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Bill to ban Israeli passport remains shelved at the committee stage: MDP

MDP has raised concerns on the bill proposing a ban over entry of Israeli passport holders into the country being shelved at the committee stage. MDP said the bill remains shelved despite the parliament proceeding its affairs at an expedited pace

Aishath Shuba Solih
10 July 2024, MVT 11:34
During the press conference held by the MDP Parliamentary Group yesterday.
Aishath Shuba Solih
10 July 2024, MVT 11:34

Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has directed the parliament with criticism over the stalled work of the bill submitted by MDP to amend the Immigration act to ban entry of Israeli national into Maldives.

MP of Vaikaradhoo Constituency, Hussain Ziyad said yesterday at a press conference held by the MDP Parliamentary Group that although the 20th parliament concludes its affairs at an expedited pace unlike previous legislatives, the bill proposing amendments to the Immigration Act remains shelved.

"A bill submitted today has been passed and sent to the committee. Only one bill remains shelved at the parliament. That is the amendment to the Immigration Act. The amendment still remains at the respective committee; not a single meeting was held," said Ziyad.

"Instead, we saw the committee call for two meetings within one hour to sign the SAMOA agreement. It was finished on the very same day after holding two committees."

Ziyad had stressed the need to reach a decision on the bill after proceeding debates at the committee. He further highlighted that parliamentarians of the ruling party had refrained from partaking in a debate after the bill was lodged in order to expedite its progression.

This bill was submitted by the MDP MP of South Galolhu Constituency, Meekail Naseem. The bill expressly proposes the ban of all Israeli passport holders regardless of their citizenship status with another country, and states that this is a measure taken against the genocide of the Palestinian people by Israel.

President Dr Mohamed Muizzu had also decided to enforce necessary amendments to the country's law in order to ban Israeli nationals from entering the country after the bill in question was already lodged at the parliament. However some note that banning Israeli passports can be implemented through a presidential decree considering there are no laws that prohibit it. The preceding 19th parliament had also passed a resolution calling for this initiative, which was sent to the President's Office.

Ruling People's National Congress (PNC)'s parliamentary group leader MP Ibrahim Falah had assured that they will endorse the bill proposing a ban over entry of Israeli passport holders into the country regardless of it being submitted by the opposition.

Attorney General Ahmed Usham had further highlighted that amendments sought by the State can be proceeded at the committee even if a new bill is not submitted.

Meanwhile, Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Ahmed Nazim had earlier emphasized the importance of a parliament committee conducting a full assessment on the effects that banning Israel passports would have on the Maldives. He said that even now there are individuals who have made bookings to visit the Maldives, and that cancellation of these bookings would be a matter of high concern for resorts.

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