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Parliament votes to remove Tech Minister from post

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The parliament has voted to dismiss Science and Technology Minister, Mohamed Maleeh Jamaal.

A total of 59 parliamentarians voted in favour of the no-confidence motion against the Minister. Only one member voted against the motion. This is the first time such a vote has been taken with regard to a cabinet minister of the current administration.

Main-ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)’s Parliamentary Group leader Ali Azim submitted the no-confidence motion against the minister with the signature of 14 members that supported the motion on February 10th. MDP’s parliamentary group had already decided to seek a no confidence motion against the minister last year. The party issued a three line whip to ensure that the motion passed earlier on Sunday.

Maleeh was appointed as a cabinet minister on a slot granted to the ruling coalition member, Jumhooree Party. MDP sought the minister’s removal stating that the Communications Authority had failed to make the relevant regulations necessary to regulate the communication industry, and for failing to bring down the cost of internet in the Maldives.

Rejecting MDP’s accusations against him, Maleeh responded vehemently to the allegations raised against him during Monday’s parliament sitting. He challenged the parliamentarians and said MDP was not seeking to punish him due to shortcomings from his side, but for exercising ‘Article 27’ of the Maldives Constitution. Maleeh said MDP had a personal vendetta against him for speaking against a parliamentary governance system on a TV program. He was attending the parliament not to defend his ministership but in defense of Article 27 of the constitution which allows everyone the right to freedom of thought, and the freedom to communicate opinions and expressions, said the minister.

It is notable that most members representing Jumhooree Party were not in attendance at Monday’s sitting. Only one member from Jumhooree Party spoke in Maleeh’s defence during the sitting.

Maleeh was the Youth Minister during former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom’s administration. However, he was removed from the post in a similar fashion even then. Acknowledging the events of the past while speaking at the parliament, Maleeh said he would continue to stand tall in the face of adversity.