Protesters petition President not to ratify MP Privileges Bill

A group of “concerned citizens” today gathered outside the President’s office to present a letter to president Mohamed Nasheed requesting him not to ratify the recently-passed MPs Privilege Bill.

The protesters claimed that the bill was passed by the MPs for the sake of unfair personal gain, and should not be ratified.

”If the bill is to be passed, the salaries and allowances for the police and independent commissions should be increased,” said a protester, claiming that “we are not from any political party but we are representing the citizens.”

The letter stated that the Privileges Bill was against the Constitution and the objective of parliamentary privileges.

”[The Bill] allows [MPs] to import expensive assets (such as cars) duty free, receive pensions in a different manner to normal citizens, and benefit from an expensive insurance scheme, all of which are definitely against the purpose of MP privileges,” the letter said. ”The bill also obstructs the conduct of criminal justice proceedings in the Maldives, antd contains many other things that independent democratic countries do not accept.”

The letter noted that the bill stated that MPs were to be treated differently in criminal cases, and called on the president to reject the bill and to send it back to parliament.

Minivan News reported last week reported that should the bill be ratified, the salaries and allowances of Maldivian MPs would amount to thousands of dollars more than their counterparts in many developed countries.

In their defence of the bill some MPs have argued that an MP’s salary of Rf 62,500 a month includes allowances, while the cash component represents a “welfare fund” to be drawn on by their constituents.

Even before the proposed increases, every Maldivan indirectly spends approximately US$20.65 (Rf 265) a year (derived via ‘invisible’  taxes on goods such as import duties) supporting roughly 120 politicians across both parliament and the executive, assuming a population of 350,000, GDP of US$1.6 billion and a share of the country’s ‘cake’ equal to about US$5000 (ignoring income disparity).

In similar vein, Australians pay approximately US$7.40 (Rf 95) a year to support parliament and the executive across all states and territories – meaning that Maldivians not only individually pay three times more than Australians in dollar terms to support their politicians, but seven times more when this bill is expressed as part of each citizen’s share of total GDP.


12 thoughts on “Protesters petition President not to ratify MP Privileges Bill”

  1. The "welfare fund" is the old trick used by these substandard and disrespectful MPs to justify their greed!

    The "welfare fund" should be made illegal on grounds of bribery and money laundering!

  2. Members of parliament enriching themselves by passing laws has a long pedigree.House of Commons, the mother of parliaments, is known to do this too. Sri Lankan and Indian MPs are also doing this.But international trends are no justification for Maldivian MPs copying it from them.We have to be more creative and original.

  3. only in poor countries these types of abuses are taking place. The Courts shall have the rights to question any abuse of privilege. If this Bill is passed, that would limit the ability of the courts to intervene in matters of this nature.

  4. It is simple. Maldivians currently hate the governement for not delivering justice for all the wrongs done is the past, for not delivering a decent and safe place to live right now and for not delivering a convincing plan for a prosperous place in the future. But they absolutely loath the parliament for taking it upon themselves to ensure that the government does not deliver on any of the above. Rectifying this bill will simply push the government to the level of the parliament. Please Mr.President, do not rectify this bill.

  5. When Anni became the president, he told BBC very proudly that he doesnt need a big office or a palce to run the country. He showed one table in a small room of Muleeage and said he will run the country from their to reduce the cost of the country and save the money for the people of the Maldives. now what is this. If he passes this bill, it means he will go against what he said to that BBC reporter. Plus the law of a democratic country should be equal to everyone. Why should an MP be treated differently when he or she commits a crime? It would be very stupid of Anni to pass this bill and if he does that could be the end of him. And there is clear chance that the ordinary people will rise against him. And as he said recently, if the people rise then no one can stop them, not even him.

  6. How can the court ask any question. They are on the same boat. We the common people suffer because of these corrupt people.This country needs a good dictator to bring peace for the people. other countries are working hard to find a solution for high food prices and we are busy getting ready for a 62 million election.What a joke!

  7. "Welfare fund"!
    "Welfare fund" for what?
    To purchase vote in disguise or ??????

    It is a pity our Parliament has become a 'MAD HOUSE'!

  8. @Naina,

    Dictatorship wont help the country. See the plight of Pakistan today and compare it with India. In democracy, the onus lies on us. We the people should be careful while voting. Educate your friends, relatives and neighbours as well.

  9. Ameen Faisal lost the opportunity to take over the country and arrest all these rogues and make Anni a caretaker President and call for fresh elections. We need someone very bold and honest to develop Maldives until then, we will only continue our dreams of a better tomorrow.


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