Land Act amendments to allow private ownership of land

Parliament began debate today on amendments proposed to the Land Act of 2002 to allow citizens to use land as a commercial asset.

Presenting the draft legislation on behalf of the government, MP Abdul Gafoor Moosa explained that the amendments would allow land to be bought and sold as privately-owned assets.

“In our long history, land was used as a gift given by the government to its supporters,” he said. “After [years of] distributing land like this in Male’, the new generation gets a plot the size of a bed. There is nothing left for tomorrow’s generation.”

The amendments would create a Land and Survey Authority to draw territorial charts, conduct surveys of land use and valuate property, he added, as well as a Registrar of Land to maintain a national registry.

“So those who want to mortgage land will know the value of their land and be able to mortgage it easily,” he said, adding that the new authority would be part of the civil service and answerable to a cabinet minister.

The proposed law would introduce procedures for individuals and married couples to register state-owned land as personal property, Gafoor continued, which would provide “necessary security and protection for everyone.”

The government would also be legally empowered to seize plots that remain unused for five years, said Gafoor, while the current 15 percent tax on estate sales would be abolished.

Speaking in his weekly radio address on June 10, President Mohamed Nasheed argued that the proposed reforms to land transactions would increase the country’s wealth.

The government’s aim was to transfer land titles traditionally held by the state to individuals, said Nasheed, who would be encouraged to use the land as capital to increase their wealth.

Together with the amendments to the Land Act, the government has also proposed a bill on condominiums to create a legal framework to allow individual ownership of real estate or apartments in a single building. An additional bill on mortgages would meanwhile allow apartments to be mortgaged at the bank to obtain loans.

In the parliamentary debate today, MP Ibrahim Rasheed of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) observed that 80 percent of land in the Maldives was state-owned.

Rasheed urged MPs to pass the bill into as quickly as possible “to ensure for the Maldivian people their birth-rights.”

MPs of the opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP), People’s Alliance (PA), Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) as well as some Independents however argued that some provisions in the law conflicted with the Decentralisation Act by divesting authority from local councils.

DQP MP Riyaz Rasheed said that articles 86 through 89 of the bill were intended to “steal all the powers [afforded to local councils] in the Decentralisation Act.”

“What they’re trying to do is gift all the land in the country to these MDP people and their supporters,” he said.

Riyaz alleged that the government recently awarded a plot in Male’ to India for a new embassy building in exchange for “buying a few MPs for MDP.”

“I will dare to say this, what can you do about it, you can’t do anything,” he said. “The Maldives will soon become a small province of India, a small town. Our own identity is being taken from us and the whole country is going to become enslaved to them.”

The new administration has “sold all our assets” to India, he added.

PA MP Abdul Azeez Jamal Abubakur meanwhile concurred that the law would disenfranchise councils, recommending that experts be consulted during committee stage before the law is passed.

DRP MP Hassan Latheef suggested that the law should stipulate that councils must be consulted by the Land and Survey Authority before making decisions on land use in the islands.


12 thoughts on “Land Act amendments to allow private ownership of land”

  1. Good. Sell and give away everything.
    In any case none of the MP's do care about their constituents anyway.

    So, when you can, what you can, just grab it all.

    Thank you.

  2. How could this shameless Riyaz Rasheed be MP? I pity the people who have elected him to represent them in Majlis.
    This selfish man has no gratitude to the country that has given the most important facility for humans to have a normal healthy life. So why this ungrateful man, can’t refuse and reject the Indian government gift the Indra Gandhi Memorial Hospital. And also ask his constituency people to refuse services given by this hospital.
    Also this man is objecting to government giving land to Indian government for the purpose of building their high commission in Male. He forgets the fact that Indian government will grant land for Maldivians to build their embassy in New Delhi.
    The question of granting land from Laamu atoll to Indian company for certain period to build a university and medical resort Riyaz Rasheed forget to acknowledge that fact social benefit that will be bestowed to this community and the gradual development that will occur to this area from the university. What I can say is that undeveloped brains can’t imagine of positive things.
    Riyaz Rasheed brain thinks and work around his petrol station and the STO. This man have such a thick skin that he don’t feel ashamed of using public company money’s and pretending to talk in behalf of the public. Be assured we the Maldivian hate this kind of selfish people.

  3. @ Hassan Ahmed.

    There is no way to justify the land given to Indian company in Laamu atoll. Was there any bidding? You are sick with yellow fewer so you pretend there is nothing known as transparency.

