Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP for Thimarafushi in Thaa Atoll, Mohamed Mustafa, has spoken against one of the amendments to the Tourism Act in Parliament this week, amendments proposed by his party.
Today he offered assurances that he “would still vote with MDP on the issue.”
Mustafa said he is mainly opposed to the extension of leases for resorts, which will lease islands to resort operators for a minimum of 50 years. This was proposed to make the Maldives a “more investor-friendly environment,” according to former Minister of Tourism Abdulla Mausoom, who spoke to Minivan News yesterday.
Mustafa believes reducing costs for the investor means “one man is getting rich, while the poor are getting poorer.”
“We don’t need to extend a lease to 50 years,” he said, “rather, the government can implement the Taxation Bill.”
He said he does not see how the amendment is beneficial to the people of the Maldives: “Why are we giving the benefits to rich people and not the general public?”
Although he expressed his concerns over the proposed amendments, he said he wanted to “confirm to Minivan News that I will not vote against my party. It’s one of the best parties.”
“I have my own opinion,” he said, but he still believes “the MDP are [working] for the benefit of Maldivians.”
Mustafa also spoke about his “intimidation” by certain MDP members, but said it was not a recent issue and had nothing to do with the Tourism Act.
He said his comments concerning intimidation by his party were “regarding a previous case that went to criminal court” a year and a half ago over a payment issue.
Mustafa said he was acting as a mediator for a payment that needed to be made to someone, whom he claims is “a known money launderer and strong supporter of the DRP”, and this person tried to cash in the same cheque twice.
“He had no right to take the payment the second time,” he said.
Mustafa claimed the case was then taken to court and he was not informed about it. He said “some senior MDP members were behind the case, but they are not MPs.”
He said his comments were taken out of context by the media, “which is putting their own style into things they don’t know. They are poisoning the minds of the public.”
Concerning the recent rumours that he was planning on leaving the MDP and moving to the People’s Alliance (PA), he said “I will never move to the PA, that is totally false.”
“I have nothing against my party, we are on very good terms,” Mustafa noted, adding that “MDP is a democratic party. It’s the most democratic party in the Maldives, and we are working to perform our pledges.”
“We work very well, cooperate, do our best for our party,” he said, “we are very strong, we walk as one. I will never leave my party, I would rather resign [politics],” he added.