The Edition
facebook icon twitter icon instagram icon linkedin icon


Statistical breakdown: Agenda 19 proved no different

This is a translation of a Dhivehi report written by Moosa Rasheed of Mihaaru News. Moosa writes a statistical breakdown and factual observations of work proceeded during the 19th Parliament in this article.

Aishath Shuba Solih
21 May 2024, MVT 07:00
During a session of the 19th parliamentary term.
Aishath Shuba Solih
21 May 2024, MVT 07:00

“Agenda 19 will be different.”

Five years ago, current opposition, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) had vehemently advocated an end to a rubber stamp legislature. They had promoted separation of powers, independence of the judiciary, and to advocate for the people and find solutions for major issues.

To demonstrate this difference, the people gave MDP overwhelming support, with it being the first single party to hold the largest parliament majority since the implementation of the new Constitution; a majority that held the power to alter the constitution itself to produce a vital difference. The people had consequently elected MDP members for 65 of the 80 seats in the parliament.

Retaining this majority until the end of the term, Speaker of Parliament Mohamed Aslam — in wrapping up the final session of the 19th parliament — had stated that the 19th Parliament is the legislative that had completed the highest amount of work in the long span of parliamentary history in the country.

Parliamentarian of the North Hithadhoo Constituency, Mohamed Aslam who also served as Speaker of Parliament during the 19th parliamentary term

“I want to highlight with joy and great pride that since the inception of the parliament in 1932, during the 92-year period that passed, this 19th Parliament is becoming the legislature that has done the most work in the parliament,” said Aslam.

He had yielded statistical data to back his statement as well.

Sharing that 530 sittings were held during the past five years, which accumulated a total of 1,461 hours, Aslam declared that additionally, the members had spent 4,434 hours in 3784 committee meetings.

Aslam further revealed that during this time, 178 bills, 73 resolutions and 152 motions were proposed to the parliament alongside 104 motions lodged by the Speaker, 108 emergency motions, 48 motions submitted by parliamentarians, and 153 reports. He had also emphasized that 384 questions were posed to various cabinet Ministers amid this term as well.

Aslam maintains that the 19th parliament had fostered record breaking results during their term – a conviction he had solidified with statistical evidence. That the promised difference had been delivered.

However, when taking into account the work of separate parliamentarians, and when observing the overall work of the Parliament, it is a different picture that emerges.

The reality that is kept hidden

Although all lawmakers of the 19th term had actively engaged in debates inside the chambers and took part in numerous tasks of their mandate such as posing questions to Ministers, there remained six members who had not submitted any motions under their own initiative, lodged no requests to pose a question to a Minister of the Cabinet nor sponsored any bills.

These six lawmakers are the parliamentarian of the South Maafannu seat, Adam Ali, MP for the Hanimaadhoo Constituency, Abdul Ghafoor Moosa, parliamentarian of the Eydhafushi seat, Ahmed Saleem, the Guraidhoo seat holder, Ibrahim Shaaz, parliamentarian of the Meedhoo Constituency, Ahmed Siyam Mohamed and the MP for Isdhoo Constituency, Ali Hameed.

MPs who did not initiate any work in parliament.

Excluding the acclaimed businessmen, Siyam, Ghafoor and Saleem included in this listing, no other members were elected for a second term.

Meanwhile, 38 members remain in the recently dissolved legislature who had failed to submit a minimum of five proposals of their own initiative to the parliament. This number is inclusive of members who sponsored a single bill in their five-year term as a lawmaker as well as parliamentarians who had solely lodged a single resolution to the parliament in the course of the term.

Members who conducted the least work during the 19th Parliament.

In light of the information available on the parliament website on proposed works by individual parliamentarians, the 19th term consisted of six members who lacked any work proposed to the parliament, four members who lodged a single proposal, seven members who only initiated two tasks, ten members who submitted three proposals and eleven members who submitted four proposals.

Moreover, the parliament also housed fourteen members who had not undertaken any task beyond sponsoring proposed bills from the President's Office. In addition to lacking a single bill lodged through their own initiative, these members had neither posed a question to a Minister nor raised a motion pertaining constituent concerns during their five-year term.

Members of the 19th parliament who performed no work beyond submitting government sponsored bills during the five year term.

Nevertheless, the members had notably engaged in parliamentary debates and seized opportunities through questions raised by other parliamentarians while also having performing tasks linked to committee procedures.

Members who excelled in their work

Some lawmakers of the 19th Parliament had posed numerous questions to the government on behalf of their constituents, in addition to drafting and proposing their own bills to the parliament. Members had also lodged emergency motions and resolutions concerning dire issues affecting the country and addressed multiple public concerns through numerous work.

