Adhaalath Party concerned that concerts are defying Islamic teachings

The Adhaalath Party is reported to have expressed concern at what it sees as “horrifying acts that defy Islamic teachings and social convention” taking place in the country.

“Entertainment activities and events are an important part of a society” read a statement obtained by Haveeru. “But these activities must abide by our religious and social traditions”.

The comments follow controversy surrounding the New Year’s eve ‘Tourist Arrival Countdown Show’, which eventually featured Indian artists ‘Salim-Sulaiman’ after Jamaican artist Sean Paul cancelled following an online death threat.

After Sean Paul’s late cancellation, Minister of Tourism Ahmed Adeeb revealed that a second show would be held on January 8, with an announcement made at the conclusion of Wednesday’s concert that US R&B artist Akon would be performing.

Following the online threats against Sean Paul – later denounced as a hoax by authorities – members of the Adhaalath Party, including the Islamic minister criticised the decision to invite the dancehall singer.

Haveeru have today reported that the party maintained it would not support such activities, urging the youth not to invest all their time in pleasure.

“If the youth are not kept from such decadence they will undoubtedly grow into people from whom neither their families nor the society can benefit,” Haveeru reported the party as saying. “This is the bitter truth”.

Minivan News was unable to obtain comment from the Adhaalath Party members contacted prior to publication.

US R&B singer Akon will appear in Malé on January 8

After safety assurances from police prior to Wednesday night’s concert, the event passed without incident, culminating in the announcement that the country had received a record 1.45 million tourists in 2014.

Plans to hold a concert featuring Akon were attempted in 2010, before the artist pulled out citing technical and security concerns.

In the run-up to the scheduled Akon concert, Islamic minister Dr Shaheem reported receiving a number of complaints about the explicit content of the singer’s lyrics.

Adhaalath Party member Shaheem last week said that bringing foreigners to hold shows coinciding with New Year’s eve – as well as the threats made – were “unacceptable”. Adeeb later told Minivan News that the concert had been discussed at cabinet level and that Shaheem’s comments were merely his personal opinion.

While jihadist group Bilad Al Sham denied being behind the YouTube video threatening Sean Paul’s life, the group did describe the concert as “filthy” and an “ideological attack”.

Meanwhile, local religious NGO Jamiyyathul Salaf said the state was “investing in destruction” by funding the show.

Adeeb, who has taken a lead in organising and promoting the event, has insisted that attempts to “give back to the youth” will not be obstructed, tweeting: “I will stand against extremism”, and “We will not give into threats”.

In his video message announcing his performance in Malé on January 8, Akon said he would appear after receiving Adeeb’s invite, joking that he had heard everyone was blaming the tourism minister for everything that goes wrong in the country while his 2007 hit ‘Sorry, Blame It on Me’ played in the background.

Related to this story

Jamiyyathul Salaf calls on government to cancel “sinful” Sean Paul concert

Online jihadists threaten Sean Paul with death ahead of New Year’s concert

Islamic Ministry expresses concern over Akon’s SuperFest


Police prepare for ‘Tourist Arrival Countdown Show’ as revised lineup announced

The Maldives Police Service (MPS) have said today that it is prepared for any event which might unfold at the ‘Tourist Arrival Countdown’ show held in Malé tonight.

Central Operations Command’s Deputy Head Superintendent Abdulla Shareef said that all security measures for the New Year’s Eve show held at the National Stadium have been arranged.

“All roads surrounding the National Stadium and leading up to it will be blocked for vehicle entry from 6.30pm tonight. We request all individuals wishing to watch the show to walk to the National Stadium,” said Shareef.

Shareef’s statements comes after Jamaican dancehall artist Sean Paul cancelled his scheduled appearance at the show, citing security concerns.

Tourism minister Ahmed Adeeb has today announced that the show will now feature Indian artists Salim and Sulaiman Merchant.

Sean Paul’s cancellation followed the posting of an online death threat against the singer last week, as well as calls from religious groups within the country to stop the performance.

“Unfortunately, the world has reached a point where cyber threats must affect real life decisions,” read a message posted on the artists official Facebook page yesterday (December 30).

