The sunset legislature to empower two presidential commission has been withdrawn from the Parliament’s voting agenda following determination by Speaker of Parliament, Qasim Ibrahim that the report on the legislature presented to the Parliament floor is not based on the decision passed by the committee which evaluated it.
The Presidential Commissions Bill – designed to empower Commission for Investigation on Murders and Enforced Disappearances and the Commission on Corruption and Asset Recovery – was tabled for voting at the Parliament for the fourth time this Wednesday afternoon.
All previous attempts to pass the legislature failed due to lack of quorum.
Qasim, during the Parliament sitting this Wednesday afternoon announced he had received a petition signed by six members of the Independent Institutions Committee who warn the report on the legislature presented to the Parliament vote is not the report passed by the committee.
“…Saying the committee report is not as was passed by the committee. I therefore remove it from the agenda for today as it cannot be proceeded with until this Parliament completes an investigation into what happened,” announced Qasim.
He said the legislature will be included in the agenda following a thorough investigation.
The announcement by Qasim was met by protest from Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) lawmakers who had submitted the legislature to the Parliament on behalf of the Maldivian administration.
The committee had completed its evaluation of the legislature in December, 2018. But the legislature had remained unapproved despite multiple attempts to call it to vote.
Speaking during the debate at the Parliament this Wednesday morning, JP lawmaker and Vilufushi MP Riyaz Rasheed called the legislature unconstitutional.
“I have previously also said the Bill to empower [presidential commissions] has clauses which clash with the Constitution. And I say this again today. I have brought it to the attention of the Speaker the evaluation by Independent Institutions Committee wasn’t right, and that [the Bill] came here [to the Parliament floor] different from what was passed by the committee. Because I am a lawmaker from JP – which is part of this coalition – I refrained from saying this more freely. Because other lawmakers, too, are aware of this,” said Riyaz.
The legislature is also strongly objected to by opposition parties – Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and People’s National Congress (PNC).
They too argue the legislature is unconstitutional, and allege it is designed to arrest and detain opposition politicians ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections.
President’s Spokesperson reports that President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih is deeply concerned by the delay in approving the legislature despite the government coalition enjoying majority at the Parliament.
POWERS TO PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSIONS: