Cabinet Ministers attend parliament committee despite President’s orders “to shun”

Minister of Defence and National Security Mohamed Nazim and Minister of Education Ahmed Asim have attended Parliament’s Executive Oversight Committee despite President Mohamed Waheed Hassan’s orders to “shun” committees.

The committee summoned the two ministers to attend its meeting at 10:00am on Tuesday over a decision to construct an airport in the island of Maafaru in Noonu Atoll, and the ongoing protests in the same island since December 30, 2012 due to a lack of basic services.

The committee, in its meeting on Monday, had also agreed to send out an official parliamentary order summoning them if ministers refused to attend the committee meeting as they were initially asked to.

Meanwhile, President Waheed had informed Parliament Speaker Abdulla Shahid through a letter on Sunday that cabinet members, government officials and members of the security forces will “shun” the committee. Waheed had stated then that this “shun” would be in place until Shahid is able to ensure parliament actions are “in line” with the Constitution of the Maldives and the parliament’s Rules of Procedure.

Speaking at the committee meeting today, Nazim said the government would very soon be announcing openings for bidding to construct the island’s airport.

Nazim is reported as saying that since the project is not included in the state budget, it could only be carried out through corporate social responsibility projects. He stated that the government is willing to give “one or two” islands to persons willing to take on the project.

Maafaru Councillor Anwar Abdul Ghani, who was also present at today’s committee meeting, responded that they did not want the airport if it would not come with a sewerage system and jetty as per the initial plans.

Minister of Defence Mohamed Nazim and Minister of Education Ahmed Asim were not responding to calls at the time of press.


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