MP pushes no-confidence motion against Education Minister

MP for Fares-Maathodaa Ibrahim Muttalib has announced that he will file a no-confidence motion against Education Minister Dr Musthafa Luthfy over the ministry’s steering committee’s recommendation to make Islam and Dhivehi optional subjects for grades 11 and 12.

Appearing on Television Maldives’ ‘Q&A with Miqdad’ programme last night, the independent MP argued that the decision would undermine respect for religion and language among youth.

Muttalib claimed that Luthfy told him that students of Arabbiya School, which was shut down after a wall collapsed, would be transferred to other schools.

“We now believe that national education matters will not go well because of the attitude and thinking of the Education Ministry, especially Mustafa Luthfy,” he said. “So [Luthfy] should either make amends or resign.”

Muttalib, former treasurer of the religious conservative Adhaalath party, said he had drafted the motion and hoped to secure 10 signatures from MPs needed to submit a motion of no-confidence.

The decision

“Now the education minister is saying it was not his decision to change the two subjects to optional,” Muthalib said today. ”I want the minister to tell us whose idea was it then.”

Muthalib claimed that Luthfy told him last week that there was “no way” the decision could be reversed.

”If the education system implements a curriculum like this, students would be moved away from religion and mother tongue,” he said. ”I would not support such a curriculum that discourages the use of our own culture and language.”

While he could not predict how MPs would vote on the motion, Muttalib said “there are many MPs who respect religion.”


Education Ministry team
Education Ministry team

Luthfy told Minivan News today that while he had watched the TVM programme, he did not think Muttalib “was serious.”

He added that he did not want to comment on the no-confidence motion.

“It’s not true that I said in a meeting last week that there was no way the decision could be changed,” he said.”It’s not my decision. It’s only a suggestion by the ministry’s steering committee.”

Luthfy has stressed that the decision of making Dhivehi and Islam subjects elective has not been finalised.

A Curriculum Team at the Education Development Centre is currently at work on revising the national curriculum for the first time since 1984.

“Political coffin”

The Adhaalath party yesterday condemned the Education Ministry’s decision, characterising it as Luthfy putting “the final nails in his political coffin.

An angry crowd protested outside the minister’s house on Tuesday night following the Adhaalath press release.

Sheikh Hussein Rasheed Ahmed, president of Adhaalath party, said today that did not wish to comment on the no-confidence motion.

”It is not our concern,” he said. “Our problem is that Education Minister is misbehaving.”

The State Minister for Home Affairs said the party had discussed the issue with Luthfy on several occasions.

“This is a national issue.” he said. “He cannot solve a national issue on his own. He has to discuss with the cabinet, parliamentarians and senior government officials.”

Senior officials at the Education Ministry has stressed that the steering committee’s recommendation would only be implemented following cabinet deliberations.

Main parties

Opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Abdulla Mausoom told Minivan News today that it was imperative that Maldivians “try to save their identity.”

“The school curriculum should also be designed in a way that would help save the country’s identity, which is religion and language,” Mausoom said. ”Dhivehi and Islam are both very important subjects.”

He added that the state had a responsibility to preserve and protect national identity and culture.

“The main reason why I do not like this government is that they never prefer to discuss any issue -and even if they did [want to] they rarely they do it- but they never would accept the recommendations and suggestions,” he said.

The MP for Kelaa said that the DRP parliamentary group will discuss the issue and decide its stance.

Meanwhile, ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Alhan Fahmy said the time had not yet come to take up the issue at parliament.

”It would be a very big issue if they were removing the two subjects from the school curriculum,” Alhan said. “But if it is optional that means any student who wishes to study it can study it. Students have the opportunity. I don’t see what all the fuss is about.”

Alhan said the issue was being blown out of proportion to serve political purposes, adding that the MDP parliamentary group had not officially discussed the matter yet.

Statistics of the Education Ministry show that of the 7,137 students who sat for the GCE O’Level examinations last year, only 32 per cent passed in five subjects, while 2,284 students qualified for higher secondary education.


35 thoughts on “MP pushes no-confidence motion against Education Minister”

  1. Muththalib is the worst thing that happened to Maldives politics in its recent history. He would go to any extent to exaggerate things and twist facts. He is someone who continuously takes advantage of the love we have for Islam and uses it to promote his extreme versions of politics.

  2. Ibrahim Muttalib appears to be completely and utterly incompetent. He keeps on proposing bills that would favor the religious right and destroy the future of our nation. Every single time he blows a tiny little issue out of proportion.

