Speaker of the Maldivian Parliament and former President Mohamed Nasheed has spoken out about various issues faced by the nation in a question and answer session program named “Ask Speaker” held last night.
Nasheed during the session last night spoke on issues such as the system of governance in the Maldives as well as the Addu Flying School (Asian Academy of Aeronautics) as well as the accountability of the government.
The parliament still had a lot of work to be done to hold the government accountable, according to Nasheed who said, “The parliament has to be aware of the work of the government. The parliament has to take the initiative in obtaining information related to the work of the government before the government conveys the information.”
Nasheed said that the parliament would not know to question the government if it did not have inside information of the government. He added that one such instance was that the parliament needed to be aware of the planned COVID-19 vaccination work of the government as it goes on.
Nasheed also said that the practice of imprisoning former Presidents once they are removed from the power needed to be stopped.
He maintained that even if it was an ex-president if they had committed a crime, they should be given the necessary punishment. Nasheed said that he was fully behind this.
“However, it is difficult when those who have governed the nation are treated with cruelty. My heart does not say that most Maldivians view it as a good practice. Even if am against that person.” Said Nasheed who pointed to the Constitution which stipulates how ex-presidents should be treated.
Nasheed’s statements are seemingly associated with former President Abdulla Yameen who is in prison after being found guilty of money laundering. Nasheed even said that he felt remorse over the situation with Yameen.
He said that former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom had operated in an authoritarian autocratic manner that frightened the citizens during his 30 years in office. He then noted that after taking over from Maumoon, he had not attempted to imprison Maumoon.
He then went on to state that he had been the subject to imprisonment during the tenure of former President Dr. Waheed Hussain Manik who had taken over the Presidency after the February 7, 2012 chaos. Nasheed even said that Yameen had attempted to imprison after coming to power after Dr. Waheed.
“My point is that as long as this keeps on going, it cannot be stopped. I wish for it to end.” Said Nasheed.
Nasheed had recently said that he prayed Yameen would be set free by lightening the sentence.
Speaker Nasheed, a vocal supporter of a parliamentary system of governance in the nation also said last night that he would hold discussions with President Ibrahim Solih Solih regarding the system of governance.
Currently, the Maldives has a presidential system of governance decided by a 2008 referendum. However, Nasheed is a stern critic of this and maintains that the country is best suited for a parliamentary system.
“I always believe that for the Maldives or any other nation, that a parliamentary system is not just the best suited but the only system.” Said Nasheed last night.
He said that the Maldives only accepted a presidential system as of recently. Speaking on the timing for such a change of system in response to a question, Nasheed said, “Whether it is 2023 or a while before that, in my opinion, I will discuss this matter with the first person I discuss all political matters with. It has been long, he is the President of the Republic now. I will speak about it. We can decide on a positive outcome.” Said Nasheed who is a close friend and ally of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.
One of the most contentious issues in the nation currently, the alleged misconduct of the Asian Academy of Aeronautics towards its students was also brought up as an issue by a student who questioned the Speaker.
The school, run in Addu City, has been under fire for dismissing students unfairly, without heeding to the instructions of the Transport Ministry. Transport Minister Nahula had recently warned the school that action would be taken over the unfair dismissal of students and its misconduct.
A student of the school called the program to express his concerns to the Speaker which had come to no avail despite the posting of several letters to several institutions. He questioned why the Speaker has remained silent on the issue.
Nasheed, responded to the question very shortly, by saying that the parliament was a separate power of the state and that if a letter was sent regarding the matter to the parliament, it would be investigated.
Around 20 students are believed to have been dismissed by the school for not fulfilling the requirements of the school. However, the students allege that there are other reasons behind their dismissal.