Parliament cancelled after MPs clash over Yameen detention

Today’s sitting of parliament was called off after opposition MPs vocally protested the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) refusal to allow detained MP and opposition People’s Alliance Leader Abdullah Yameen to attend sitting.

Speaker Abdulla Shahid revealed that neither MNDF nor the Defence Ministry had responded to his letters requesting an explanation or an arrangement for the Mulaku MP to attend today’s sitting, adding however that he was constitutionally obliged to ensure that sittings go ahead.

MPs of the main opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) raised numerous points insisting that sittings could not be held while an MP was “unlawfully detained” by the military.

“Since the Majlis is not an enforcement agency I do not have a way to go and bring the honourable Mulaku member here,” Shahid responded.

A press release issued by parliament after today’s cancellation states that Majlis rules of procedure requires that MPs in detention over a criminal investigation must be allowed to attend sittings and committee meetings and “this is how it is in other democratic countries.”

It urges the MNDF to respect the constitution and the parliamentary rules of procedure, which was formulated under article 88(a) of the constitution.


Shortly after the sitting was canceled, a confrontation occurred between Hulhu-Henveiru MP “Reeko” Moosa Manik, parliamentary group leader of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and Galolhu MP Ahmed Mahlouf of the DRP.

Moosa claims that Mahlouf struck him on his legs with his shoes.

“After the sitting ended, Ilham [Ahmed, DRP deputy leader] and another MP came at me,” he explained. “Ilham was shouting at me very rudely and the other MP was filming it with his mobile phone.

“He was holding the phone very close to my face, I told them to go away, but they did not. When the camera came close to me I pushed the camera away from my face.”

Mahlouf was waiting and watching, he added, and came towards him after a while.

“He came and hit me in the leg, [and then] he said I hit him,” Moosa claimed.”That was a drama they played. They have been creating a lot of different stories against me recently.”

However, Mahlouf told local daily Haveeru that Moosa hit him in the face while Nilandhoo MP Abdul Muhsin was filming Moosa and Ilham’s argument.

Mahlouf has not responded to Minivan News at time of press.

A similar confrontation between the MPs occurred during a sitting almost a year ago when both accused the other of threatening violence and using obscene language.

The sitting on July 15 2009 was eventually canceled after the main parties clashed over the cabinet’s decision to investigate Chief Judge of the Criminal Court Abdullah Mohamed.


VP agreed to bring in Gitmo detainees, claims Reeko Moosa

Maldivian Democratic Party MDP parliamentary group’s leader MP Moosa ‘Reeko’ Manik has claimed that it was Vice president of the Maldives, Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan who agreed to resettle Guantanamo Bay detainees in the Maldives.

Moosa further claimed that the government of United States has agreed to assist the Maldives to reinstate the government’s money which was allegedly taken by the former government and stored in bank accounts abroad.

He criticised the way parliament’s national security committee was operating.

”The national security committee works in a different spirit,” Moosa said, ”DRP [Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party] MP Ali Waheed has declined to explain how he became the recipient of confidential documents stolen from the government.”

Moosa said that the case of DRP MP Ali Waheed being the recipient of the documents should also be investigated by police.

”The penalty for his crime should be given according to the law,” he said. ”MDP will also investigate this case.”

He added when parliament starts its session, the MDP parliamentary group will propose a bill to prevent assaults and gang wars in Male’.

Vice President of the Maldives Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan denied the claims made by MP Moosa Manik.

”I did not agree to resettle Guantanamo Bay detainees,” Dr Waheed said, ”But a [US official] I met during my visit to the States proposed the idea to me.”

Dr Waheed said that after he concluded his visit and returned to the Maldives, he had informed the Foreign Ministry of the issue.

”The Foreign Ministry did not respond to my request to give advice about how I would deal with the issue,” he said. ”I have no information on who agreed to bring in those detainees.’


Resolution on standards of conduct presented to parliament

A resolution governing standards of conduct of MPs has been presented to the parliament by Independent MP Mohamed Nasheed.

MP Nasheed said the objective of the resolution was to establish a standard of conduct for all the MPs with their support, and to see if MPs could follow it.

Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) member ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik said that the problem in the parliament was not that there was no standard of conduct or law.

”It’s the pressure and anger that one has when they lose the luxury received during a certain administration,” he said. “The law will remain there, but there will still be no control over the parliament.”

He said that he did not support narrowing the rights of MPs as they had to fulfill their responsibilities.

Dhivehi Qaumy Party (DQP) MP Riyaz Rasheed condemned the resolution and said he had lost one night’s sleep due to it.

”We have the right to claim whoever presented this bill on judgment day,” he said. ”This resolution takes away all our rights,”

Peoples Alliances MP Abdul Azeez Jamaal Abu Bakur said he believed he supported the purpose of the resolution, which was to form a standard of conduct.

”To make good use of our minds means maintaining our discipline,” he said, ”or else we are falling into the category of wild animals.”

Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Abdulla Mausoom said he was concerned about the resolution and said he had also lost sleep over it.

”I believe it’s important to pass this resolution,” he said, ”but with some amendments.”

MDP MP Alhan Fahmy said that the resolution should not be brought to the floor.

”It is not a must for us to do as the America’s specific house or how India’s specific place does,” he said. “The people have elected people who have reached the level of conduct they expect in the parliament.”

DRP MP and Vice President Ilham Ahmed said that it was necessary to form a standard of conduct.

”We have witnessed scenes when some people unplugged the microphones in committee room and broke the glass of the name notice board,” he said. ”And it’s embarrassing to say we have also witnessed a scene when an MP pull down his zip.”

He said that to avoid repeat performances, the standard of conduct was necessary.


Umar Naseer claims MDP influencing internal DRP politics

Former president of the Islamic Democratic Party (IDP) and candidate for the DRP vice presidency, Umar Naseer, has claimed he is being targeted by an amendment presented to the party insisting candidates seeking elections to senior positions must have been a member for at least six months.

”It must be someone related to MDP who is trying to stop me from becoming the vice president of DRP,” Umar claimed.

He said that the MDP “was afraid that if I become the vice president of the party the government might fall”, and said the ruling party was “planning many things” to stop him from becoming the DRP’s vice president.

DRP MP Ahmed Mausoom said the amendments would only be announced on the 16 and 17 of February, adding that he did not know who had presented the amendment.

DRP MP Ali Waheed, who is also contesting for the party’s vice presidency, said he had not yet gone through the amendments and could not comment on them yet. He said he gave the eight candidates running for the post of vice president his “best wishes”.

Spokesman for MDP Ahmed Haleem said that the MDP “does not consider Umar Naseer a political figure”, and added that the party was looking forward to a time when DRP “strengthens its inner democracy and leadership to become a strong opposition party.”