51 August 2014
MDP protests against passage of Bill on Special Economic Zones
The Maldivian Democratic Party expresses profound concern over and protests against the undue passage of the (current draft of the) Bill on Special Economic Zones, proposed to the Peoples Majlis (parliament) by the government, as it would open up a number of dangerous in roads to contravene Islamic Sharia, the Constitution, Laws and the sovereignty of the Maldives.
The (current draft of the) Bill on Special Economic Zones widens opportunities for the government to renege on transparency in executing transactions, to waive regulatory supervision, and to avoid due diligence from political opponents, thereby creating numerous instances for undermining the independence and sovereignty of the Maldives. The passage of this Bill will also unduly empower the government to demarcate zones and allocate them indiscriminately for whatever periods to run dubious commercial activities, in spite of any opposition from or without consent of the people and relevant local councils. The passage of the Bill will also thwart rights stipulated in the Constitution for local councils to control the use, earn from and own land and other assets, thereby detracting the powers of local councils and abrogating the concept of decentralized administration.
It is also a matter of high concern that merchandise and services from commercial activities to be developed in these demarcated zones are deemed as tax free. It is also alarmingly apparent that small and medium businesses would progressively be stifled. The passage of the Bill into law would also considerably widen opportunities for the proliferation of dangerous organized crimes such as cooking the books, money laundering, and the smuggling of drugs and human trafficking.
MPs of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and Jumhooree Party (JP) on 13 August 2014 boycotted sessions of the Committee on Economic Affairs of the Peoples Majlis (parliament) to protest the hasty and dictatorial manner in which MPs affiliated to the current PPM government were violating in-house regulations to expedite and coerce undue passage of the bill. The Maldivian Democratic Party commends the statements in the Peoples Majlis (parliament) by Jumhooree Party Leader Honorable Qasim Ibrahim expressing concerns that the Bill would impose large-scale corruption and open up dangerous inroads to undermine the sovereignty of the Maldives. The Maldivian Democratic Party shall continue to enact protests against the undue passage of the (current draft of the) Bill on Special Economic Zones.