    Perhaps we should make MDPs way the new law. You approach someone underground and make all the deals including buying all our islands. In return give a loaf of bread to locals, " that's a lot these days"

  4. Raiyaz Rasheed, Our constitutional right does not give us the right to be irresponsible., Ya right! What a liar! You must have really thought that all people are as stupid as many of you supporter,It is time for immature politicians and zaeem gayoom to start thinking before spilling out this violent, racist garbage, which would not only damage our economy as whole also which might effect our long lasting relationship with mighty India., The Media must also start to be responsible and start monitoring the content of those immature political advertisings ..Stupidity and mental illness are nonpartisans! It is long past due time to sit back and tone down the rhetoric whose only effect is to further divide an already polarized population! In the end, we will all loose unless we change some of our ways! .. Than you

  5. This is really sad! People like Riyaz speak nonsense and simply waste our time... Whether this administration allows or not, if a country like India wanted to enslave us they can. We r heavily dependent on them and many other countries as well. If they wanted they can bring the economy to a halt and can make majority of the population to starve cos our basic staples come from India under favorable terms.

    Please dont talk rubbish thinking that maldivian ppl would believe people like u!

    But I agree on protecting local businesses and encouraging maldivian businessmen.

  6. hassan ahmed, my brother of a different mother, our gratitude to the country that has given the most important facility for humans to have a normal healthy life does not in any way mean to give out all of the companies and lands to the India as a token for this great service. Riyaz might have his mind around his petrol station and STO, but in a strange and odd way he just made a point. Nah, I am not commending all that this man said.

  7. The recent housing bubble in the western economies have shown that land is not a productive asset. Lets hope that policy makers have considered bout the adverse effects of uncontrolled housing and construction. It will suck all the money and leave the rest of the economy dry..

  8. yellow lies. there was an existing system where one can own land by paying for it and tranfering the title from bandaara to amilla.

    in a country like maldives, where less than 2% , its is important to keep some land in the hands of the state.

    there was a land law drafted about 3 years ago with consultation from all sectors, and had checks and balances such as mechanisms to ensure to ensure one party does not end up owning the entire country, i have not read the bill yet, but i wouldnt be surprised if this draft law has been ammended to ensure all the yellow peoples buddies including foreigners carve up the country within the next few years and own it

    evves ikhlaas therikameh dhivehinnakah neiy!

  9. Following a quick scan of the draft legislation, these questions come to mind;

    - Why does the President need sanction by statute to delegate powers which are already held in his person to a statutory entity (Land & Survey Authority) which ends up being a separate department under a Ministry anyway?

    - According to the bill, the LSA and its chief executive ("the Surveyor-General) is appointed by, removed by and answerable to the President. While these statutory entities seem to possess far-reaching powers as might be suggested by the wording of the legislation, in truth the final say remains with the Minister. Therefore the creation of other statutory posts with glorified titles seems unnecessary.

    - Section 20 & 48 of the bill (independent valuation) opens new avenues for corruption. There is a reason why Pan Real Estate was created and this might be it. One must be extremely cautious about this provision and its enforcement.

    - Sections 22-26 seem to allow entities leasing out state property to mortgage said property. This seems problematic. Might be my lack of understanding but what would happen if the lessee were to default on a loan taken out after mortgaging rented out State property at a bank where the majority shareholders are not Maldivian. Can such a bank actually own that land or conduct transactions with regards to it.

    - The existing situation where residential property granted on freehold to ordinary citizens are often leased out for commercial purposes makes enforcement of Section 65 very difficult and open to abuse. One has the means to destroy one's enemies source of income by influencing the drafting of a land-use plan in such a way that one's enemies will have to discontinue renting out a portion of one's land for commercial purposes.

    There are a lot of good things in this bill as well. For example, keeping records of land rented out for various purposes, formalizing and modernizing land grants etc. One wonders, however, why this bill has been submitted. Land ownership is not a new concept to this country although the current administration seems to insist on portraying it as such.

  10. ahahahaha, I like that now the maldivian duscusing about there own Land. Oooo just 19 years a go, I remember when the maldivians were maldivins, helping each other, taking care each other. Now they are only taking of $$$$$$$$ .
    what a shame! sure money is important but like that? If the young generation are not willing to work, if to ask why? "Anni says, the food items prices is going higher according the there salary" UPS look arrounf the old vegatable market how many people seating arround there NOW, compare to 15 years a go!!!
    Ye give land to other country take money then minimum 2 people are happy! who cares the others, same like motorbike driver "first me then the othees, Driving with very small kids fron seat where is the safety where is carbon free? The Maldives are able to do them self, dont sale the country!
    Sale your IPAD.


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