    Apparently allowing someone to take their wedding vows in Maldives is to pave the way for Churches, Synagogues, and even Satanic Rituals. He was able to get into News Papers around the world with his instance that Maldives bans all forms of worship other than Islam in Maldives - to the point where foreign media ended up reporting it as a bill to ban ALL non-muslims.

    He is careless and with this bill he is not giving thought to how much the youth of our nation will suffer.

    And Mausoom, Of course Dhivehi and Islam are important subjects. Thats why children get 10+ YEARS of it before they reach the 11th grade. But can you honestly say that it will help them succeed in life? That it will help our our nation join the world economy? That it will help us diversify our populous so that they can compete better with those in our region?

    This is complete and utter nonsense. And for those who say Adhaalath has no MPs, think again.

    And MDP MPs, if you hang out Dr. Luthfi to dry just because you want to avoid the issue of the Guantanamo Bay detainees for another week, then it shows just how committed you are to both the President's policies, our developmental framework, and the good of the nation. I have defended you all at every turn (apart from Reeko when he was throwing a hissy fit), I campaigned for you during the Majlis election, and have always advocated an MDP Majority Parliament so that this administration's polices could be put through. Dr. Luthfi in turn has also defended the government stringently, even going against GIP's party line. Each one of your characters will be tested by this vote.

  3. Taking a no confidence vote is not at all the remedy for this. Reading this article, I understand Dr Luthfy is not the culprit but merely a victim of this drama.

    “Luthfy has stressed that the decision of making Dhivehi and Islam subjects elective has not been finalised.” So there is still hope. We need the education ministry to consult relevant people before they make a final decision on this.

    Taking the issue to the cabinet or the parliament will be useless. They are not the most qualified people to think about what to teach and what not to teach to the brightest of our students.

    The only reason why this issue arose in the first place is because we want to strengthen our education standards and produce good results.

    Why blame teaching of Islam and Dhivehi and project these subjects as detrimental to such an aim?

    Why not strengthen the teaching of whatever they teach at CHSE?

    Making Islam and Dhivehi optional and using substandard measures to improve the standards will not make things any better.

    What we really need is a strong and solid set of measures to improve the standard at CHSE without making Islam and Dhivehi optional.

    We are a small nation. We do not have very many things as our heritage. Our language and our religion are few of those things we can be proud of. And if we do not want the brightest and smartest of our students to know our language and religion more than the rest, what is the message we are giving?

  4. Islam and Dhivehi are compulsory subjects from Grade1 to 10. For the majority of our students schooling ends at this point. For the 10,000 students or so leaving school every year, they go on to post secondary education and training , employment, or just choose not to do any of these.
    Post secondary schooling is currently available in the Maldives as
    a) pre university studies (A levels) which caters for at the moment, for only a very small percentage of our students leaving school ,
    b) foundation courses leading to further study either at tertiary institutions
    c) b) vocational and technical education, offering skills based /competency based education and training in various trades, i.e. IT, engineering, hospitality and tourism, building trades, nursing, preschool education etc ,
    d) and courses and programmes which people do for their personal development and enjoyment, not necessarily for employment, such as cookery courses, IT courses, Quraanic study, Islamic studies, languages, business studies etc.

    I see the political parties pouncing on the Minister of Education as pure political soap opera aimed at political leverage.

    I fail to see just why the national identity of the whole nation is compromised if just the very few who choose to do A levels after GCE O levels choose not to do these subjects?
    Why has the Ministry of Islamic Affairs not addressed the issue of Islam and Dhivehi not being offered at all other educational programmes and courses in the country?
    As for the education of our population who are not in any formal education programmes, just how much of the content of programmes run by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs and the Adhalath party support the preservation of our national identity and the Islamic identity of our people? What I see is the import of controversial characters with a global reputation for preaching the narrowest possible interpretations of the Quraan and the Sunnay creating division in societies being invited to our country. I see the promotion of cultural norms and practices of other cultures alien to our own. I see Arab cultural imperialism at work. I see the highest government institution given the task of creating and maintaining the essence of Islam in this country and to preserve religious unity failing to bring Adhalath to our people and failing to touch move and inspire our young people towards spiritual upliftment. I see the rapidly growing rift in our young people, the young men recruited with the lure of polygamy and misogyny and sirens in heaven, highly attractive in our patriarchal society. I see our women being brainwashed with cultural codes and norms from cultures where women can hardly read the Quraan and do not know the fundamentals of Islam such as prayer, let alone read and write and who believe that the sole existence in life is to serve man their master.
    As for the Adhalath Party, where is the Adhalath in the Adhalath Party as justice is being perverted everyday in our society? Where the concern for our people’s safety as our children and women are raped and molested, when criminals are being set free through a corrupt judiciary and when our children are dying from the drugs brought in and sold through people in well placed positions in society? Where was the voice of the Adhalath Party when the issue of Jaariyaas came up? When did we hear the voice of the Adhalath Party when our people are being stabbed and killed on our streets? If any vote of no confidence has to be taken in parliament, it has to be a vote of no confidence in the Ministry of Islamic affairs and the leadership of that Ministry.

