MP Shiyam ejected from Parliament chambers over angry outburst

Naifaru MP Ahmed Shiyam. (File Photo/People's Majlis)

The main opposition party, Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM)’s deputy leader and Naifaru MP Ahmed Shiyam was ejected from the Parliament chambers on Wednesday for disruptive behavior.

During the parliamentary sitting Thursday morning, opposition MPs, including Shiyam and Maavah MP Mohamed Saeed, demanded that the government disclose the contents of a letter sent to Mauritius by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih regarding the territorial dispute over the waters between Maldives and Chagos Islands.

Shiyam continued to express his displeasure over the government’s refusal to disclose the contents of the letter, and interrupted other MPs as they tried to speak.

He continued to disrupt the sitting despite warnings by Speaker Mohamed Nasheed to abide by regulations.

He was later ejected from the Parliament chambers.

The territorial dispute between Maldives and Mauritius is over an area between the Maldives and Chagos Islands - a group of seven atolls comprising more than 60 islands in the Indian Ocean, about 500 kilometers south of the Maldives archipelago.

For decades, Mauritius and the United Kingdom have been in a dispute over ownership of the Chagos, after Mauritius claimed the Chagos archipelago as Mauritian territory when Mauritius gained independence from the UK in 1968. Maldives became involved in the dispute as the country's exclusive economic zone overlaps with that of Chagos.

Mauritius lodged the case with the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea on August 23, 2019.

The tribunal is set to make its decision on Friday.

Meanwhile, the letter in question was sent by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth on August 22, 2022, acknowledging Mauritius’ sovereign claim over Chagos.

The opposition filed an emergency motion over the letter earlier this week.

The opposition has demanded that the government explain the reason for the shift in their stand in the dispute, and accused them of making secretive deals with Mauritius.

Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid has called the claims by politicians regarding the Chagos dispute “misleading”. He said that President Solih did not promise anything in exchange for Maldives’ vote for the Chagos decolonization resolution in the UN General Assembly.