Falaah (M) speaking at a press conference organised by PNC PG. Photo/Parliament

Ruling party denies amending rule to stymie emergency motions

PNC PG says that a delay of one or two days in a payment does not require an emergency case.

10 July 2024

By Mohamed Muzayyin Nazim

The parliament supermajority People’s National Congress (PNC) Parliamentary Group (PG) on Wednesday said it is not going to limit the rules of procedure to restrict the opportunity for members to move emergency issues as they can now.

Three emergency motions recently moved by the opposition MDP were rejected by the PNC members.

During the debates in parliament this week, some PNC members described the opposition's motion of emergency motions as a "waste of time" and called for stricter rules on moving such emergency motions.

Atoll Times reached out to PNC PG Leader, Inguraidhoo Constituency Member Ibrahim Falaah for comments about the matter.

"In the rules of parliament, we [will] not make any amendments regarding the movement of emergency motions. But we have the discretion to do so if we want to. However, we have no intention of doing so [to restrict the motion of emergency motions]," Majority Leader Falaah said.

"We treat the opposition [members] in parliament as our brothers. We will not put any political obstacles [and] we will not restrict anything”.

'Emergency motions are moved for very sensitive matters'

Falaah said that as per the existing rules of parliament, an emergency motion is to be made in times of unexpected crisis. He said MDP is now raising issues that are not urgent.

“For example, it's something you do in a situation like a tsunami or COVID. We can't file an emergency case saying that there is a football match today and it needs to be stopped,” Falaah, leader of the 75-member PNC PG group, said.

The MDP PG on Tuesday expressed concern over some PNC members' remarks insisting on restricting the motion of emergency cases. The group told a news conference at their parliamentary office that the PNC was trying to "silence" the opposition.

Among the emergency motions made by the opposition was the issue of delay in releasing funds to students studying abroad. On the issue, Falaah said:

  • The Higher Education Ministry has confirmed that the students abroad are being paid properly. President Mohammed Muizzu gives great importance to the affairs of students

  • The delay of one or two days in payment does not require an emergency case

The General Committee of parliament is currently working on amending their Rules of Procedure. Until that is done, the rules made in the last 19th Parliament are being followed. According to Article 170(b) of the Rules:

  • An emergency motion is a matter of urgency that directly affects the interests of the people or the country, submitted to: bring such a matter to the immediate attention of the government; to criticise action taken or a lack thereof, or because of possible loss of relevance with lapse of time

Falaah added that the PPM-PNC was in opposition for the past five years and the emergency motions moved by the two parties were rejected by the MDP members who had a supermajority at the time as well, noting that PNC would not do so.

He recounted how the emergency motion moved by the MDP last month calling on MIFCO to pay fishermen within 48 hours was passed in parliament. Another emergency motion moved by the opposition concerning the Addu water crisis was also passed.

“If it is a good emergency issue [or] emergency issues that are important to the people, we [PNC members] will accept them and debate them,” he said.