Meanwhile, MPS confirmed today reports on local media that the service had searched a house and questioned an individual in connection to the video after obtaining a warrant yesterday.

Tourism minister Adeeb told Minivan News yesterday (December 30) that Sean Paul had decided to continue with the concert before pressure in Jamaica caused him to make the last minute decision to cancel.

The singer’s decision had come despite assurances from the President’s Office and the security services that the posted threat was a hoax.

Adeeb revealed on his twitter account today that the show will now include performances by Indian artists Salim and Sulaiman Merchant who arrived in the Maldives this morning.

The brothers – who perform under the name ‘Salim-Sulaiman’ – have produced music for several Bollywood hit films and come from a Muslim family in Gujarat.

Also speaking at the police press conference today, Drug Enforcement Department’s head Superintendent Ahmed Shifan said the police will not allow “illegal new year parties, especially those with illegal narcotics” to take place.

Shifan revealed today that the police arrested a 29-year-old man with 140 bullets of heroin while a 35-year-old Maldivian arriving from Sri Lanka was arrested with 30 “pieces of narcotics” which he had swallowed.

The past week has seen a large amount of alcohol confiscated in the Malé area, with police reporting seven individuals taken into custody within the last 48 hours after having being found in possession of alcohol on Hulhumalé.

Last weekend police confiscated 70 bottles of liquor and 70 cans of beer with a street value of MVR200,000 (US12,970) from Faamudheyrige in Maafannu ward in Malé.

Shifan had claimed that it was foreigners who are mainly active in Malé’s black market trade in alcohol, but said they received help from Maldivians, resulting in the confiscation of at least 400 containers of alcohol since December 1.

Related to this story

Sean Paul cancels New Year’s appearance, citing security concerns

Online jihadists threaten Sean Paul with death ahead of New Year’s concert

Sean Paul threat a hoax to create atmosphere of fear, says President’s Office

President Yameen warns of adverse impacts on tourism from threats against guests


Sean Paul cancels New Year’s appearance, citing security concerns

Jamaican dancehall artist Sean Paul has cancelled his appearance at tomorrow’s ‘Tourist Arrival Countdown’ show in Malé, citing safety concerns.

“Unfortunately, the world has reached a point where cyber threats must affect real life decisions,” read a message posted on the artists official facebook page this morning.

“With that said, due to safety concerns for my crew and the people of The Maldives attending the Tourist Arrival Countdown, it is with deep regret that I have come to the difficult decision to cancel my appearance.”

The cancellation follows the posting of an online death threat against the singer last week, as well as calls from religious groups within the country to stop the performance.

Tourism minister Ahmed Adeeb has told Minivan News that Sean Paul had decided to continue with the concert before pressure at home caused him to make the last minute decision to cancel.

“We discussed the situation with Sean Paul and he was convinced to come, but the Maldives is new to the Caribbean and he was under pressure from Jamaican media and from local fans,” explained Adeeb.

Adeeb revealed that the concert will go ahead, with organisers now planning to hold an additional show on January 8. He expressed regret at events but determination to hold a successful show.

“We will not give up and will make the best performance,” said Adeeb.

A tweet from the MP Ahmed Nihan early this morning showed that preparations for the show were continuing at the national stadium.

The organisers have joined the President’s Office and Adeeb in condemning attempts to defame the Maldives’ reputation in the international media.

President Abdulla Yameen had called on all Maldivians this week to leave aside political differences to assure a safe environment for visitors, while his office declared the threat to have been a hoax.


Sean Paul, who was to appear at the free concert upon the invitation of Adeeb, thanked his Maldivian fans for their support and wished for their continued safety.

“I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to the Government and the people of the The Maldives for their invitation and wish for them peace,” read the statement.

A joint statement from the Maldives Police Services and the Maldives National Defence Force yesterday also called for citizens to refrain from inciting fear and damaging the country’s reputation.

“It is the responsibility of the national defense forces to ensure the protection of all officials and visitors to the Maldives. Also, it is the duty of these forces to safeguard individuals who visit the Maldives for business, investment and to participate in meetings and other activities,” read the statement.

