Three ministers accused of violating law

Combined file photos of (from L-R) Economic Minister Mohamed Saeed, Higher Education Minister Dr. Mariyam Mariya, and Home Minister Ali Ihusan.

A lawmaker from the MDP submitted a motion on Tuesday accusing three cabinet ministers of violating the constitution.

The motion submitted by Thulhaadhoo MP Hisan Hussain accuses the three ministers of failure to adhere to the Employment Act, and acting in violation of it.

They are:

  • Home Minister Ali Ihusan
  • Economic Minister Mohamed Saeed
  • Higher Education Minister Dr. Mariyam Mariya

Hisan said that while issuing quotas and approval for recruitment of expatriates, and planning and implementing matters related to it falls within the mandate of the Home Ministry, the administration has declared that formulating the regulations needed to enforce the Employment Act falls within the mandate of the Higher Education Ministry.

Hisan argued in her motion that a responsibility charged under the law cannot be split between two different ministries, and that a power vested in a ministry charged with regulating employment related matters cannot be handed over to a different ministry or minister.

Thulhaadhoo MP Hisaan Hussain. (Photo/People's Majlis)

She said that the Home Ministry does not have the authority to formulate the regulations.

Hisan also said that while the Employment Act caps the recruitment of labor from any single country at 100,000 laborers. The administration lifted the ban on recruitment of unskilled labor from Bangladesh in December despite the fact that there were already 139,220 Bangladeshi workers in Maldives.

She alleged that the Economic Ministry had bad intentions in removing the statistics on expatriates from its website after the issue surfaced.

Mariya was accused of violating the law by handing over a responsibility within her ministry’s mandate to another ministry, Ihusan was accused of violating the law by granting permission for approval of unskilled labor from Bangladesh, and Saeed was accused of violating the law by removing the statistics from his ministry’s website.

During the debate on the motion, lawmakers from the opposition MDP and Democrats demanded that the motion be sent to a committee for an inquiry.

Ihusan has previously stated that the government decided to lift the ban because the number of Bangladeshi workers had fallen to 90,000, while Saeed had promised to investigate the removal of statistics.

The motion comes after the Parliament rejected three out of 22 members of President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu’s cabinet last week. They are:

  • Housing Minister Dr. Ali Haidar Ahmed
  • Islamic Minister Dr. Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed
  • Attorney General Ahmed Usham

The MDP had passed a three-line red whip the day before to reject the three ministers, as well as Economic Minister Saeed. Saeed narrowly survived the vote.

But within hours of the vote, Usham, Haidar and Shaheem were reappointed to the cabinet.