    I have watched, I have listened, I have read much of the literature coming out from the Adhalath camp, and I have spoken with many of the so called Islamic leaders who have decided to be the conscience of our nation. I see deep entrenched loyalties and attachment to the cultures they have studied in and a missionary zeal to convert us Maldivian to the narrow minded fascist cultures they have lived in. They have no loyalty or attachment to our customs, our culture, and our identity as a people.
    The Adhalath Party came into this government riding on the back of the Republic Party which they quickly divorced after they got into government. That they continue to be in the cabinet after the divorce is clearly a choice President Nasheed has consciously made. The President has the power to appoint anyone he wishes to any political appointment.
    At the end of the day President Nasheed is accountable for the actions of the political appointees he has brought into the Ministry of Islamic affairs. I have the highest respect for President Nasheed’s vision and his formidable political skills. I also see his view that the government should not intervene in religious affairs.
    But when a government institution representing a party working against the manifesto of his government attempts to hijack and sabotage the very essence of our manifesto and our national identity in the name of Islam, it is not politically smart to allow this to continue. The financial, and missionary systems that have been set up in the Maldives over a period spanning decades for the conversion of the Maldives into a Taliban state and which the former regime was well aware of, is far too powerful for us the people to work with at this stage as we take our baby steps to reclaim our identity and reconstruct our nation.

    As for the political parties, its time the DRP and the PA and the DQP and the MDP woke up to the reality that while they have been bickering, the Adhalath Party and its numerous connections have been quietly and swiftly turning the Maldives into a Taliban state.

  5. To claim that making Dhivehi and Islam from higher secondary optional would somehow make us lose our "culture & identity" is ridiculous.

    No where is culture or identity taught.

    Our culture is bodu beru, roanu veshun, liye laajehun, kunaaviyun, libaas, feyli, eidhu kulhivaru, bodu mas, maali erun, mas verikan and countless other activities and athuveri masaikai' that is being lost and forgotten.

    I don't recall any of that being taught properly, ever, actually. If essay writing and xenophobia is all of what our culture is about; then I am ashamed to be a Maldivian.

    If anything, a separate subject needs to be created that actually teaches students Maldivian culture.

    Adhaalath is extremely smart. They are playing their cards perfectly.

    At first they were against the DRP, and the MDP picked them up and put them in power.

    Now that they're in power, they're going to just use the DRP (who would do anything to hurt the MDP) to push their agenda again; until they weasel their way into some untouchable position.

    And I don't even know what to say about this statement:

    “Our problem is that Education Minister is misbehaving.”

  6. 1. No one is trying to REMOVE Dhivehi and Islam curriculum from Higher Secondary.

    2. It was suggestion by the advisory committee that has not been decided yet.

    3.Compulsory Education ends once the students COMPLETES grade 10. Students are transfered from one grade to another regardless of their performance till they complete Grade 10. Thus every student has the opportunity to study Islam and Dhivehi.

    4. May be it is due to above reason that the government jobs require that the applicants hold at least a C pass in Dhivehi SSC(Secondary School Certificate) and NOT Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC)

    5. All the fuss about preserving heritage and religion is just another opportunity to (A)disrupt the parliament and (B)mislead people.

  7. Muttalib said “there are many MPs who respect religion.”
    but it has nothing to do with religion!
    Alhan sounds a bit mature among the MPS. not a fan, but i think he gets mature day by day

  8. Mutholibs' proposals to the Majlis have all ended in the dustbin. His arguments are irrelevant. People like him don't deserve to represent citizens. What a big time waster?

  9. The Government has been elected by the people for five years to do their job as per the best the government sees fit. Let the government do their bobs. Now this Adalthath seems going beyond any rationale which is normal for this kind of uneducated mullahs who think every thing is Islam even if it does not make any sense. Look at the attitude of Mullahs Rushed. Seems that his brain cells are all dead. For him there is no common sense, everything for him is some quranic verses and that’s the end of the world. No respect for others view, and acts on the TV like an agitated animal.
    Let the Government to their job and if the people do not want them this government will rejected by the people. This Adalath and other negative forces are destroying the country.

