AG: Passage of Israel passport ban bill verbatim could pose complications

Attorney General Ahmed Usham. (Photo/Attorney General's Office)

Attorney General Ahmed Usham, underscoring the passage of bill that has been submitted to the parliament proposing amendments Immigration Act to ban Israeli passport holders from entering the Maldives verbatim pose complications, states the government will propose amendments to the bill.

Ruling PNC backed the bill submitted by opposition MDP’s South Galolhu MP Ahmed Meekail Naseem and voted in favor of accepting the bill on Monday’s sitting following which it has been forwarded to the National Security Services Committee (241 Committee) for review.

The government has come under intense scrutiny over the delays in the passage of the bill.

Responding to a question by a journalist during a press conference held by the Attorney General’s Office on Thursday to publicize the government’s legislative agenda – AG Usham underscored the possibility of certain complications if the Israeli passport ban bill is passed verbatim. Henceforth, he said amendments will be submitted in his capacity as the Attorney General following discussions with the Committee.

He also responded to another question from the journalist, stating Israeli passport cannot be banned through a presidential decree, adding it is not a power bestowed upon the president by the constitution.  

“I don’t know who exactly said this, that it was a power bestowed upon the president by the constitution. The president is not bestowed such a power by the constitution. This can only be achieved by amending the law,” he said.

The bill submitted by MP Meekail proposes to add a provision to Article 8 of the Immigration Act, which lists individuals who are barred from entering the Maldives.

If it passes the final vote, the legislature will bar the entry of all Israeli passport holders, including those who have dual citizenship.

During the debate on whether to accept the bill, Deputy Speaker Nazim called for a more cautious approach.

He said the Parliament must consider potential economic and national security repercussions when changing the country’s laws.

Qasim, the leader of Jumhoory Party (JP), also urged caution.

Qasim said the Maldives shouldn’t ban Israeli passports without giving it “thorough consideration”, and suggested the MDP hadn’t given it proper thought before submitting the bill.

The war in Gaza erupted after Hamas's October 7 attack, which resulted in the deaths of more than 1,170 Israelis. Israel's retaliatory offensive has killed at least 37,000 people in Gaza, mostly women and children.