registered.

In cases where children inherit a small parcel of land upon division of a parent’s property, Riyaz said the new owners were unable to obtain loans or mortgage the property as it was not registered under their names.

During today’s debate, most MPs favoured the proposed changes, noting that the problem was especially acute in the congested capital.

Meanwhile, amendments proposed to the Decentralisation Act by main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party MP Rozaina Adam to change the eligibility criteria for local council candidates was rejected with 40 votes against and 21 votes in favour.

Rozaina proposed allowing individuals who have been convicted for a criminal offence to contest elections five years after serving the sentence. Under the current law, a person convicted of a crime with a punishment specified in Islam, drug abuse or trafficking, or bribery cannot contest in elections for island, atoll, or city councils.

During the debate on the amendments at today’s sitting, several MPs noted that individuals convicted of crimes can contest in parliamentary elections five years after serving their sentence. A harsher criteria for council candidates is unfair, the MPs argued.