Parliament approves committee report on assisting fishermen

Parliament today unanimously approved a report produced by an ad hoc committee formed three years ago to identify and propose solutions for difficulties faced by fishermen and boat owners.

The committee was formed on October 6, 2009 following a proposal by then-opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP for Haa Alif Kelaa, Dr Abdulla Mausoom.

In its report (Dhivehi), the committee recommended alerting the government to issues identified after consultations with officials from the fisheries ministry as well as fishermen from the three southernmost atolls.

The committee noted that fishermen were facing difficulties paying back loans due to the seven-year trend of declining fish catch.

Meanwhile at today’s sitting, MPs debated a declaration or resolution submitted by Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MP Ahmed Mahloof to expedite the Majlis’ legislative duties to enable the criminal justice system to function more efficiently. Eleven MPs spoke during the one hour debate allocated by Speaker Abdulla Shahid for the declaration.

Also at today’s sitting, an amendment proposed by Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) MP Riyaz Rasheed to the Privileges and Protection for Former Presidents Act of 2009 was rejected 37-22 with one abstention.

The MP for Thaa Vilifushi had proposed specifying exceptions in the law whereby ex-Presidents could be denied protection and financial benefits by the government.

The amendment was rejected despite several MPs of the ruling coalition declaring support for the changes. The law on state benefits and protection for former presidents was the first bill to be passed by the 17th parliament after it convened in May 2009.

Today’s sitting was adjourned by the Speaker at 1.40pm due to disorderly conduct by some MPs. Section 40(a)(4) of the standing orders or rules of procedure grants authority to the Speaker to adjourn a sitting due to disruption of proceedings.