The People’s Majlis broke for recess two weeks early on Wednesday after working overtime to pass a new construction law.
The construction bill was introduced, debated, reviewed by a committee, and passed on the same day. Speaker Abdulla Maseeh Mohamed scheduled a sitting at night to vote on the bill after it was debated and accepted for consideration at the normal sitting in the morning.
In between sittings, the national security committee approved the bill at a 30-minute meeting and sent it back to the floor. The bill was then passed with 44 votes from ruling coalition lawmakers without any opposition MPs in the 85-member house in attendance.
Opposition MPs had also walked out of the committee meeting Wednesday afternoon after a proposal by MP Ali Nizar of the Maldivian Democratic Party to restrict fines to a minimum MVR5,000 (US$324) for first-time offenders was rejected by the pro-government majority.
“This industry is not at all ready for such a sudden, big change. For a group that is not used to working within any legal constraints, it would be a catastrophe,” Nizar said.
The committee, however, reduced the hefty fines in the bill after opposition lawmakers warned that the law would “bankrupt” small and medium-sized business in the construction sector.
The original draft proposed fines between MVR5,000 and MVR1 million (US$64,850) for failing to obtain permits for construction or repair work, but the committee limited the fines to a maximum of MVR500,000 (US$32,425).
The media was not notified about the hastily arranged committee meeting and stakeholders were not consulted.
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Source URL: Maldives Independent