Parliament has passed legislature to arrange official residences for the Parliament Speaker and Chief Justice and their families in order to reinforce their security.
Of the three heads of the branches of the state, an official residence is provided only to the President.
The move to arrange official residences for the remaining two top state officials comes in the wake of an IED attack outside the residence of Speaker, former President Mohamed Nasheed on May 6, which left him severely wounded.
The government presented two bills to make the necessary changes; a bill to amend the Parliament’s Privileges and Powers Act and a bill to amend the Judges Act.
Both bills passed separately with the unanimous consensus of 56 parliamentarians during the parliamentary sitting on Monday afternoon.
Once the bills are enacted, it will be compulsory for the state to arrange official residences for the two top officials and their families, along with “an adequate number of staff and expenses for the residence”.
The Speaker’s residence will be staffed by the Parliament, while the Chief Justice’s residence will be staffed by the Supreme Court. The security will be arranged by Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF). Both bills state the residence must be suitable to implement necessary security measures.
One amendment was made to both the bills during the committee stage. The original bills defined “family” as spouse, children and parents. This was changed during the committee stage to specify that “children” mean children under the age of 18 years, and that if children are above the age of 18 years, they must be unmarried or be special needs persons.
The committee said they made the change to make it uniform to the definition of “children” on President’s Salary and Allowances Act.