The rift in ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives is now translating into act of rebellion as the MPs apparently belonging to the faction led by former President Maumoon Gayoom said they will put national interest before President Abdulla Yameen’s diktat.
The development came after court stripped PPM’s President Maumoon Gayoom of all his powers and handed the full control to President Yameen.
In a press conference on Thursday, eight MPs announced that the decision of President Yameen has done irreparable damage and they will bring a number of changes in the Parliamentary work adding that they will no longer abide by the whip line set by Yameen.
The faction criticised lack of transparency, increasing authoritarianism and allegations of corruption by the government and vowed to work with the opposition to restore democracy in the country.
Meanwhile, MDP welcomed the decision of the MPs and said that the party looks forward to working with the MPs to bring about any necessary legislative changes to uphold the Constitution, protect fundamental freedoms, and to restore democracy in the country.
“In light of the immense difficulties that the people of the Maldives are to face, it is encouraging that 8 Government party MPs have pledged their intention to work with the opposition. We ask other Government MPs to do same, to work towards reform. This is now leading to President Yameen losing his majority in the Parliament. With this, President Yameen has lost any remaining legitimacy he may have had,” said former President Mohamed Nasheed.
On Sunday, Chief Judge Abdulla Didi ruled in favour of President Yameen citing extrordinary circumstances due to Maummon’s refusal to convene the party’s governing council and sacking of his deputy, Maldives Independent reported.
The court made President Yameen, who was the advisor of the party, as the head of PPM.
Maumoon’s Gayoom, meanwhile said that he will take the case to Supreme Court.
The rift between Gayoom brothers goes back to June when President Yameen led government introduced the Tourism Bill to which Maumoon strongly opposed. The rift got wider when Maumoon refused to endorse Yameen as the party’s
Presidential candidate for the next election followed by sacking of Faris Gayoom in reaction.
Maumoon who is in loggerheads with his half-brother Yameen has time and again criticised him for his decisions to implement death penalty and leave the commonwealth.
Maumoon daughter and former Foreign Affairs Minister Dunya Maumoon and his loyal and former Home Minsiter Umar Naseer had quit Yameen-led government citing differences.
In a deteriorating political climate in the Maldives, the Election Commission has struck off nearly half of the Maldivian Democratic Party’s members from its registry after the parliament approved a law requiring all political party members to submit their fingerprint records.
Some 18,803 members were removed, reducing the main opposition party’s membership to 27,805 members.
The Election Commission on Thursday, effectively removed MDP MPs, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and Eva Abdulla from the Party’s membership list. MP Ibu Solih is a founding member of the MDP, and is also the Party’s Parliamentary Group Leader. MP Ibu Solih is currently serving his fifth term in Parliament, whereas MP Eva Abdulla is serving her second.
The Election Commission, whose independence has been compromised since the appointment of individuals politically aligned to the Yameen Government, began their insidious meddling with Party membership lists in July 2014.
A fingerprinted form for political party membership was first introduced by a regulation in 2010, and by law in 2013. Then in July 2014, the elections commission gave all parties a six-month deadline to re-register all members whose fingerprints were not on file.
Other parties affected by the law include the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party, the Jumhooree Party and the Adhaalath Party. The ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives, which emerged as a breakaway faction of the DRP in 2011, will not be affected.
The PPM, with 37,633 members, is now the largest political party in the country.
The DRP lost nearly 10,000 members, and now has only 3,966 registered members. The JP’s membership was reduced by 3000, while some 1000 members were taken off the AP’s registry.
The JP now has 10,989 members, and the AP has 9,009.
The MDP and the DRP challenged the order at the civil court, arguing that the requirement cannot be applied retroactively, a view the attorney general has supported.
The case moved onto the High Court, which granted an injunction on the Election Commission’s order. In reaction to the injunction, the ruling party used its majority to circumvent the courts and passed an amendment to the Political Parties requiring all members to submit fingerprinted membership forms or be taken off the lists.
MPs Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and Eva Abdulla have submitted fingerprinted forms twice to the Election Commission only to be repeatedly rejected. Their forms were submitted prior to the deadline and following the second submission they were not informed of the cause of rejection.
MDP’s International Spokesperson, Hamid Abdul Gafoor said, “it is slightly suspicious how keen the EC were to inform Parliament of the removal of MDP MP Ibu Solih and MP Eva Abdulla when they and the Parliament have repeatedly refused to acknowledge the MDP’s requests to remove MP Moosa Manik as a member of the MDP’s Parliamentary Group. The EC’s actions continue to obstruct peaceful political activity, making a mockery of our constitution and the hopes for a free and fair election.”
