MNDF deserters sacked

The Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) has sacked the 13 servicemen who deserted their posts last week, releasing them without honors.

MNDF has said the servicemen violated their legal agreement with the state, under which the servicemen trained and educated, reports Haveeru.

According to Article 32(b) of the Armed Forces Act, a serviceman is deemed absent without leave when he fails to report for work for 14 days without permission, or objects to report for work as requested by a superior during an emergency.

Officials have said court cases will be filed against some of the servicemen, Haveeru reports.

MNDF identified the sacked deserters as Corporal Ibrahim Azum, Staff Sergeant Hassaan Hameed, Lieutenant Kashif Hilmy, Private Rilwan Rasheed, Corporal Mohamed Imad, Lance Corporal Mohamed Abdu Rahman, Private Abdulla Shahfath, Private Mazin Mohamed, Private Mohamed Hameed, Private Shaamee Saeed, Lance Corporal Abdul Hameed, Private Mohamed Abdul Kareem and Sergeant Ali Ashraf.


MNDF searching for army deserters

An undeclared number of servicemen have deserted the armed forces and are subject to penalty according to the Armed Forces Act. The servicemen are currently being searched for by the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF).

The search is being considered a special operation under the Armed Forces Act, reports Haveeru.

The decision to take action against servicemen who leave service without permission or warning was made last year by the Defence Ministry, which cited the Armed Forces Act as point of reference.

Article 32(b) states that a serviceman is deemed absent without leave where he fails to report for work for 14 days without authorisation, or where he fails to report to work or objects to report to work where an order is given in accordance with the Act by a superior in an emergency.

The act outlines penalties including arrest of various duration, fines, termination of service, institutional proceedings, and others outlined in subsequent regulations.


Amendments to Armed Forces Act dismissed by Speaker

Parliament has thrown out the proposed amendments to the Armed Forces Act, put forward last week.

The Majlis was stalled last Wednesday after two contradictory amendments to the Armed Forces Act were proposed.

The first amendment came from Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP for Manimaadhoo Amhed Mujthaz, proposing Parliament should ultimately have the power to approve or deny the president’s choice for army chief.

The second amendment came from Maldivian Democratic Party (MPD) MP Mariya Didi, which was meant to counteract DRP’s proposal.

MDP’s proposal sought the Act to remain unchanged, and for President Mohamed Nasheed to have sole discretion in appointing or dismissing the army chief.

DRP’s amendment was tied at 35 on each side and was settled by Speaker of the People’s Majlis Abdulla Shahid, who cast his tie-braking vote in favour of DRP.

However MDP’s subsequent amendment passed at 35-33 votes, causing both contradiction and chaos.

“The Constitution allows me to vote only if there is a tie,” Shahid said, adding that he should not comment on the issue since his role was an impartial one.

Shahid said he “consulted the two major parties [DRP and MDP] and the leaders advised me to throw out the amendments” and leave it open for the process to be started again.

He said he thought the amendments would be resubmitted in the future, but were currently no longer on the floor.

Mariya Didi said “now the bill is as it was before,” noting that “the Speaker has exercised his discretion” and decided the bill should not be considered at this time.

“You don’t make bills and pass legislation to cater only for that day, but for the situation to be better in the country,” Mariya said.

State Minister for Home Affairs Ahmed Adil said he personally thought giving the power to parliament was “a dangerous move” and the motives for the proposed amendments were “purely political”.

He said the fact that the amendments were thrown out showed “the country is moving in the right direction.”

Adil added the Parliament “should not put their hand in the judiciary or executive branches” and each branch should remain independent of the other.


President urges Majlis to think sensibly when voting on Armed Forces Act

In his weekly national address on the Voice of Maldives, President Mohamed Nasheed has urged the People’s Majlis to take national security into consideration when voting on the bill to amend the Armed Forces Act.

President Nasheed said according to the Constitution, “I am the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces” and he could not “allow any disruptions and divisions among the Armed Forces.”

The president said requiring Majlis’ approval in appointing high-ranking military officials was “undue interference” and it could be a barrier against national security, progress and peace.

President Nasheed added that he would “not allow any party to interfere” with national security or his capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.

He hoped members of the Majlis would think sensibly before voting on the bill.