Opposition MPs voice concern over timing of PM Modi's parliament address

Some parliament members of the opposition has expressed concern on the timing of the parliament sitting where Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to address the parliament.

The function has been scheduled for 6:45pm on Saturday night, which falls between the two Islamic prayer calls, Maqrib and Isha.

Deputy President of Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) Naifaru MP Ahmed Shiyam took to Twitter to voice his concern, questioning the reason why the sitting was scheduled for such an inconvenient time. He questioned if it was a deliberate attempt to promote secularism in the Maldives.

PG member of Peoples' National Congress (PNC), Maduvvary MP Adam Shareef wrote on social media that while he believes Modi's visit to the Maldives is of utmost importance in strengthening the relations between both countries, scheduling the parliament address against the traditional and cultural norms of the Maldivian society is concerning. Despite this, he assured that he would be present at the sitting.

"India will respect the Maldivian culture. It is my hope that the Maldivian government would try to bear in mind [our cultures] even more. It is most likely that this is the only available time slot during a hectic state visit. I support strengthening ties with India and will be present a the sitting", said Shareef.

Mahibadhoo MP Ahmed Tariq (Tom) also voiced out his displeasure on the scheduled timing on Facebook, stating that he would leave the sitting before PM Modi's address commenced. He further revealed that he had not participated in the vote to decide if the influential foreign diplomat should speak at the parliament.

"The first move of those supporting secularism, the principle of separating the state from religion, is to schedule the parliament sitting between Maqrib and Isha prayers", read his post. He also highlighted the mistreatment of Muslims taking place in the neighboring nation seen in videos that recently made the rounds on social media.

The archipelago is currently preparing for the Indian Prime Minister's state visit to the country. PM Modi will be arriving in the Maldives on a two-day visit on June 8; his first trip abroad after his astounding victory in the Indian general elections last month securing a second term as the PM.