Parliament stalled by contradicting proposals to amend Armed Forces Act

Two contradicting amendments to the Armed Forces Act of Maldives were proposed at the People’s Majlis yesterday.

In May last year, Kulhudhufushi South MP Mohamed Nasheed submitted two bills to amend the Armed Forces Act and Police Act, respectively.

If passed, the president would need approval from the parliamentary committee on security services before appointing or dismissing the heads of both the army and police.

During the final reading of the bill yesterday, Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP for Hanimaadhoo Ahmed Mujthaz proposed an amendment which would require parliamentary approval for the appointment of the army chief.

Currently, only President Mohamed Nasheed has the power to appoint or dismiss high-ranking military officials.

If the bill is passed with the amendment, a Majlis committee will review the president’s nominee, and he or she will be approved by a majority vote on the floor. If the president wants to dismiss the army chief, the same committee will evaluate the reasons and present a report to the floor before a vote.

After the vote on the amendment was tied at 35 on each side, Speaker Abdullah Shahid cast the tie-breaking vote, siding with DRP’s proposal to make parliamentary approval mandatory.

Another amendment to the bill was proposed by Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Mariya Didi which would counteract the DRP amendment.

Didi proposed that the power to appoint and dismiss the army chief should remain solely under the president’s discretion. This amendment passed at 35-33 votes.

Press Secretary for the President’s Office Mohamed Zuhair said “the president should have the discretion to choose the army chief”, adding that the bill was only passed because “the speaker took their side—he belongs to DRP.”

He said the president’s point of view was that “it is dangerous to politicise the defense forces,” and he hoped the “Majlis will come around to that [same] view.”

Zuhair noted that in a “worst-case scenario, the President will send [the bill] back for reconsideration.”

State Minister of Defense, Muiz Adnan, said “the president is the Commander-in-Chief and according to the Constitution he should have the power to make decisions.”

When asked why this amendment had been proposed in the first place, DRP MP Rozaina Adam said “if the president was treating everybody fairly, it wouldn’t be a problem.”

She said it became an issue “because we don’t trust the government to protect everyone’s rights.”

MDP MP Sameer said his party is not making any comments since the amendments are still being considered by the speaker. But in his own opinion, “the president should have the power.”

He said the speaker is “supporting the parliament having the power”, support he called “a conflict of interest” because “we know he is picking sides when he is meant to be impartial.”

The sitting was stopped when numerous MPs raised points of order after the conflicting amendments were passed.

Parliament will renew the issues on Monday, when the speaker will decide if there will be another vote or if he has made a decision on the issue.


7 thoughts on “Parliament stalled by contradicting proposals to amend Armed Forces Act”

  1. Rosaina, Rozaina, Rozaina... Did you even pass your "LKG" year? Your job is to make laws around the "president". Not around "Mohamed Nasheed". It doesn't matter what your personal beliefs are. One political party will inherently never trust the other to be fair to them. But the majority of the country trust and respect the incumbent president. This is how democracy works. You can't make a seperate set of laws for each sitting president. The majority of the country has decided Nasheed is the president. Accept it. Live with it. Whether you like it or not.

  2. This is a complete and blatant violation of the constitution. The Commander-in-Chief should always have the authority to dismiss whomever he feels like. Civilian control of the military has to be maintained and the appointments must be subject to executive control.

    If they want to create more stringent Parliamentary oversight over the budget of the MNDF, then that is another issue. But to interfere and politicize the Military has to be one of the stupidest and most petulant moves we've seen in parliament.

    We have been a nation where the Military has always respected the rule of law, where they have been subject to civilian commands. To politicize them and give them incentive to work against the established hierarchy is completely irresponsible.

  3. Dont know what some of the parliament members are thinking.. trying to bring military into the hands of parliament. Havent they got enough power already and have so much other important things to look at? Shows that the parliament is still not mature. Hope it does not turn out to be like the Arab League where one state representative would call another a donkey or something. Be more mature like the British parliament and talk about what your constituents are asking you to talk about.

  4. Well, we heard the President on Friday on the subject. Well done Prsident Nasheed.

    Please, members of parliament, can you please move forward to do what you need to do to build our nation and bring prosperity to our people? Stop wasting our money and our time.

    MPs, when are you going to call for a vote of no confidence of a Speaker who continues to violate the constitution of the Maldives?

    If those we voted to speak for us cannot make a stand to uphold the integrity of our constitution perhaps we need to speak for ourselves.

    Perhaps the time has come to suspend the parliament and call for fresh elections. I don't think we can bear four more years of the utter rubbish that we see in parliament.

  5. nor can we ignore the corrupt and decadent rule of the current governmemt. Even the Commander-in-Chief has to be accountable.

  6. think that the whole country be subject to a motion of no-confidence. least of all then the mentally deranged paraniods would feel a lot safer. And talking about being mature like the snobbish parliamentarians in UK, I do not see any significant maturity or integrity in them. Well some jerks like anni and the likes may see so. "These are the people who go looking at cracks in the pavement".

  7. Parliament, "The people" should have absolute power to fire anybody they want, who is commander in chief of armed forces anyway?


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