Although the PPM claims the law is necessary to prevent fraud, MDP MPs said it was aimed at reducing the party’s membership, and cutting off its state funding, as the number of members in a party determines the size of the annual grant it receives from the state budget.
The elections commission has meanwhile withheld funding for all political parties citing leadership vacuums and mismanagement by some parties.
This comes at a time when there is growing disillusionment in the institutions of the Maldives, including the independence of the Election Commission.
Former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb had a contact saved in his now infamous gold iPhone as ‘Lord P’. The same gold iPhone that exposed how Adeeb and his mentor-tuned-boss turned-antagonist President Abdulla Yameen were not only involved in high-level corruption but also in wiping off anyone and everyone who did not fall in line — media, politicians, activists and even its own ministers; now has another story to tell: How the two cracked a deal with ‘Lord P’ to shroud the autocratic nature of the government with a well-crafted image of the Maldives’ economic development.
But it was not the first time when Yameen agreed to spend a fortune to negate the banana republic impression. Last summer, Yameen signed a lucrative deal with Cherie Blair- wife of former Prime Minister and Labour Party chief Tony Blair- after she was rejected by the first democratically elected President Mohamed Nasheed who had Amal Clooney by his side.
Cherie who was earlier ready to represent Nasheed calling his trial ‘an extraordinary farce’, then agreed to revive Yameen’s image for £ 210,000 (MVR 4,128,292).
Back In 2012 too, right after the coup that toppled Nasheed’s government, another Labour Party member, former Labour Cabinet Minister and former attorney general Baroness Scotland took £ 75,000 (MVR 1,457,366) to advise the then government on avoiding action by Commonwealth in a two-week work contract.
On August 12, 2015, a few days before Yameen got Cherie on board, Adeeb broke a deal ‘Lord P’, who is a professional lobbyist and political adviser, to revamp the image of Yameen’s regime.
‘Lord P’ is no one else but the man who has not only been a Member of Parliament (MP) for Hartlepool for Labour Party but also held a number of Cabinet positions under Prime Ministers Tony Blair.
The man who rebuilt the Labour Party as New Labour before its subsequent victory in the 1997 election.
‘Lord P’ is Peter Mandelson – The Prince of Darkness.
A report by Daily Mail says that 62-year-old Mandelson held meetings with Adeeb and Yameen to counsel the government on how to “rebuild its public image”.
The British Daily quoting a four-page memo says that Mandelson’s strategic advisory firm Global Counsel suggested the government to deal with the PR crisis by projecting “your vision for the country’s future”.
The memo was dated August 18, four days after the meeting took place between Adeeb and Mandelson at the resort of Gili Lankanfushi.
Headlined as ‘Next Steps’, the memo asking to set up a strategic communication to fix the international image of the Maldives as quoted by Daily Mail read:
The taskforce will benefit from start-up training and development from an external source. This is something we could guide you on as part of our current work with international investors in the Maldives
It also offered to lobby United Nations General Assembly and Commonwealth by “telling an effective story about the Maldives to international audiences”. The advisory firm also said that it would get confidence of the international investors “everywhere from New York and London to Berlin, Paris and Beijing”.
The Memo By Global Counsel
The discussion in Gili Lankanfushi was very useful in scoping out the next steps. What follows in this note assumes that the situation regarding Nasheed can be resolved amicably from the perspective of all relevant stakeholders. The Maldives is a young democracy and recognises it has further to go in order to create the institutions and space to enable democracy to flourish… Reforms to the penal code and judicial system, as well as strengthening the rule of law, are prerequisites to a healthy democracy, and the government is in the process of designing and implementing reforms in these areas that will deliver immediate benefits as well as building the foundations for a stronger democracy in the longer term.
The firm suggested that government can rebuild its image by giving an ‘accurate account’ of the government’s ‘accomplishments’ in the fields of economic stewardship, social reform and environmental protection.
It is unclear if the two went ahead with the big revival plan as Adeeb – in less than two months – was jailed for plotting to assassinate his boss Yameen.
On October 13, when Ying Staton, Global Counsel’s ‘Asia Director’ wrote to Adeeb to figure out when Mandelson and Yameen could speak on phone, he was already in middle of speed boat blast allegations and days ahead only led to his impeachment, arrest and sentencing.
