MP Riyaz Rasheed withdraws amendments to law on privileges and protection for former presidents

Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MP Riyaz Rasheed has withdrawn amendments proposed to the Privileges and Protection for former President’s Act of 2009.

At today’s sitting of parliament, the PPM parliamentary group deputy leader said he decided to withdraw the bill as it required revision, adding that he would resubmit during the next session after the upcoming one-month recess.

The amendment proposed denying financial benefits and protection for former presidents if they are either convicted of a criminal offence or encourages an act that threatens Maldivian sovereignty and independence.

Similar amendments proposed by the Vilufushi MP twice before had been rejected by the previous parliament.

The 2009 law stipulates a monthly allowance of MVR50,000 (US$3,243) for a president who has served one term.

Before declaring his intention to withdraw the amendments, Riyaz suggested it could be beneficial to allow the bill to be debated on the People’s Majlis floor to “recall” the alleged misdeeds of former President Mohamed Nasheed and the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) government.

He went on to allege that the party was behind all the murders that have occurred in the Maldives, prompting MDP MP Ibrahim Shareef to object with a point of order.

PPM MPs were using the Majlis floor as “a political podium,” Shareef said.

Following the controversial transfer of presidential power on February 2012, the government had questioned Nasheed’s eligibility for state benefits on the grounds that he had not completed a full five-year term in office.

In June 2012, MDP MP Ahmed Hamza revealed that the state had spent MVR1.3 million (US$84,300) on healthcare costs for former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and his wife from 2010 to April 2012.

In November 2012, Riyaz threatened to sue the finance minister and attorney general for providing state benefits to former President Nasheed.


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