MPs debate motion without notice on Dhiyamigili blackout

A partisan row erupted in parliament today during a debate on a motion without notice proposed by minority opposition Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) MP Riyaz Rasheed condemning a four-day long electricity blackout in Thaa Atoll Dhiyamigili.

Today’s sitting was adjourned at 12:00pm after several MPs of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) objected to the motion as the damaged engine at the Dhiyamigili powerhouse had been repaired and electricity was back on at 4.10am this morning. MP Ali Mohamed, presiding over the sitting in the absence of Speaker Abdulla Shahid, adjourned the sitting after heated rows broke out in the chamber.

Under parliamentary rules, motions without notice could be submitted to open the floor to an impromptu debate on issues of national importance. However because besides offering MPs an opportunity to voice their views, no concrete action results from a motion without notice, MDP MPs argued that such motions were “a waste of Majlis’ time.”

Presenting the motion, MP Riyaz Rasheed urged the people of Dhiyamigili to sue the utility company for compensation as refrigerated foodstuff had been damaged in the island.

Riyaz’s Thaa Atoll colleague, MDP MP Mohamed Musthafa meanwhile alleged that Home Minister Hassan Afeef was behind the blackout and urged the people of Dhiyamigili to “chase out the utility company employees.”

Other MDP MPs however pointed out that MP Riyaz Rasheed’s company Meridian Service was being sued by the State Trading Organisation (STO) to recover over Rf19 million (US$1.4 million) owed for oil released on credit as well as Rf384,198 (US$29,800) as fines for non-payment.