“The Maldives’ economy is dependent on income generated through tourism. The defense forces will not hesitate to bring to a stop any action which might hinder the economic development of the country.”

Police are reported to have searched a house and questioned an individual in connection to the video after obtaining a warrant. Spokesmen were not responding to calls at the time of publication.

Former President Mohamed Nasheed – himself often accused of un-Islamic policies by then-opposition groups – has tweeted this morning about the show’s cancellation.

“The government is hypocritical. However, no good is going to come to the Maldives by halting the government organized new year’s show,” said the opposition party leader.

Following the video threat posted on Youtube last week (since removed), Islamic Minister Dr Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed tweeted in condemnation of both the threat and the concert itself.

“Bringing foreigners to hold shows coinciding with the New Year is unacceptable. Issuing death threats is also unacceptable.”

“Lessons have to be learnt from the past of those who committed acts challenging the Muslim culture,” read a second tweet.

Tourism minister Adeeb explained today that plans for the concert had been discussed at cabinet level, and that Shaheem’s tweets were his own personal opinion and not those of the Islamic ministry.

Local religious NGO Jamiyyathul Salaf has also condemned the concert, calling upon “all brothers and sisters to refrain from participating in such misleading actions, and to do whatever you are capable of doing, in whichever field you can, to ensure that such activities cannot be carried out”.

Local media also reported that NGO Jamiyyathul Bayan had appealed to all religious leaders to take a stand against such ‘haraam’ music shows.

Related to this story

Online jihadists threaten Sean Paul with death ahead of New Year’s concert

Sean Paul threat a hoax to create atmosphere of fear, says President’s Office

President Yameen warns of adverse impacts on tourism from threats against guests


Building trust – Transparency Maldives calls for enhanced asset disclosure

Transparency Maldives’ 2013 Global Corruption Barometer Survey found 97 percent of respondents believed corruption was a problem in the public sector, while the 2013 Maldives Democracy Survey revealed an alarming lack of confidence in democratic institutions.

“Most striking of all, however, are the remarkably high levels of cynicism of the public. Maldivians are far more cynical than publics in other comparable countries,” concluded the ‘Democracy at the Crossroads’ report.

A position paper released by the anti-corruption NGO last week, however, suggests a way to repair the country’s threadbare trust in its public figures through an enhanced asset disclosure regime.

“Asset declaration generally requires a certain category of public officials—also identified as ‘politically exposed persons’ to describe individuals entrusted with prominent public functions—to disclose their financial and business interests,” explains TM’s paper.

TM note that an effective asset disclosure system can detect corruption, demonstrate the government’s commitment to fight corruption, help make officials accountable, and – crucially – increase public trust.

The paper was produced after consultations with the Anti-Corruption Commission, the secretary general of the Majlis, and with then-Auditor General Niyaz Ibrahim.

Niyaz was replaced in October after amendments to the Audit Act were rushed through the Majlis just days after a report from his office implicated tourism minister Ahmed Adeeb in a US$6 million corruption scandal.

The same report also noted that Adeeb had failed to disclose his assets – as required under Article 138 of the Constitution – since his appointment to the post in 2012.

Hobbled system

Although Adeeb has denied the allegations and since pledged to release his financial statement to the media, TM Advocacy and Communications Manager Aiman Rasheed feels the incident provides a perfect example of why asset disclosure is essential.

“I believe that it is a right for the public to know the truth regarding the allegations of corruption against Minister for Tourism Adeeb. Asset disclosure is a mechanism to put to rest baseless allegations and to hold to account perpetrators of corruption.”

Rasheed noted that, under the current asset disclosure system, it is impossible to either prove or disprove whether such charges are politically motivated attempts at defamation – as Adeeb has claimed.

“In addition to the already hobbled asset declaration system, the absence of a verification mechanism means allegations of corruption—in particular, those concerning misappropriation of funds and illicit enrichment—are not investigated,” read the position paper.

TM argue that various systemic deficits are hindering the effectiveness of the current constitutional provisions.

