‘No’ vote for financial assistance to displaced workers stranded in Male’

Parliamentarians pictured during a sitting. (Photo/People's Majlis)

Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) deputy leader Ahmed Shiyam’s revision designed to have the government cover the expenses of workers who have been laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic and left stranded in Male’ unable to return to their home islands due to the lockdown on the capital, has failed to secure the necessary votes.

Naifaru MP Shiyam had proposed the revision to a report compiled by the Parliament’s Human Rights and Gender Committee regarding the measures taken by the government to mitigate the socioeconomic impact of the pandemic.

Shiyam proposed two revisions to the report; one was to cover the expenses of displaced and stranded workers in Male’, and the second was to introduce a ‘COVID-19 risk allowance’ for frontline workers.

The Parliament took a vote on the revisions during the virtual parliamentary session on Tuesday afternoon.

Neither of the revisions passed.

12 parliamentarians voted in favor of the revisions, while 40 voted against.

The committee report was passed without revisions.

The committee’s report focuses on protection of human rights and the rights of women and children in mitigating the impact of the pandemic.

The committee, in its report, instructs the government to make arrangements to ensure the safety and protection of children whose parents or guardians test positive for COVID-19, leaving them without a suitable caretaker.

It also instructs isolation facilities to make special arrangements to care for children who test positive for COVID-19 and are placed in such facilities, in the event that their parents or guardians are rendered unable to care for them.

The committee found that institutions had failed to properly address the issues facing women who had been laid off due to the pandemic.

The committee wrote in its report that many women had lost their livelihoods due to the pandemic; both the women who were employed by private sector companies which had either laid off workers or forced workers into no-pay leave, and the women who were self-employed who are now unable to conduct their business.

“As such, given that some of these women pay rent, this loss in income sources has rendered them unable to pay rent or fulfill other essential needs,” said the committee in its report.