Speaker Nasheed's displeasure to answers by Ministers, a habitual occurrence

Speaker Mohamed Nasheed. (Photo/Parliament)

Speaker of the Parliament Mohamed Nasheed has made it into a habit of responding to statements of answers provided by Ministers in the Parliament if the Speaker is not content with the answer.

Housing and Planning Minister Mohamed Aslam was summoned to the parliament for questioning today. 

Speaker Nasheed criticized the answers provided by the Minister to questions posed by North Maafannu MP Imthiyaz Fahmy regarding the publicizing of the Gulhifalhu plan.

MP Imthiyaz asked when the plan for Gulhifalhu can be presented to the public and how many housing units can be constructed in the location. 

Speaker Nasheed then asked the Minister a different question from what the MP asked. 

“The honorable North Maafannu MP is asking whether residents of Male’ would be granted land from Gulhifalhu?” said Nasheed. 

It has become a pattern inside the parliament whereby the Speaker intervenes in questions between MPs and Ministers. However, this is not permitted in parliament regulations. The regulations state that the Speaker is not allowed to take part in debates inside the parliament. 

After noting that there was a draft plan for Gulhifalhu, the Minister was interrupted by the Speaker who noted that it was a huge issue for residents of Male’ City. The question of MP Imthiyaz was repeated sternly, to receive an answer that the public were very much looking forward to. 

“Honorable Speaker, I was first asked to respond to a question regarding the plan. A draft of the plan has been prepared. From there, 1200 land is cut.” Said the Minister who was once again interrupted by the Speaker. 

Nasheed said that the existence of a plan meant that it would be available on the gazette, which if not, was a draft, shortly after the Minister noted that a draft plan existed. 

“I am stating here how it is officially.” Said the Minister. 

Upon this point, MP for Maradhoo Ibrahim Shareef’s anger “boiled over” and raised a point of order to speak on the events.

“What I am saying is that we are not clear on the policy and what is happening regarding the statements of the Speaker when Ministers attend the parliament and answer questions. Sometimes, we are led to believe that the Minister is being untruthful.” Said Shareef.

Nasheed had responded to a statement issued by the Health Ministry after former health officials of the country expressed discontent over the operations of the Ministry during a time when the health sector of the country was deteriorating.

Speaker Nasheed had said that state institutions should not meddle in the affairs of the parliament after stating that it seemed that the Ministry was instructing how the parliament should run. 

“I would like to earnestly say to the Ministry, its staff and the Minister, not disrupt the constitutional system of the Maldives and not to meddle with the affairs of the parliament by issuing such statements.” Said Nasheed. 

The statement of the Ministry was to express the stand of the Ministry on the matter and statements made by the former health officials.