Flamboyant Adeeb, one of the richest politicians, also seen as Yameen’s loyal, also got implicated in one of the country’s biggest corruption scandal with Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC).
An audit report of MMPRC revealed that money as huge as USD 80 million received from leasing islands and resorts meant for the state was siphoned off to private accounts which benefited Adeeb, Yameen, his wife and other politicians.
And it also benefitted Cherie Blair. Omnia had billed Abdulla Ziyath, former managing director of the MMPRC for £ 210,000 (MVR 4,081,265) – the half amount of total fee charged by the firm for a six-month contract.
According to Maldives Independent, government also spent USD 19,293 (MVR 297,510) on visits of Omnia’s barrister Toby Cadman, between June and September.
My work is not yet complete. My work will be completed once the airport and the country is the preferred destination. When my work is done, I want to compare the difference between the services given in the Maldives and Singapore, Dubai – Yameen
Omnia, on the allegation of receiving the money from a company implicated in corruption, said that it terminated six-month contract early due to unpredictable domestic events and is no longer instructed by either the government or the MMPRC.
The whistleblower, Bank of Maldives former manager Gasim Abdul Kareem, who leaked the account details of Score of Flairs (S.O.F) Private Limited which facilitated the transaction between MMPRC and Omnia is now in jail on the charges of unauthorised disclosure customer information.
Adeeb was sentenced to eight years in prison for stealing USD 5,000,000 (MVR 76,850,000) from state coffers besides 15 year jail term for plotting to assassinate Yameen.
Government also hired Washington based lobbyist firm, Podesta Group in September for a sum of USD 300,000 (MVR 4,611,000) and London-based PR firm BTP Advisers in November.
Even after massive PR exercise Yameen is now isolated by his party men. Though, he is often witnessed talking about economic development and policies as ambitious as making the Maldives the next Singapore and Dubai. At an event in May this year, Yameen said:
My work is not yet complete. My work will be completed once the airport and the country is the preferred destination. When my work is done, I want to compare the difference between the services given in the Maldives and Singapore, Dubai
Battered by its international image, Yameen-led government even launched a programme ‘Visit Maldives Year 2016’ to promote tourism and also enhanced their budget but soon abandoned the ambitious 1.5 million tourist target this year alleging opposition of tarnishing the image of the country.
The government functioning on PR machinery of the west in a bid to revive the image of the country often blames opposition and its leader Nasheed for destroying country’s economy, ironically, calling them the agents of the west. Meanwhile, Nasheed continue to enjoy the support of international rights’ group, journalists and rival of the Labour Party, Conservative Party’s former leader and former Prime Minister David Cameron.
The Maldives- almost invisible on the world map, often ignored in world statistics for its tiny size in the vast Indian Ocean- has made it to the map, unfortunately for highest divorce rate!
Courtesy: The Telegraph
The Sunni Muslim island with just 3,45,023 population has the divorce rate of 10.97 per year per 1,000 inhabitants followed by Russia at the second spot with less than half the number of divorces as Maldives, according to a report by The Telegraph.
The number makes the Maldives enter the Guinness World Records, and according to United Nations, an average Maldivian woman has been divorced three times by the age of 30.
“The island of a thousand honeymoons. And … a thousand divorces,” writes journalist Shannon Sims calling it ‘the paradise where everyone is divorced’.
The reason, most arguably, points out to Islam, Sharia laws, stigma around sex, and sexuality of a woman.
Divorce- No Taboo!
J J Robbinson, the former editor of the Maldives Independent, in his first investigative account of the everyday lives of Maldivians, writes that the country has exploited Islamic sentiments for subordinating women in the country by criminalising pre-marital sex or extramarital sex leading to higher divorce rate. “Tourists on romantic resort getaways blissfully sun themselves on beaches a few hundred feet from ‘local’ islands where Maldivian women are routinely sentenced to 100 lashes for the crime of extramarital sex,” he writes.
He cites observations made by famous Islamic explorer Ibn Battuta where he argues that in the Maldivian culture where people do not fix dowry makes it easier for them to married.
“It is easy to marry in these islands because of the smallness of the dowries and the pleasures of society which the women offer,” Battuta wrote in the 14th century. “Most people do not even fix any dowry. When the ships put in, the crew marry; when they intend to leave, they divorce their wives. This is a kind of temporary marriage (muta). I have seen nowhere in the world women whose society was more pleasant.”
