Majlis committee resumes work after threatening strike

Majlis committee resumes work after threatening strike
October 13 13:00 2015

A ruling-party-dominated parliamentary committee resumed work a day after threatening a strike over fears of security for parliamentarians, following an apparent assassination attempt on President Abdulla Yameen.

The general affairs committee, a standing committee that makes rules on the day-to-day running of the People’s Majlis, passed a motion yesterday calling on Speaker Abdulla Maseeh to set bodyguards for all 85 MPs.

Proposing the motion yesterday, MP Ahmed Rasheed of the ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) expressed concern over security risks for parliamentarians in the current environment.

Supporting the resolution, MP Abdul Raheem Abdulla said MPs become targets in time of political instability. He alleged discriminatory treatment for MPs, noting the army provides security to cabinet ministers and state ministers.

The committee, however, resumed work at 11:15 this morning.

PPM MP Ali Arif, who chairs the committee said: “We resumed work because the Speaker responded favorably to our motion.”

He declined to reveal details.

Hours after motion passed, Yameen met with all MPs of the ruling coalition and its former partner Jumhooree Party. He urged MPs to refrain from any actions that may destabilise the country, according to an MP present at the meeting.

The president is said to have expressed “500 percent confidence” in his Vice President, Ahmed Adeeb, and briefed MPs of the investigation into the September 28 explosion on board his speedboat.

He reportedly warned MPs to be wary of attempts by the opposition to exploit the situation.

Yameen escaped unhurt from the blast, but the First Lady Fathimath Ibrahim remains hospitalised.

Three soldiers were arrested last week. Two of Vice President Ahmed Adeeb’s bodyguards have also been suspended.

A study conducted by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) last year singled out Maldives as having submitted the most number of complaints by MPs of human rights abuses. These include assault and arbitrary detention.

In October 2012, PPM MP Dr Afrasheem Ali was murdered. In February 2014, former MDP MP Alhan Fahmy was stabbed.

The general affairs committee consists of 5 PPM MPs, 3 MDP MPs, 2 JP MPs, and one MP from the Maldives Development Alliance.

Correction: October 17, 2015: This article previously said two soldiers and an immigration official were arrested in connection to the boat blast. This is incorrect. All three arrested over the explosion are MNDF officers. An immigration official was never arrested in this case.