Parliament sitting cancelled over loss of quorum

Today’s sitting of parliament was cancelled by Deputy Speaker Ahmed Nazim – presiding in the absence of Speaker Abdulla Shahid – after the minimum number of MPs to hold the session failed to attend when the sitting restarted at 11:00am.

Quorum was first lost an hour into the sitting, which began at 9:00am. The sitting was called off when quorum was not met after an adjournment of 30 minutes.

Before the cancellation, preliminary debate continued on a resolution submitted by Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Ahmed Sameer calling for an inquiry into the government obtaining a MVR 300 million loan from the Bank of the Maldives in alleged violation of the Public Finance Act.

Debate also took place on a bill proposed by Independent MP for Kulhudhufushi South Mohamed ‘Kutti’ Nasheed specifying guidelines on exercising the right to remain silent.

Several MPs contended that the bill contravened constitutional clauses on the rights of the accused. However, other MPs argued that the law was necessary to combat rising crime rates.

MP Nasheed meanwhile explained that the legislation specifies circumstances where the right to remain silent could not be exercised.

Meanwhile, Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MP Ahmed Mahloof said on his Twitter account that a number of people were unable to travel to Male’ after the Eid holidays due to bad weather.

“We are stuck in Mulah,” he tweeted. A PPM team including a number of MPs were in Meemu atoll ahead of Monday’s by-election for a vacant atoll council seat from the Mulaku constituency.

The PPM for Galolhu South urged the government to declare Tuesday a public holiday.


MPs clash on controversial committee allowance

MPs clashed yesterday on a resolution proposed by Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MP Ahmed Mahloof to scrap a controversial MVR 20,000-a-month committee allowance.

During a heated debate at Tuesday’s sitting of parliament, several MPs questioned the sincerity of the PPM MPs’ proposal, with some claiming that the Galolhu South MP had not attended committee meetings for the past five months.

Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Mohamed Thoriq noted that Mahloof was being paid MVR 500,000 by the state as pay for several months for which he did not do any work. Fellow MDP MP Mohamed Riyaz meanwhile noted that MPs who do not attend committee meetings would not be eligible for the allowance.

Presenting the resolution, MP Mahloof said he had not discussed the matter with the PPM parliamentary group before submitting the proposal.

PPM MP Abdul Raheem Abdulla said he could not support the resolution in its current form, claiming that he would support a proposal to cut the entire salary of MPs and force them to work pro bono.

He added that the 17th parliament was the most productive in Maldivian history as it had passed the most number of bills during the past three years.

Almost all of the 12 MPs who spoke during the debate opposed the resolution. However, a consensus developed around creating a Pay Commission to streamline the state’s pay scale or structure.