MDP expresses concern over “stymied” Israel passport ban bill

Vaikaradhoo MP Hussain Ziyadh (Fittey) speaks at a MDP parliamentary group press on July 9, 2024. (Sun Photo/Naish Nahid)

Main opposition MDP’s parliamentary group has raised concern over the fact that the bill to amend the law to ban Israeli passports – which is required to enforce the government’s decision to make legislative changes to ban Israeli passports – is stymied at the committee stage.

The bill, which sets down amendments to the Immigration Act, was sent to the National Security Services Committee with a unanimous vote of 88 on June 10. It is yet to be scheduled almost a month later.

Speaking at a press conference held by MDP’s parliamentary group on Tuesday, Vaikaradhoo MP Hussain Ziyadh (Fittey) noted that the 20th parliamentary assembly’s works were proceeding at a much faster pace than previous assemblies.

However, he pointed out the bill to amend the Immigrant Act in order to ban Israeli passport holders from entering the Maldives as the work that remains “stymied”.

“Different from other parliamentary assemblies. For example, if a bill submitted today has been forwarded to the committee today itself. Only one bill remains stymied in the parliament, that is the amendment to the Immigration Act. The bill remains in the respective committee. No meeting has been held on to date,” he said.

MDP parliamentary group holds a press conference on July 9, 2024. (Sun Photo/Naish Nahid)

Ziyadh noted that the committee held two meetings within one-hour to approve to signing of the Samoa Agreement and completed all related work in this trajectory on the day itself.

On the contrary, he pointed out that the bill on banning Israeli passports had been slated on the agenda of the committee to date, despite a month having passed since it was forwarded to the committee.

Ziyadh also said pro-government MPs had failed to properly debate on the bill at its submission, citing it would expedite the bill.

The bill in question was submitted by MDP’s South Galolhu MP Meekail Naseem. The government had backed the bill with plans to make amendments required by the government during the committee stage.

Prior to this, a committee member told Sun they have yet to schedule work on the bill, adding it will be set in the agenda based on the order of work sent to the committee. The member further said the bill is expected to be slated on the agenda within a week or so.

Maldivians have been holding protests in the streets of the capital, Male’ City, for months, demanding that the government ban Israeli citizens from entering the country, amid mounting outrage over the atrocities in Gaza, and other occupied Palestinian territories.