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Parliament approves legal changes for registering small plots of land



The parliament today approved amendments  to the land law to allow registration of plots of land smaller than 600 square feet.

The amendment bill submitted by Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MP Riyaz Rasheed was passed unanimously with 60 votes in favour.

Under the current law, plots of land smaller than 600 feet cannot be registered as a separate home.

Presenting the legislation to the parliament in June, Riyaz observed that in cases where children inherit a small parcel of land upon division of a parent’s property, the new owners were unable to obtain loans or mortgage the property as it was not registered under their names.

During the preliminary debate on the amendments, most MPs favoured the proposed changes, noting that the problem was especially acute in the congested capital.

Legislation on the Maldives telecommunications authority submitted on behalf of the government by PPM MP Mohamed Ameeth was meanwhile sent to committee for further review following a preliminary debate at today’s sitting. The bill was accepted for consideration with 58 votes in favour.

Ameeth said today that the proposed law aims to ensure that telecommunication services are affordable and in line with international standards. The bill specifies procedures for issuing licenses and sets criteria for service providers.

The ruling party MP said the bill also includes provisions both to prevent monopolisation of telecommunication services and encourage competition.

During the debate, some MPs accused Dhiraagu of “sucking the blood” of the Maldivian people as the sole telco in the country. The price of services only fell with the arrival of Wataniya, now Ooreedoo Maldives, in 2005, MPs said.

Dhiraagu was established in 1988 as a joint venture company formed by the government and UK-based Cable & Wireless, which has since sold its majority stake to Bahrain-based Batelco.