Government revokes 24 hour licenses for shops and cafes, “for national security”

The Ministry of Economic Development has temporarily revoked the 24 hour licensing permits issued to businesses across the country, citing concerns over national security.

Deputy Minister for Economic Development Adam Zalif said the revoking of permits – which will affect 44 businesses in the capital Male’ – was a temporary one, the duration of which was yet to be determined.

“It has been done for national security reasons. Crime is increasing daily and Male’ is awake 24 hours a day,” he added.

Deputy Minister for Economic Development Shiham Waheed confirmed that the policy would come into effect as of tonight, with shops able to stay open until 11:00am and cafes until 1:00am.

A Male’ restaurateur told Minivan News on condition of anonymity that the move would create difficulty for businesses which had employed additional staff in order to cover extended opening hours.

He said that people had become used to the current hours, which were particularly useful for many Maldivians who worked unsociable hours. He also questioned the security benefits.

“Whatever people are doing, they will do anyway. People will still be in the streets,” he said. “[The government] don’t know what to do – they have no plans at all,” the restaurateur claimed.

Concerns about crime levels, particularly in the capital, have been heightened in recent weeks following the brutal murder of MP Dr Afrasheem Ali on October 2.

Afrasheem’s killing was the tenth in the country this year, following previous high profile cases such as the murders of prominent lawyer Ahmed Najeeb and policeman Lance Corporal Adam Haleem.

Following Afrasheem’s murder, parliament’s ’241′ Security Committee summoned Commissioner of Police Abdulla Riyaz to discuss issues including the MP’s murder and politicians’ safety.

Last week saw the cabinet urge President Waheed to take immediate steps to improve safety and security in the country with some MPs issuing a no-confidence motion against Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed.

Less than 48 hours later, the government announced its intention to introduce a bill to the People’s Majlis in order to guide the implementation of the death penalty – a sentence last carried out in 1953 against a man accused of practicing black magic.

President’s Office spokesman Masood Imad acknowledged at the time that the government was coming under “enormous pressure” to reduce the crime rate.

Religious NGO “Muslimunge Gulhun” has meanwhile stated that it would organise a demonstration calling on the state to implement and enact the death penalty on October 19 – a move it believes will reduce crime.

The Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) also announced that – after requests – it was to provide personal security to half of the cabinet, although Minivan News was informed that this was unrelated to the Afrasheem case.

Police spokesman Sub-Inspector Hassan Haneef said that in order to reduce crime the police would also be conducting increased vehicle searches between the hours of 6:00pm to 6:00am.

Police crime statistics – last updated on October 15 – show that recorded incidents of theft and robbery have already exceeded last year’s annual figures.

However the current figures for assault suggest that 2012’s recorded incidents will be similar to the previous year’s.

Much of the capital’s criminal activity is blamed on local gangs, the activities of which were recently documented in a recent report commissioned by the Asia Foundation.


9 thoughts on “Government revokes 24 hour licenses for shops and cafes, “for national security””

  1. This coup government is really clueless. It has no idea of how to do anything. No plans and no policies, just take action and then think. Seriously one would expect much better than this from a coalition government, but looks like nobody has any substantial action plans to address the severe economic and social issues we are facing. This is what happens when a bunch of politicians without any commitments to do anything for the population takes over a legitimate government. The only thing these people are capable of doing is protecting the corrupt and the police who go around beating people. This government is not a people's government for sure.

  2. Come on you dumb politicians ! Increasing crime had nothing to do with shops opening for 24 hours. Why don't you say because you eat crime is increasing. If the goverment claim is true then it will be places Singapore , Malaysia where crimes will be more. The truth is you people had fail to give justice to the victms. It was politicians who created this mess. Now you are so much concerned because one among you had been killed. What about 100 people who had been murdered in last five years. Aren't they humans?

  3. This is further evidence that the government has no interest in the welfare of the people. 24 hour businesses made life easier for everybody.

  4. Foolish Bagees. How about police patrolling the streets of the islands. All we see is police men taking female police officers for joyrides on their motorbikes. Or taking their children to school in Police vehicles.

  5. “Deputy Minister for Economic Development Adam Zalif said the revoking of permits – which will affect 44 businesses in the capital Male’ – was a temporary one, the duration of which was yet to be determined. “It has been done for national security reasons. Crime is increasing daily and Male’ is awake 24 hours a day,”

    The clearest evidence that this is NOT a “national security issue” is that President of Maldives backed by the country’s Defense Minister flanked by the Security Structure heads did not interrupt the TV programs to go live to announce to the country that the independence of this country was threatened. First a criminal court is a national security issue. Now 44 legitimate businesses are a national security issue. HOW BANKRUPT can these politicians get (Don’t we know who they are!!!!!)No wonder Dr. Waheed is keeping mum!