And for getting divorced, a man has to say ‘I divorce you’ three times under the triple talaq Islamic law. Women, though, has to go through a legal process but interestingly there is no stigma around getting divorced, unlike pre-marital sex. “I recall one recently married fisherman boasting that his new wife had been married six times; this, he explained with a sly wink, meant she was experienced. The figure was about average for a woman in her forties,” Robbinson writes.
Patriarchy, Like Everywhere, Rules The Marriage
Besides, the religious-cultural nexus to higher divorce rate, the much universal patriarchal mindset and the resulting sexual and domestic violence are also the reasons for the overwhelming trend.
Nearly 33 per cent women in the country are reportedly victims of sexual of physical violence and of them, nearly 20 per cent are perpetrated by their partners, and to most Maldivians it is quite acceptable or even desirable for a husband to beat his wife, or have physical or sexual supremacy.
A 29-year-old, who felt obliged to marry her boyfriend after having sex with him at the age of 15; who later became a victim of his violent nature, says as quoted by Maldives Independent,
Maldives may rank highest in the world for divorces, but at least the ease in getting a divorce ensures women or men do not stay in abusive or unhappy relationships
In December last year, the Maldives had a meltdown when a 35-year-old woman from Gaaf Dhaal Thinadhoo died after fighting a long battle in the intensive care unit of a hospital in Male. She was brutally raped by her husband.
Her death was followed by marches, social media activism but proved that a little has been changed since the government passed Domestic Violence Prevention Act in 2012.
Polygamy- Men’s Duty To Keep Women On Right Path
In March this year, during gender equality debate in the People’s Majlis, MP Ahmed Saleem held women responsible for infidelity and suggested that it was a man’s duty to keep them on right path.
Saleem said, ” Women drive men to mental illnesses and crime because of their infidelity. Women are fragile like glass. They can become anything if we do not know how to look after them. The prophet said if a women turns evil, she is worse than a lion… We try to guard them to reform our societies,” he continued giving example of a fellow MP who has three wives, “There is none better than Riyaz Rasheed. Look, he looks after three women to ensure that they do not stray from the right path. This is our duty.”
The PPM dominated 85-member Majlis, where there are just 5 women MPs, threw out the proposal for reserving quotas for women 36 votes that day.
Equal Pay For Equal Work, But Is It Enough?
Later in August, Social Committee of the Parliament passed the gender equality bill prohibiting gender discrimination in employment fields assuring equal pay for equal work but no effort was put in reforming social fabric of the fundamentals of Islamic ruling where death for infidelity, covert abortions to hide the “illegal” out-of-wedlock child & polygamy are rampant.
Former State Minister for Gender and Family, Haala Hameed speculates that more women entering workforce is also one of the reasons for higher divorce- as there is no basic childcare facility and working women are often seen negatively causing tension withing families leading to higher divorce rate.
The women’s activist and a proclaimed feminist from the small Indian Ocean archipelago, Safaath is among the 17 people appointed as the inaugural class of UN Young Leaders for Sustainable Development Goals.
Safaath, who has emerged as one of the youngest face in the Maldives, quickly got attention over her vision and best wishes started pouring in.
The 25-year-old could not contain her excitement over meeting the celebrities, social and political leaders who were also present at the event for the good cause, including actors Mark Ruffalo and Preity Zinta.
— Safaath Ahmed (@safaathahmed)<ahref=”https://twitter.com/safaathahmed/status/778553125380694016″>September 21, 2016
Selected from over 18,000 nominations from 186 countries, Safaath has been recognised for her leadership and contribution to the achievement of the 17 Global Goals, also known as Sustainable Development Goals- to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the young leaders and said,
“These 17 young change-makers are a testament to the ingenuity of youth and I congratulate them for their exceptional leadership and demonstrated commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals.”
The flagship initiative of the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth comes against a backdrop of increasing efforts by the UN to engage young people in the implementation of SDGs.
The mood of the nation this Independence Day was not only gloomy and irate, but it was brooding with defiance- from the call for boycott of the day that marks country’s independence to a silent protest by journalists towards the end of the day.
Even when the administration celebrated the Independence Day- from hoisting flags to organising cultural festivals- most of the Maldivians questioned “autocratic” rule under President Abdulla Yameen. Of many rights that people of the demanded on social networking sites, the universal idea of press freedom metamorphosed into a silent protest by scores of journalists who came out on streets wearing black to symbolise the dark side independence.