Members of the Majlis – perceived as the most corrupt institution in the 2013 corruption barometer – have previously told Minivan News of their support for asset disclosure, with some reservations.

While all MPs asked about the practice in a series of interviews prior to this year’s Majlis elections backed the system, some suggested the disclosure of family members’ assets and of individuals’ net wealth to be too invasive.

Former MP Abdulla Mausoom – who did not stand for re-election – also suggested that full public disclosure may reduce the quality of MPs, suggesting that voters may be reluctant to select less wealthy individuals.

A number of MPs suggested an alternative system whereby additional income gained after entering the Majlis be used to gauge any potentially illegal enrichment.


While the Constitution requires the president and cabinet, MPs, and judges to submit annual declarations to the auditor general, the Majlis, and the Judicial Services Commission, respectively, the subsequent information is not available to the public.

The former auditor general told TM that a lack of punitive measures for those failing to submit information rendered the system ineffective.

TM noted that the current system does not require the submission of assets for spouses and children of public officials “which makes cases of illicit enrichment and conflicts of interest invisible and harder to detect.”

“Moreover, the disclosure of business and activities outside the jurisdiction of Maldives, and details of substantial gifts or benefits are also not a requirement in the current system,” stated the paper.

Furthermore, a number of high level officials are overlooked altogether by the current system, including the vice president, members of independent institutions, officials of state-owned companies and even the auditor general himself.

The position paper concluded with a number of recommendations including greater uniformity in current regulations as well as support for their implementation.

TM called for full public disclosure of assets, noting the positive impact on public perceptions of corruption in countries where the public could access such records.

It was also noted that an independent verification mechanism would identify conflicts of interest as well as reducing undue influence.

“Perceived corruption is lower in countries that verify officials’ statement than in countries that do not verify declaration content,” said the NGO – citing the 2006 Global Corruption Report of its sister organisation Transparency International.

The same report was also mentioned to suggest that sanctions for non-compliance would also enhance the public’s trust in their democratic institutions.

“Implementing an strong asset disclosure regime would show the state’s commitment to fight corruption and would give a strong message to public servants, a message of zero tolerance to corruption,” said Rasheed.

“We must do away with the culture of secrecy to prevent illicit enrichment, fraud, etc, and to do that, asset disclosure is key.”

Related to this story

Transparency Maldives reveals growing perception of corruption

Democracy survey reveals crisis of confidence in democratic institutions


Sean Paul threat a hoax to create atmosphere of fear, says President’s Office

The President’s Office has said that the online death threat against Jamaican dancehall artist Sean Paul was a “local hoax” aimed at damaging the country’s reputation.

“The investigation has revealed that the threat is designed to dissuade visitors, create an atmosphere of fear and disappoint the many thousand fans of Mr. Sean Paul who eagerly await the landmark concert in the capital, Male’.”

“The threat is also aimed at tarnishing the longstanding reputation of the Maldives as a destination of peace, security, and tranquility,” continued a statement released today (December 28).

The video (since removed) promised that “the world will see your burnt and blood drenched dead body,” should the artist perform in the Maldives.

Representatives of the singer are reported to be undecided about whether the performance is to go ahead.

Although the logo of the Bilad Al Sham Media (BASM) group appeared in the Youtube video, the Syrian-based jihadi group immediately distanced itself from the threat, also suggesting a hoax designed to defame the country’s reputation.

Though it condemned the concert itself as an “ideological attack” on the youth, BASM accused the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party of being behind the threat.

Despite assurances from tourism minister Ahmed Adeeb that the concert would continue, Islamic minister Dr Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed has criticised the decision to hold the event.

Similarly, Adhaalath Party MP Anara Naeem and religious NGO Jamiyyathul Salaf have since spoken out against the concert.

The President’s Office today noted that the Maldives was famous for its peaceful people and its safety as a destination for over one million tourists a year.

“However, local authorities will take every possible measure to ensure the safety of Mr. Sean Paul and all his adoring fans in the Maldives, to ensure that the concert is a resounding success.”