Members of the 19th parliament who performed the most work during the five-year term.

Within parliamentarians of the recently concluded term who effectively and productively utilized their mandate, eight members had particularly stood out from the rest of the legislators. Each of these lawmakers had personally proposed and advanced over fifteen motions within the parliament chambers.

These eight remarkable members were:

1. Parliamentarian of the North Galolhu Constituency, Eva Abdulla

2. Parliamentarian of the Central Maafannu Constituency, Ibrahim Rasheed

3. Parliamentarian of the Hoarafushi Constituency, Ahmed Saleem

4. Parliamentarian of the Nolhivaram Constituency, Mohamed Nasheed Abdulla

5. Parliamentarian of the Kaashidhoo Constituency, Abdulla Jabir

6. Parliamentarian of the Thoddoo Constituency, Hassan Shiyan

7. Parliamentarian of the Thimarafushi Constituency, Abdulla Riyaz

8. Parliamentarian of the Ungoofaaru Constituency, Mohamed Waheed

Members of the 19th parliament who posed the most questions to the Ministers.

While these eight members had made notable contributions during their term as legislators, the numbers reflect that Jabir and Riyaz had initiated the most tasks in the parliament amongst these eight. Meanwhile, Rasheed had posed 53 question to state Ministers amid this term while Riyaz had posed 37 questions. Additionally, Jabir, MP of the Kaashidhoo Constituency had submitted 18 emergency motions to the parliament and posed 13 questions to Cabinet Ministers.

One third of the legislature had switched parties

Another peculiar scene observed during this parliamentary term was the switching of political parties by a vast number of parliamentarians. Ending the act of floor crossing which brings about the possibility of bribery was a pledge sworn by the members of MDP under the Agenda 19 manifesto.

Displayed this term was a scene that contradicts this vow; members of the chambers shifting their loyalties over to other parties during each instance the political industry is intruded with a fluctuation. When the 19th parliamentary term saw its conclusion, 32 of the 80 members had repositioned their political loyalties.

Nearly half of the floor crossing this term was attributed to the dispute that emerged between Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, then President, and former President, Mohamed Nasheed. This clash had influenced fourteen members of the party to cross over to the newly incepted Democrats, a splintered faction of MDP formed ahead of the presidential election following this inter-party dissent. The parliamentarian of the North Kulhuduffushi Constitution, Yasir Abdul Latheef who had initially shifted to the Democrats had returned to MDP after a brief time with the breakaway party.

Floor crossing by MPs during the 19th Parliament.

Additional floor crossings that arose this term involves a parliamentarian of the Jumhooree Party, two lawmakers elected independently and another MDP member, who all signed into the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) ahead of the presidential elections.

Once the results of the presidential polls pivoted in favor of President Dr Mohamed Muizzu, 14 members of MDP, a member of Jumhooree party and an independently elected parliamentarian had all officially shifted their political loyalties to the current ruling party, People's National Congress (PNC).

Approaching the end of their administration, MDP settled on a decision to legislate an Anti-Defection law owing to the severe damage they had incurred amidst the scores of floor crossing during the term. However, a suitable solution to the issue remains lacking despite – and ascribed to – a law enacted on the concern in place of amending the constitution.

Key works remained untouched

All power of the recently dissolved 19th parliamentary term was held by MDP. Despite divisions across the party following inter-party disputes, the government had retained their majority within the parliament. The legislative held all abilities to fulfil the pledges made by the government and the MDP leadership up until the very point of its conclusion.

Although key procedures were exercised in utilization of this majority, most vows sold to the people under Agenda 19 remains on the manifesto paper pending actualization till date.

One of the biggest pledges made by the government is liberating the judiciary and reforming the composition of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to attain this aim.

However, this works remained neglected despite the power conferred to the then government by the super majority. The decision to advance a bill pertaining JSC was resolved few days ahead of the presidential election, amid a time when the parliament had reached a deadlock.

An alteration to the policy enacted by the 18th parliament in prohibiting gatherings in the streets of Male’ City was also promised as a pledge of high precedence within the Agenda 19 manifesto. An independent member had lodged this proposal to the parliament early into the term.

Nevertheless, this work remained parked at the committee stage for five years.

Many promising plans were incorporated into the Agenda 19 manifesto such as establishing Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as an independent institution, enacting a law to determine fair pricings for fish and implementing a permanent solution to tackle housing difficulties. Moreover, the former administration had also devised plans to amend laws under efforts to resolve the increasing debt attributed with student loans.

Regardless of the many solutions vowed by the government, no such works were proceeded in the recently concluded 19th Parliament.

Share this story