MPs from the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) have expressed anger claiming Parliament Speaker Mohamed Aslam had counted the number of members required to meet the quorum to hold Monday’s sitting in violation of the stipulated regulation.
Ihavandhoo MP Mohamed Shifaau, an MDP member, raised a point of order after the agenda for the 31st sitting of the third session was read out, in which he underscored that the quorum for a parliamentary sitting, as per the regulation, is 25 percent of the total members.
“I believe it is a system issue when the quorum for a parliamentary sitting is counted including members who have resigned from the parliament despite being here,” he said.
“As I have taken note of this as something being done by the parliament’s chair in violation of the regulation – I wished to bring this to the attention and request to count the quorum in accordance with the regulation,” he added.
Responding to the point of order, Speaker Aslam said the parliament’s regulations clearly specified how the number of members should be counted – which he explained was the standard adhered to presently with respect to the matter.
“The 25 percent will be calculated from the total number of incumbent members of the parliament which is 87 at present. In this trajectory, the quorum to commence a sitting is 22 members,” he explained.
Citing these reasons, Speaker Aslam rejected MP Shifau’s point of order.
Another MDP member, Milandhoo MP Ali Riza took a point of order following the rejection, raising the same issue.
MP Riza, underscoring MP Shifau’s point of order had been a legitimate point of order, called to find a speedy resolution to the issue within the confinements of the parliament’s regulation.
Speaker Aslam rejected the point of order, reiterating that the quorum had been counted correctly.
“If the honorable member wishes to amend the regulation, please submit such an amendment,” he emphasized.
Speaker Aslam who had previously been MDP’s parliamentary group leader was elected the speaker after the post became vacant following the resignation of former speaker, Central Mahchangoalhi MP Mohamed Nasheed at the face of a no-confidence motion.