  10. Reeko Moosa says, there will be No MDP, or a Goverment without Adalath...What Reeko says is final says the President, So what adalath says does matter. If You cant understand that then find a football and start kicking it. OR else 'amilla echchah ereynee fain'

  11. pure politics. this is just about Adhaalath trying to bully and intimidate another Minister.

    Someone should tell Sheikh Rasheed: while you might like to think God has appointed you the sovereign of Maldives, our president is elected by the people.

  12. Muthalib is becoming a joke in the majilis. This guy is a wannabe seyku who seem to represent Adaalath's view in the parliament. The only thing which Adaalath know about the world is what is in Afghanistan and Pakistan. God help our country!

  13. Threatening someone is considered terrorism. I see Adaalath do this all the time.. Sooner or later we have to label Adaalath Party as a terrorism organization... They actually are..! They are the political arm of Pakistani Taliban based in Maldives.. If the Maldivian Intelligence do their work, soon we will find out who they are..

  14. To Adhaalath,

    it's not the child who will decide, its their parents. Parents being adults should know what is good for their kids. So shut up and let them decide.

  15. There must be a way to get a 'no-confidence' motion in idiotic Members of Parliament?

    Surely, citizens should not have to endure the stupidity of MPs like Muttalib for the entire term of the Parliament.

  16. “The main reason why I do not like this government is that they never prefer to discuss any issue -and even if they did [want to] they rarely they do it- but they never would accept the recommendations and suggestions,”

    MP for Kelaa, hello? The whole curriculum was discussed to death and revised by a NATIONAL committe!!

    MP for Kelaa seems to be another sleeping MP!

  17. Seriously, I think we need some minimum qualifications for anyone who intends to stand for a Member of Parliament.

    They all should pass a compulsory intelligence and common sense test! That should get rid of all these moronic MPs who are wasting our money!

  18. Ahem, if you all feel MPs should have standards. I say we unite and say something about it. No point in prolonging this suffering.

  19. This is so sad , our beloved Nation future is just getting abused each day by so called religious scholars who just wear the mask and show they are being sincere to this country. And the Political Losers of Yesterday have vowed and determined that no good shell happen to this countries development. All they have in mind is revenge Anni and his gov for ousting there 30 years of power and the great lush life they were having.

    Our education system cannot and should not be influenced by politicians or Scholars . Politics should not get involved with this . Religion is with everyone of us as we are brought up and our fundamental is all under our religion. we all do not have to be scholars to be muslims.

    Education system, This is where the countries whole future gets shaped up on. We cant all be Sheiks. we need to have a full functional educational system which we can choose our path of career and focus what we need to be in future.
    In order to succeed in life as individual and contribute to the Nation to build a better place.

    We need to Stand Up for these issues , this is serious we cant let this bastard politicians and Syko Sheiks just manipulate everything and abuse as this is just there sex toy.

    Our Identity our religion is with us as long as we find a a civilized and more realistic way of living.

    I Call upon all Youth and Concern Public to Stand Up , make our voice heard for this ignorant bastards and let them know we don't need Politicians to play dirty politics in our education system and let it all be Option. Let us all Study what we prefer and choose our Path for our Future.

    Lets make a venue, time and a date to Demonstrate our Support with the Education Ministry Policy.

  20. Venue: Varunulaa Raalhu Gadu
    Date: 27th May 2010
    Time: 2100hrs

    Cause: Save Education System from Politicians & Scholors

    Any suggestions! , if this is something positive, we shell all do mass sms and bring our friends Make our Voice heard . Lets get this rolling.

  21. @ Yokyok

    I am with you on this.
    How about raising the standard for all contestants of the post of an MP in the future to a minimum of a university degree form a recognised institution?

  22. agree with Jimbe! although the meaning of protests have comepletely changed by the political parties of this country...

  23. @Isotope

    Its not about the standards only , but its a good thought , maybe we should make minimum standard as 4 AL Pass and not to be a Scholor.

    And have a system implemented if popularity of member is gone to force him to resign or be able to take his seat.

    Or else MP's will always forget why they are elected.

  24. Oh yeh ..lets sign a petition demanding minimum qualification for MP's. Today we are spending money on a group of morons who simply waste our money and try to build their profile only. Utter rubbish. Nothing else. We need to build a modern society. To the sheikh's of Addalath I say, we respect you guys, we all love and follow Islam but dont try and take us back to the 10th century.