Police have corroborated the President’s Office statement, saying that their investigations into the incident had revealed the threat to have been a hoax.

Message from artist

Meanwhile, Sean Paul has thanked the people of the Maldives for inviting him to perform, noting that he was aware of the concerns raised by some ahead of the concert.

“I have felt the love and support from many Maldivian citizens looking forward to the concert,” read a message posted on the singer’s official Facebook page.

“I have also heard the concerns of some citizens regarding the concert and the concerns of my fellow Jamaicans.”

“During this very holy season for people of all faiths, I pray for peace.”

Jamaican media yesterday reported that a final decision on whether Paul would perform was yet to be made, following the threat posted on Youtube on December 25.

“It is because I have the utmost respect for various religions and cultures that I have sought to travel the world to learn and to share,” read the status update on Paul’s page today.

“I support freedom of expression within whichever context best suits you and do not judge others based on their religious beliefs.”

Sean Paul’s publicist has been quoted in the Jamaican Observer as saying that the discussions with event organisers were ongoing.

“We are aware of the developing situation. We are currently in contact with all related parties concerning the concert to address the matter. No further details are available at this time,” Carlette DeLeon told the paper.

The ‘Tourist Arrival Countdown Show’ has been organised by event management company Chopart after tourism minister Adeeb invited the grammy award winning singer to perform in a free concert as part of the government’s tourism promotion efforts.

Although the event’s posters feature the ‘Sunny side of life’ logo of the Maldives Marketing and PR Corporation, when contacted by Minivan News today, the corporation said that it was not involved in arranging the event.

When contacted for further comment today, Islamic minister Shaheem stated only that the concert was not being arranged by his ministry before declining to comment further.

Tourism minister Adeeb was not responding to calls at the time of publication.

Related to this story

Jamiyyathul Salaf calls on government to cancel “sinful” Sean Paul concert

Online jihadists threaten Sean Paul with death ahead of New Year’s concert


Democracy House launches #policy22 campaign calling for youth participation in policy-making

Democracy House Maldives has launched its ‘#policy22′ campaign, highlighting the importance of youth participation in decision-making at the policy level.

The campaign – given its name in relation to the percentage of the Maldivian population classed as youth – seeks to create a platform where the youth’s concerns can be heard and acted upon by decision makers.

The youth-led NGO released a report titled ‘Youth Voices’ on December 25, with members of the youth community presenting the report to MPs outside the Majlis, and taking ‘selfies’ with those in support of the campaign.

Democracy House’s Dhumya Mohamed explained that the booklet contained concerns put forward by the youth through a number of consultations as well as including information from several reports on Maldivian youth.

“Over 40 individuals attended the last consultation. The most pressing issue brought forward by the youth was lack of opportunities to participate in policy level decision making,” said Dhumya.

The report notes that there is currently no culture of consultation with the youth despite making up such a significant proportion of the population. The report requests parliamentarians to get youth opinion during the legislative process and to ensure the freedom of expression guaranteed by the constitution.

Published last month, the booklet highlights additional problems brought forward during the consultations such as unemployment and the exploitation of youth in politics.

Youth unemployment

In the report, Democracy House expressed concern at the high youth unemployment rate, noting that there is little awareness and no proper enforcement of the Employment Act.

Suggestions to tackle the high rate of unemployment include utilising youth centers for youth leadership and capacity building programmes, and encouraging young entrepreneurs.

While speaking to Minivan News, Minister of Youth and Sports Mohamed Maleeh Jamal said that the government’s aim is to reduce unemployment to three or four percent in the next five years.

Maleeh pointed out that a youth unemployment register has been created and that there are 13,000 registered individuals within the system.

“We provide the database for organisations who are seeking recruits. However, we have received complaints of individuals not reporting to interviews, work, and also of quitting work within weeks,” said Maleeh.

Maleeh speculated that a significant percentage of youth unemployment is voluntary while stating that the government is running awareness campaigns and career guidance to increase the motivation of young people.

The #policy22 booklet noted a “disconnect” between the current school curriculum and life skills noting that many were “not able to handle adult responsibilities after we leave school.”

