Henveiru Central MP Ali Azim has stated that the Free Trade Agreement established between China and Maldives is invalid from the outset.
MDP's Parliamentary Group Leader in a tweet published on Wednesday said the China-Maldives FTA did not undergo due process prior to its approval. The FTA was 'rubber-stamped overnight' by the parliament under strict orders from then-President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom, said Azim.
Azim said while the FTA did not go through the full parliament process, none of the MPs saw the agreement in full before it was approved. The FTA is, therefore 'void ab initio', claimed Azim, stating that the government must send the FTA back to the parliament for further review.
During the tenure of President Yameen, the FTA was approved by the 18th parliament in a rushed move. The FTA was approved by the relevant parliament committee in under ten minutes when it was forwarded to the committee for review.
When the parliament approved the FTA on November 29, 2017, a high-level delegation from the Maldives that included President Yameen traveled to China, and officially signed the FTA on December 18, 2017.
While the president of main-ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and current speaker of the parliament Mohamed Nasheed has claimed on multiple occasions that the FTA must be scraped, Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid has stated that the government has not reached a decision to pull out of the FTA, and that such a move will only be pursued after a thorough research.