Holding banners of abducted journalist of Maldives Independent Ahmed Rilwan to placards bearing the message “Journalism Is Not A Crime” and “No To Defamation Bill”-the silence of the journalists resonated the message loud and clear.
Live Updates Of Journalists’ Silent Protest On Independence Day:
The government is all set to introduce a fast track system for the proposed defamation bill to “set the limits on freedom of expression” in order to protect people from committing the act of defamation.
In an apparent smart move, the government in mid-July made ruling MP Ahmed Nihan to withdraw his version of defamation bill- dubbed as “death knell” for media freedom by critics- to introduce a “media friendly” bill. The government is planning to push the bill through people’s Majlis in a day.
What Is A “Media Friendly” Bill
The new “media friendly” bill has been proposed by the MP for Ungoofaaru constituency, Jaufaru Dhaaood on behalf of the government.
The new bill proposes lower fines and jail sentences. The defamation will go to court as civil offence and if a person fails to pay the fine, he/she would face criminal charges.
The fine has been reduced from MVR 5 million to MVR 2 million and if a person fails to pay the fine will land up in jail for six months as against jail term for one year mentioned in “not so friendly” bill introduced by Nihan.
The bill has two parts; the media part which covers rumours circulated by media and the individual part which covers defamatory speeches at public platforms.
The bill is on the floor of the parliament for debate and voting but PPM Parliamentary Committee has decided to push the bill in a day.
The Never Ending Tale Of Media Clampdown
Ex-Haveeru Employees Banned
The Civil Court recently ordered ban on ex-Haveeru employees for two years from working in any other organisation. Court ordered the Home Ministry to ensure that the ex-employees do not work for any other media house for two years stating that it was leding to massive loss to Haveeru- the oldest newspaper of the country.
What Really Happened?
On March 31, the civil court ordered to halt the publication of country’s oldest newspaper agency Haveeru Online after shareholding dispute between two parties.
This led to mass resignation of Haveeru’s employees and they started working for the new newspaper agency Mihaaru- owned by one of the stakeholders.
Reason For Ban
Court ordered ban on ex-Haveeru journalists for two years from working in any other organisation stating huge financial losses due to mass resignation from Haveeru Daily.
Court also found out that assets of Haveeru Daily were being used illegally by ex-Haveeru employees.
What About Others?
CNM Closed! Ahmed Rilwan Still Missing! Raajje TV Journalists Facing Trial!
CNM Expose That Led To Its Closure
CNM was forced to shut down on political pressure after it exposed First Lady’s misuse of state funds for personal profit.
CNM had exposed First Lady Fathimath Ibrahim for misusing the dates donated by Saudi Arabia for the personal gain through the NGO owned by her.
CNM also exposed the letter sent to Finance Ministry by Islamic Minister to transfer half of the Abu Dhabi donation to Fathimath’s NGO, the Sadagat Foundation.
The Editor-in-Chief , Ismail Rasheed called it a forced shut down by the influential government official. Howvever, one of the shareholders of CNM, Mohamed Ali Janah, dismissed the claim of political pressure.
Ahmed Rilwan Still Missing
Close to two years now, but there is no sign of Maldives Independent journalist Ahmed Rilwan who was abducted in August 2014.
Two suspects have been arrested but the main suspect Mohamed Suaid had fled from Maldives last year while the family of Rilwan accused police of delaying investigation leading to discrepancies.
Government was summoned by the United Nations seeking response over his disappearance. Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon refuted allegations and said that there is no involvement of government in his abduction.
Raajje TV Journalists Facing Trial
Two things common between Mohamed Wisam, Leevan Ali Naseer, Hussain Fiyaz Moosa and Adam Zareer, were first, they all are Raajje TV journalists and second, they all are facing “vague” charges for obstructing law and order on different occasions.
State prosecutor claims they defied police orders and crossed a barricade set up near the central bank building in Malé during an anti-government protest on March 25 last year.
While they pleaded not guilty by saying that they were doing their duty as journalists.
Judge presiding over the trial questioned the legality of the charges against the Raajje TV CEO Moosa and why he was charged with inappropriately touching a person instead of more serious offence of assault
Journalism, A Crime In Maldives?
18 journalists were arrested during the sit-in protest against Court’s decision for shutting Haveeru.