Democracy House states youth unemployment to be as high as 43 percent, though the International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates the figure to be at 30 percent. The current government has pledged to create 94,000 jobs during its term.

One request mentioned in the #policy22 booklet appears to be being addressed by the government, with President Abdulla Yameen launching the ‘Get Set – Maldives Youth Entrepreneurship Program’ last month. The scheme aims to provide MVR200 million (US$12.9 million) in loans to assist the development of small and medium sized enterprises.

Exploiting youth for political gain

The Democracy House report claimed that there is “misconduct and illegal activities” aimed at youth from the political arena such as “bribing and promises of advancement such as job opportunities, during campaigning”.

The report said that the youth is often used to gain numbers at political rallies and mobilised at political events “basically to make noise rather than do anything substantial”.

A 2012 assessment on gangs operating in Maldives said that many gangs receive income through exchanges with political actors or business people and that the exchange is usually in the form of money or sometimes alcohol.

The study read that gangs were given incentives to participate in political protests, start political riots, destroy property or injure a third party, and that money is often given to gangs to initiate a fight so as to divert media attention from a political issue.

Despite the strong youth platform of President Yameen’s election campaign, youth leaders have previously criticised the government for a failure to consult with youth groups when formulating policy.

Democracy House called for campaign activities to be better monitored, and candidates that go against political party and elections laws and regulations to be penalised.

Founded in 2008 the NGO aims to promote a culture of democratic ideals and values in the Maldives and amongst its people through educational initiatives.

Related to this story

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Islamic affairs minister calls for the preservation of independence on National Day

Minister of Islamic Affairs Dr Mohamed Shaheem has urged all citizens to refrain from actions which might threaten the independence of the country.

While addressing the nation on the occasion of National Day, Shaheem said that a nation will develop only if there is unity and peace within the country.

National Day is observed on the first of Rabee ul Awwal – the third month of the Hijri (Islamic) calendar – celebrating the victory of Mohamed Thakurufaanu over the Portuguese occupation in the year 1573.

“There is peace and calm within the Maldivian people. We have maintained Islamic unity and are strengthening ties with the Islamic Ummah (community),” said Shaheem this morning.

Shaheem’s Adhaalath Party is also reported to have called upon Muslims not to become involved in Christmas celebrations.

“The only festivals that Muslims should partake in are Eid-al-fitr and Eid-al-adha,” Haveeru reported the party as saying. “Partaking in another religion’s festival or celebration is akin to adhering to another religion”.

The paper has also reported that customs have seized a number of items imported as Christmas decorations for a resort in Noonu Atoll. Religious materials deemed offensive to Islam and idols for worship are prohibited in the country.

A special National Day flag-raising ceremony was held this morning at Republican Square, with Minister of Home Affairs Umar Naseer attending as the chief guest alongside high ranking officials from the Maldives National Defense Force.

The ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) leader and former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom tweeted his greetings on the occasion to all Maldivians.

Also tweeting was former President Mohamed Nasheed who called upon the Maldives to take the example of Mohamed Thakurufaanu, who “fought against the colonial power of the Indian Ocean at the time for the freedom of Maldives”.

Folklore holds that Thakurufaanu – from Haa Alif Utheemu in the North of the country – set sail to the capital Malé alongside his two brothers and companions in order to bring an end to the 15 year Portuguese rule in the Maldives.

Using the cover of the night and their famed vessel – known as ‘Kalhuohfummi’ – the  brothers are said to have landed on different islands every night, fighting the Portuguese and outmaneuvering the their vessels by using their knowledge of the Maldivian oceans.

The brothers landed in the capital in 1573 where they fought against the Portuguese soldiers garrisoned in the capital. Mohamed Thakurufaanu is sais to have shot dead the infamous ‘Andhiri Andhirin’ using a musket, thus ending the 15 year oppressive Portuguese rule.

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Majlis committee demands details from education ministry over deputy principals’ removal

The Majlis government oversight committee has demanded the ministry of education submit all relevant information regarding the removal of deputy principals from the schools.

