Committee decision on secret ballot overturned

Parliament’s Counsellor General Fathmath Filza has informed the General Affairs Committee that a decision to approve an amendment to the parliamentary rules of procedure was void as the meeting where it was voted through last week took place in violation of the rules.

An anonymous member of the committee told Sun Online yesterday that the committee meeting last week took place in the absence of both the chair and deputy chair.

The issue had to be tabled in the committee’s agenda again, the anonymous MP explained.

The meeting on October 23 was presided over by Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Ali Azim while the amendment was reportedly voted through by four MPs of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).

The former ruling party has a majority on the General Affairs Committee.

The amendment to the rules of procedure to conduct no-confidence motions through secret ballot was proposed by MDP MP Mohamed Shifaz after a similar amendment was withdrawn by Independent MP Ahmed Amir, who is also deputy chair of the committee.

The committee’s chair is DRP MP Abdulla Abdul Raheem.

The amendment to parliament’s standing orders or rules of procedure would have to be approved in a vote at the Majlis floor to become official.

The MDP has submitted no-confidence motions against both Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed and President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik.

While a minister can be removed from his post through a simple majority of the 77 MPs in parliament, a two-thirds majority or 52 votes would be needed to impeach the president.


Parliament rejects resolution on MVR 300 million BML loan

Parliament yesterday rejected 27-17 a resolution submitted by Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Ahmed Sameer calling for an inquiry into the government borrowing MVR 300 million (US$19.5 million) from the Bank of Maldives.

The loan was obtained without parliamentary approval as required by the Public Finance Act.

The government had previously told local media the the BML loan was borrowed instead of US$65 million loan programme previously approved by the Majlis for budget support, and contended that further approval from parliament was therefore not required.

However, Counsellor General Fathmath Filza told the Finance Committee that the US$65 million loan was only to be borrowed from foreign lenders and that the government has to seek parliamentary approval before borrowing from a local bank as per the Public Finance Act.