    Instead of them we have a shameless Muppet (I’m sorry but there is a limit to the assault of one’s intelligence, & I’m venting my frustrations admittedly not in the best way) – a DEPUTY Minister of ECONOMIC development (whatever that stellar name be in Maldives) who is saying our NATIONAL SECURITY IS UNDER ATTACK.

    This is a farce! THEY ARE PLANNING BAD THINGS! Dr. Waheed has been sidelined by the “Nasheed-types”.

    The plan seems clear. They have started restricting President Nasheed’s Defense team. So they are on their way doing all they can to convict the man obstructing his defense & from the looks of things they have decided to get a conviction by hook or by crook and are anticipating popular unrest. There are many who didn’t condone President Nasheed’s authoritarian slant but would rise against his being treated unfairly strictly from a human rights and rule of law point of view. For them President Nasheed’s rights are inviolable just as any others.

    Obviously this would provoke a huge backlash both internationally and nationally. They are anticipating Nasheed’s MDP to get onto the streets so they are preparing to pre-empt this by foolishly jeopardizing 44 bussinesses. This is probably the FIRST STEP in trying to restrict the people to demonstrate. The thinking is childish & they know they know as usual no citizen would challenge them legally.

    It’s beginning to look like President Nasheed won’t have a free trial. It’s looking obvious that Dr. Waheed is sidelined & the politicians are taking the lawlessness and gangs that has erupted as a result of the crisis involving President Nasheed’s circus AS AN excuse to restrict freedoms and ultimately stymie street protests.

    There has arisen an urgent need for Dr. Waheed to be given support, and let him known that he has backing to chart this country towards democracy and tangible rule of Law. Obviously without a viable political party his hands are tied.
    Perhaps the time is right for citizens irrespective of party lines to come together to support Dr. Waheed. A movement is needed who treasures freedom and rule of law, who works to give voice to the Spirit of the Constitution & allowing for the plurality of views. A movement who works to expose corrupt and despotic practices. Such a movement of individuals without pretention to political office, working for freedoms and plurality of thought within the framework of the Constitution could give solid backing to Dr. Waheed to lead the way. Why Dr. Waheed?
    Because of his training and vast experience in the Western world has authentic Democratic credentials. He has shown that he is able to work with local politicians and the International partners. He has crucially shown that he is willing to listen to the people and sensitive to what society holds DEAR & SACRED. Thus a movement with no pretentions to political power of its own, with cross party participation to reclaim our land for ourselves. Such a movement has become a Dior need...
    We do have a law and order situation with rampant crime and violence. This, for the most part is due to some 30 gangs operating in 1.2 sq miles condoned, sponsored& used by politicians. If there is political will to give the order to clear Male of gangs (as all law abiding citizens would want), the MPS and the security forces could get rid of the GANGS in less than 1 week. In all probability the intelligence data is already available and what it needs is to give the order to the MPS to clear Male of the Gangs. The MPS is well trained to do that – Its just 1.2 sq miles with 500 gang members with swords (?) max in 30 gangs (?). DO U BELIEVE THIS IS A NATIONAL SECURITY ISSUE?

  6. This will probably increase crimes.

    As you can see, the baaghees are on the side of criminals - by forcing shop owners to leave, they give ample opportunity for thieves to break in.

    As the Afrasheem murder case has revealed, the CCTV cameras here are duds; there is no chance the crime will be reported or the criminals found.

    It falls to the common citizen to overthrow the baaghees by ballot, bullet and bludgeon if they want a safe life.

  7. The Male denizens are nocturnal by nature. In fact, all Maldivians are nocturnal and established nightbirds. Closure of business establishments after 1 am is going to increase crime and spiral social problems.

    Good luck with this one dho??

  8. @Abdulla Zayyid.

    Perhaps you are right!
    It looks like proper tools are given to criminals!

    If so, we can expect many robberies, perhaps involving Police and MNDF personnel which we have witnessed when the current Commissioner of Police was working under the then Police Chief, Adam Zahir.

    We have witnessed robberies and many things involving police and MNDF personnel during that time.

    We perhaps are going to see a well organized thing! A crime!

    With campaign for presidential election in 2013 started, those politicians (especially those who ripped apart a government elected by the people) will have to spend heavily.

    They will have to buy votes, and they will have to retain the goons they use as vices for many things.

    With this thing going, they can expect and get some breathing space!

    When all night activities are stopped, people will have the tendency to sleep early!

    Goons and police can have the streets at their mercy!

    While police keep eye for possible witnesses, goons can break shops, offices etc., and take away money kept in safes or elsewhere.

    All those involved, can share the booty and relieve pressure on the politician!

    Heads of those institutes, in charge of protecting and securing the rights of people, will zip up; the institutes and the innocent within them can get an awful lot of blame!


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