Vice-Chair of the committee Maradhoo MP Ibrahim Shareef told local media that the letters demanding information will be sent today, with the ministry being given until tomorrow to submit the information. The committee also decided to summon serving deputy principals to clarify information.

The post of deputy principal has been abolished under a new organisational structure approved by the ministry for public schools. The ministry has said persons currently serving as deputy principals would be transferred to different posts in lieu of dismissal.

State Minister for Education Dr Abdulla Nazeer told state broadcaster Television Maldives last week that the change was intended to strengthen school management.

The decision came as a surprise to the 188 deputy principals in the country, with some telling media they were not previously informed of the decision, expressing shock upon hearing the news.

The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) submitted the case to the government oversight committee, stating that the party wants to clarify the reasoning behind the decision and that the government could not dismiss civil servants without due process.

An unnamed deputy principal told that they were offered two options by the ministry – either take up administrative or other relevant posts or be laid off with three month’s salary paid up front.

State Minister of Education Dr Abdulla Nazeer – while speaking to state television – said that the ministry’s aim was to eradicate the deputy principal level in the organisational structure in order to bring the principals closer to the teachers.

“The majority of the deputy principals are performing administrative level tasks at the school which should be done by administrative officers instead. We want to task the deputy principals with more academic related work,” said Nazeer.

The MDP severely criticised the government for its plans, however, stating that the decision was “inhumane” and “uncivilised”.

Speaking to Minivan News, former Education Minister Dr Musthafa Luthfee said that the government decision lacks any professional reasoning, speculating that it was taken to appoint more political figures to the ministry.

“Right now there are around 12 political figures at the education ministry therefore all the decisions regarding the education are made at a political level. This leads to problems because such decisions should be taken by educated academic professionals instead,” said Luthfee.

He also pointed out that, even though the deputy principals should have been contacted by the civil service commission regarding the issue, some were consulted through mobile phones and at cafes by political figures.

Deputy Minister of Law and Gender Aiminath Nadira said in a tweet that the decision would leave a lot of women in a vulnerable position (most deputy principals are women) and that the government needed to find a good alternative solution.

Luthfee also alleged that a circular was sent to the schools specifying that the chief guests for school-related events should only be brought after consultation with the ministry.

The MDP has also taken issue with the government’s spending plans for the education sector, which includes money for eight new political postings and over 2,000 new staff members.

Despite unrest among teachers this year, education minister Aiminath Shiham has said that the government has brought significant changes to the sector, including introducing Quran classes for the entire primary education and vocational training.

Around 90 percent of the teachers across the nation protested in September 21 by wearing black clothing to raise issues such as poor pay, inadequate  protection of teachers, and the failure to grant the Teachers Association of Maldives (TAM) official recognition.

The government avoided a full on strike at the eleventh hour after sitting down with TAM and creating a timeline in which to meet the demands of teachers.

Related to this story

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Authorities investigating Facebook adoption advert

Police have confirmed they are investigating reports that a woman in Laamu Atoll used Facebook to announce her one-week old baby was up for adoption.

Local media have reported that the Facebook post – since taken down – said it was “a golden opportunity for anyone who wished for a cute, cute baby girl.”

While Minivan News was unable to obtain comment from the Ministry of Law and Gender today, local media was told that the ministry was also looking into rights of the child having been violated.

“Ministry has set up special procedures and ways in which a child can be put into the care of another, in cases where parents are unable to look after the child. Or for the child to be taken immediately into State custody,” Deputy Gender Minister Shidhatha Shareef told Haveeru.

Local NGO Advocating the Rights of Children (ARC) explained that cases of adoption are very rare in the Maldives, and so there is no clear legal framework such proceedings.

Minivan News has been told previously that the Maldives has no formal adoption procedures, with courts instead permitting permit a long-term guardianships – normally by extended family members.

While officials from Maavah Island Council told Haveeru that the gender ministry had been notified when the woman gave birth on December 11, though the ministry said it had not been notified that the family did not have resources to look after the child.

The child was reportedly born in the health center on the island, which has a population of 1,270.

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Informal adoption laws and lack of legislation hampering Health Ministry