183 Maldivian journalists signed a petition and submitted it to the President’s Office, the People’s Majlis and the Supreme Court requesting to drop the charges against 24 Journalists arrested since President Abdulla Yameen came in power.
Maldives has been ranked 112th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2015 World Press Freedom Index, after falling 60 places since 2010.
Four United Nations human rights experts on Friday urged the government to halt the execution of Hussain Humam Ahmed, and to re-try him in compliance with international standards.
They called on the authorities to uphold the unofficial moratorium on capital punishment in force for the last six decades.
“Criminal proceedings against Mr. Ahmed did not afford him guarantees of fair trial and due process,” said the independent experts on arbitrary detention, summary executions, torture and independence of the judiciary.
“The implementation of a death sentence following judicial procedures which do not respect the most stringent guarantees of fair trial and due process is unlawful and tantamount to an arbitrary execution,” they stressed.
The 22-year-old Maldivian was sentenced to death in 2014 for the alleged murder of a former Member of Parliament and religious scholar, Afrasheem Ali in 2012.
The human rights experts noted that the Maldives Supreme Court upheld the conviction and death sentence on 24 June, while the investigation was still ongoing, and that the accusation and the murder verdict was based on a pre-trial confession obtained under duress.
“The courts have also disregarded a claim that the defendant has a psycho-social or intellectual disability and a request for an independent evaluation of his mental health status,” they added. “Mr. Ahmed’s defence rights were disrespected”
In upholding the death sentence, the Supreme Court has reportedly refused to accept letters from the victim’s next of kin indicating that they do not wish to impose the death sentence on Mr. Ahmed under the Qisas process while criminal investigations remain incomplete.
“These procedures contravene international standards of fair trial and due process, as well as Article 52 of the Maldivian Constitution, which provides that ‘No confession shall be admissible in evidence unless made in court by an accused who is in a sound state of mind,’” the experts noted.
The Government of Maldives re-introduced capital punishment in 2014 through the adoption of the Regulation on the Implementation of the Death Penalty, without passing a law, as required by article 21 of the Constitution.
“The reinstitution of the death sentence and resumption of executions after more than 60 years is not only unconstitutional, it also runs counter to the international trend towards the abolition of the death penalty,” the human rights experts underscored.
A political fight erupted between Gayoom and President Abdulla Yameen after the government tabled a bill that would allow the tourism ministry to lease islands without bidding.
The supporters of Yameen said that they would submit a bill to Parliament that would keep those of 65 years and above from being the head of a Political Party, aimed at ousting the current party chief.
The government has proposed a bill to amend the 2007 Civil Services Act that will ensure greater control over the Civil Service Commission. According to the amendment, no permanent secretary and top level government official will be appointed without consulting the ministers.
Jumhooree Party leader and Kinbidhoo MP Abdulla Riyaz expressing concern over the bill said that all permanent secretaries might lose their jobs if the proposed amendment in the 2007 civil service law is passed in the Parliament alleging that all the incumbent permanent secretaries will be replaced.
Here are the major developments on the 2007 Civil Service Law:
Ruling party MP Abdul Latheef Mohamed proposed amending the 2007 Civil Service Law on the first day of the session on behalf of the government
He proposed to amend Article 55(a) of the Civil Service Act which will make it compulsory for the Civil Service Commission to consult ministers before appointing permanent secretaries and top level government officials
Riyaz, debating on the bill said that the bill poses threat for all the incumbent permanent secretaries and a number of educated and experienced individuals would lose their jobs if the bill is passed
He added that if permanent secretaries are not performing well then there can be alternatives to address the issue and amendments which strengthen the institution should be brought instead of the one that weakens it
The bill has been forwarded to the Committee on Independent Commission for evaluation as only 32 members voted in favour of the bill while 18 members voted against it
The secretaries who are primarily responsible for managing and assisting the ministry and its employees- after the amendment is passed- will be doing their job “in accordance with the minister’s advice and instructions”
The 2007 Civil Service Act established independent Civil Service Commission. In 2008, the commission was set up and its members were appointed by the parliament instead of executive to tone down the influence of President over bureaucracy
Ismail Ali Manik, former permanent secretary of the finance ministry had resigned in December over president’s office’s decision to fire more than 70 staff
President Abdulla Yameen also received flak over his warning to cut wages of the striking staff and for calling 24,000-strong civil service as “overstaffed”