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Parliament accepts whistleblower protection law

42 MPs voted to send the bill to committee for further review.



A whistleblower protection law proposed by the government was accepted for consideration Monday despite objections from opposition lawmakers.

Some 42 MPs voted to send the bill to committee for further review.

Submitted on behalf of the new administration by MP Eva Abdulla from the Maldivian Democratic Party, the bill and proposes a jail term or house arrest up to five years for officials who take action against whistleblowers.

Aside from threats and intimidation, whistleblowers would also be protected from being sacked, demoted or relieved of duties. The bill also covers reduction of allowances or working hours and being placed on probation and criminalises disclosing the identity of whistleblowers.

Whistleblowers would be offered immunity from facing criminal prosecution or civil lawsuits.

During the debate on the bill, opposition Progressive Party of Maldives MP Abdul Raheem Abdulla accused the government of seeking to arrest former president Abdulla Yameen and other PPM leaders.

In 2016, a former Bank of Maldives official was handed an eight-month jail sentence for leaking documents that revealed how millions of dollars stolen from public coffers was funnelled by a private company.