Parliament refutes President Waheed’s claim of 100 pending bills

The People’s Majlis has refuted President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan’s claim last week that 100 pieces of legislation needed to implement the 2008 constitution have yet to be passed by parliament.

In a press release yesterday (August 23), the parliament secretariat revealed that 43 bills were required to give effect to the constitution adopted in 2008, of which 24 were submitted and 18 were passed by parliament during the past five years.

The legislation was mandated by article 299 (b)(2) of the constitution, which states, “the People’s Majlis shall until the enactment and commencement of laws required to give effect to this Constitution, approve a course of action in relation to these matters. The Executive shall within thirty days of the commencement of this Constitution draw up a list of such laws and submit it to the People’s Majlis. Within ninety days of the commencement of this Constitution, the People’s Majlis shall draw up and approve a schedule for enactment and commencement of such laws.”

The parliament’s press statement noted that current Attorney General Azima Shukoor was in the same post in 2008 when the list of 43 laws was submitted. Azima – former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s last attorney general – was reappointed to the post by President Waheed following the controversial transfer of presidential power on February 7, 2012.

“Therefore, given the situation, we regret the false claims made by the President in a way that could cause loss of public confidence in parliament, and which was made with the intention of achieving a specific purpose,” the press release stated in conclusion.

President Waheed made the claim at a ceremony on Thursday night to confer national awards of honour and recognition. In his speech (Dhivehi), President Waheed contended that the public has not enjoyed the benefits of the reforms envisioned in the 2008 constitution due to “loopholes in a very young and incomplete constitutional framework.”

“We see a person who does not have the approval of the People’s Majlis, in charge of the highest number of state employees. We are in a situation where the people doubt the highest court in the country. Suspects in criminal cases are in state institutions. Murderers and people who have committed arson roam freely in the streets. The rights of women and children are unprotected,” President Waheed said, according to the President’s Office website.

President Waheed further contended that all the provisions in the constitution “cannot be said to have been drafted with the whole country’s framework of governance in mind.”

As the constitution was drafted during the final years of “a long rule,” he argued, some provisions were added “with the intention of changing the condition that existed then.”

“When the drafting of the constitution was completed under these circumstances, a number of problems were noted,” he said. “Some 100 laws needed to implement the constitution have yet to be formulated.”

The Majlis statement meanwhile provided a list of the bills passed, pending and yet to be submitted by the executive. The six pieces of legislation currently under review at the committee stage include the freedom of information bill, the education bill, the penal code, the criminal justice procedures bill, the evidence bill, and the jails and parole bill.

Among the 19 bills that have yet to be submitted include legislation on public referendums, freedom of expression, press freedom, parliamentary ombudsman, state secrets, defamation, women’s rights, public services, trade unions, legal counsel, civil justice procedures and national security.

The executive was also required to submit amendments to existing laws governing the Human Rights Commission, the Civil Service Commission, the auditor general, children’s rights and family matters.

The legislation passed by the parliament in the past five years for implementation of the constitution included bills establishing independent institutions such as the Elections Commission, Judicial Service Commission, Police Integrity Commission, Anti-Corruption Commission and the Prosecutor General’s Office.

Parliament has also passed laws governing the courts, presidential and parliamentary elections, freedom of assembly, decentralisation, parliamentary privileges, political parties, customs, state pensions, state benefits for persons with special needs, and electoral districts.


2 thoughts on “Parliament refutes President Waheed’s claim of 100 pending bills”

  1. 18 Laws were passed during the past 5 years. That is 3 and half Laws that were vital to a 'functional constitution' were passed each year.

    Is this a good number folks ?

  2. @ minivan

    would be good to know how many bills were submitted by Raees Nasheed and how many by Waheed.


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