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Speaker: Supreme Court cannot dictate how Parliament is run

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Not even the Supreme Court has the authority to dictate how the Parliament is run, said Speaker Mohamed Aslam on Sunday, three days after the top court ordered the suspension of a controversial amendment to the legislative body’s standing orders.

The amendment in questioned lowered the votes required to impeach the president and vice president – granting opposition lawmakers the power to impeach President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu, if they wish.

The Attorney General’s Office filed a case with the Supreme Court over the amendment on January 28.

On February 8, the court issued an injunction suspending the amendment until it makes a final ruling.

Opening Sunday’s sitting, Aslam – who served as the main opposition MDP’s top lawmaker before he was elected as Speaker in December – said that despite the temporary order, the Supreme Court has not established whether the amendment is unconstitutional.

Aslam said that he found it concerning, and opened the floor for a one-hour debate for lawmakers to discuss a course of action.

“I also announce that in adherence to the court order, the total number of parliamentarians will be counted as 87, until determined otherwise,” he added.

Aslam said that it will be the Parliament itself that dictates how it should function.

The constitution is clear that this is a power vested in the Parliament, he said.

“I therefore do not believe that any other institute or power of the state has the authority to dictate how the Parliament is run. It will be decided by the honorable members of this Parliament,” he said.

He said that the total number of parliamentarians will be counted as 87, until the parliamentarians determine otherwise.

He said a decision will be made before the sitting proceeds.

The constitution declares that an impeachment motion against the president or vice president requires the vote of two-thirds of the Parliament.

Seven lawmakers resigned from the Parliament in November, to assume top positions in President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu’s administration. But the Elections Commission decided against holding by-elections, so close to the parliamentary elections.

Taking advantage of the situation, the MDP – which holds a majority in the Parliament – amended the Parliament’s standing orders so that vacated seats aren’t counted when determining the total number of MPs.

Therefore, the Parliament currently requires 54 votes to impeach President Muizzu, instead of the previous 58, as according to the amendment to the standing orders, the total number of MPs is now 80, instead of 87.

The MDP and its ally Democrats have 56 MPs between them; 43 MPs from MDP, and 13 from Democrats.

They therefore have the power to impeach the president, if they wish.

The MDP has warned they plan on filing a motion to impeach President Muizzu before the current term ends in May.

Source(s): sun.mv

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China: Will advance cooperation with Maldives while respecting its sovereignty

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Bater, Vice Chairman of the 14th Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) the political advisory board in the People’s Republic of China, has affirmed that Chinese government will respect and support Maldives’ sovereignty while advancing cooperation between the two nations.

Bater, who is an official visit to the Maldives, paid a courtesy call on President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu Thursday morning at the President’s Office.

During the meeting, Bater conveyed warm greetings from Chinese President and congratulated President Muizzu on ruling PNC’s victorious supermajority in the parliamentary elections.

He also spoke regarding the historic relations between Maldives and China, and in this trajectory, reiterated that the Chinese government respects and supports the Maldives’ sovereignty and promotes mutual respect while advancing cooperation between the two nations.

Bater said President Xi’s state visit to the Maldives in 2014 and President Muizzu’s recent state visit to China have significantly contributed to the advancement of cooperation and friendly relations between the two countries.

Speaking at the meeting, President Muizzu emphasized the cordial relationship between the Maldives and China and expressed looking forward to strengthening the friendly relations between the two countries.

Referring to his state visit to China, the President also extended gratitude for the opportunity.

President Muizzu and Beter concluded the meeting by expressing their eagerness to work closely on future collaborations.

Bater arrived in the Maldives on a three-day official visit on Tuesday evening.

He was appointed vice chairperson of CPPCC in 2018, and also serves as a member of Central Committee of ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

CPPCC, comprising of delegates from CCP and its people’s organizations, political parties and independent members, advises and puts proposals for political and social issues to government bodies. It, however, lacks any real legislative power.

Source(s): sun.mv

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Minister Shiyam: MIFCO lacks capacity to purchase yellowfin tuna this year

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Fisheries Minister Ahmed Shiyam, on Wednesday, said the state’s fisheries company, MIFCO, lacks the capacity to purchase yellowfin tuna from yellowfin tuna fishermen this year.

Local fishermen staged a protest at sea on Wednesday over the delays in the disbursement of payment for the fish purchased from them. The protest, organized by the Bodu Kanneli Masveringe Union (BKMU) – a trade Union of yellowfin tuna fishermen – initially began at Hulhumale’ jetty and later moved to Male’ lagoon.

Minister Shiyam visited the protest site and addressed the fishermen during which he said MIFCO currently lacks the capacity to purchase yellowfin tuna from yellowfin tuna fishermen. Nevertheless, he affirmed the administration’s commitment to purchase yellowfin tuna as pledged by President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu.

“We are undertaking efforts to strengthen MIFCO, and we will get it done,” he added.

Speaking further, Minister Shiyam underscored the President’s wishes to fulfill his electoral pledges in the early years of his electoral term.

“Please know that in these seven months, we have been faring through serious financial difficulties. Nevertheless, we are working,” he stressed.

The Minister also noted that the government wishes to proceed with matters following consultations with stakeholders.

He also addressed one of the biggest concerns of fishermen at present; the government’s plans to allow commercial longline fishing.

He assured that commercial longline fishing will not be allowed as it had been practiced previously in the Maldives, adding the plans will be implemented in a manner that the interests of the yellowfin tuna fishermen, who will strongly be impacted by longline fishing, are protected.

At Wednesday’s protest, participants demanded the government drop its plans to allow commercial longline fishing. They also demanded that MIFCO begin purchasing yellowfin tuna as pledged by the government and the disbursement of payment for pending dues to fishermen.

Source(s): sun.mv

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Over MVR 10 million raised for Palestine as nationwide telethon concludes

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The nationwide telethon, conducted under the slogan “Falastheenaa Eku Dhivehin,” which translates to “Maldivians in Solidarity with Palestine,” by the Public Service Media (PSM), in partnership with local media has concluded.

Over MVR 10 million was raised for Palestinians with donations from various parties, alongside over USD 31,000.

As part of the telethon, donation boxes have been placed in 13 locations across the Maldivian capital, Male’ City.

The telethon was conducted under the direct instruction of President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu who launched the event on Wednesday morning. President Muizzu and First Lady Sajidha Ahmed made donations during the launching ceremony.

The ceremony was also attended by senior government officials including cabinet ministers.

Notable donations made during the telethon included MVR 2.1 million from Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF), MVR 500,000 from STELCO and MVR 300,000 from STO. Donations were also made by various other government ministries, institutions, companies and private individuals. A local family, ‘Nooran Family’ also donated MVR 50,000.

Israel’s current war on Gaza, which began on October 7, 2023, has killed more than 37,000 Palestinians, many of them women and children. It has also reduced much of the Palestinian territory to rubble, displaced the vast majority of residents, and resulted in widespread malnutrition.

Source(s): sun.mv

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