  25. Muttalib the Joker again!!!! Since when did he become a religious scholar? Going on to the public media and speaking about religion. "ROANU EDHURU" people like Muttalib bring disgrace to the religion we dearly hold to our hearts.
    And since when did Adhaalath become defender of our faith. Are they getting "wahee" - the way they talk seems like so. Because whatever they say and want about Islam seems to be the ONLY RIGHT WAY. Why don't people like Fareed, Hussain Rasheed and Ilyas declare the certification they have with regard to Religious Studies / Knowledge.

  26. The worst thing that happened to this country is NOT muttalib.

    It is this debilitating disease of bringing "religion" and a paranoid, alarmist "true Islam under attack/threat" mentality that seems to be the only 'policy' that a certain political party has made mainstream, and other parties have mindlessly adopted as well.

    Since that day, this country has been unable to discuss or implement ANYTHING without this factor creeping in.

    For all practical purposes, We're already a theocracy whether or not we admit it.

    Is it safe to say that our second experiment with democracy has also failed?

  27. The demonstration and strikes happens when fundamental rights are violated. But the jokers of Adalath organize and incite such a thing to make policies to violate fundamental rights. Free choice is fundamental right and when the Ministry is trying to protect fundamental rights, these jokers are coming on the street to force the government not to implement anything that gives free choice.
    If Islam is against Human Rights than do not talk about Islam, let the government do things that are norms in today’s world. Can someone put sense in to these Mullahs brains?

  28. Why the Maldives cannot have Einstein, Galileo, or Darwin of Maldives. Why we only have Ayathulla Khomeini or Uthama Billadin. Lets one day Maldivian Einstein do underwater explosion and create a small human made country for Maldivian. Forget this Adaalath and all conservatives. Make the education system for students an interesting thing.

  29. We need to act now , we need to stand up do petition or gather and support to get the system implemented as designed now. Someone should do a draft Petition and we can approve it get it printed and start getting singnatures from supporters.

  30. well said Abdulla (Fri 21 May). Adhaalath had noting to say when the government extended her arms to help sort out the innocent Muslims snapped up by Bush after 9/11. Adhaalath had noting to say when the government reached out help sort out differences amongst Muslims at war in Afghanisthan. Adhaalath do not display an ounce of "adhaalath" for the overtures this Muslim country is making to create space for peace among Muslims. It is as if the Adhaalath Party thinks Maldivians are idiots....sorry Adhaalath, we are doing just fine, I think you fellas are barking up the wrong tree....the fall will hurt!

  31. come on dudes .... dhivehi raaje nerun beyra nukuthee ma beynun nukurevey ..certificate e eyee ..dhen kihaa bodu undhagule.... kiyavaa kudhin na shey undhagoo vanee ..not for politicians.... anekaa mihaaru computer and things are there i think the whole grammer of dhivehi is covered in 10 years dhoa haam jesun kuran vegen ulhenee ...

  32. @Akbar

    Did you say "Make the education system for students an interesting thing"?

    That's one of the easiests things to do!

    Just make wearing any sort of clothing OPTIONAL!! Students will not only love it, but will not miss even a single day.

    Within a few months you will have Maldivians Darwins,Einsteins crawling up in the classes and school yard!

  33. @Abdulla on Fri, 21st May 2010 3:53 AM!
    However right you are, the blind can see nothing!

    Utter nonsense is not what we need and can afford at the cost of the people!

    @jimbe on Sat, 22nd May 2010 2:52 AM!
    I agree with your views.

    Politics and fanaticism should not be tearing this nation apart!

    It is hopeful if you could outline and draw-up a deadline for these petty, seat warming, good for nothing, too much of a burden on us MP's too!

    Pinball Parliamentarians like this Muththoyya and some others should be knocked off from the people's payroll!

  34. @Mujey

    Did you say "dhivehi raaje nerun beyra nukuthee ma beynun nukurevey certificate e eyee ."?

    When you leave behind the 'neru' do you also leave behind your 'naaru' and come back here to show us your 'nura'??

    Even today in the most 'advanced' countries they are removing their 'founding fathers' from the syllabus, who said that the church and state should be separate! But today in the most 'minute' countries in the world some short-sighted people are trying to rid us of our identity?

    This is only the first step to separate RELIGION and STATE?

    Dr.Musthafa Luthfy should be more specific, I guess?

    One thing more, Mujey! Do you live to EAT, or eat to LIVE?

  35. While I agree with Dr. Mausoom that the school curriculum should be designed in a way that would help save the country’s identity, how valid is this notion that Maldivian identity equals religion and language? Not only Mausoom, but Sheikh Majeed in his Friday sermon brought out this notion quoting some comparative 'facts' that sounded fairly dubious to me. He even went on to imply that if these two subjects are not made mandatory upon Yr 11 and 12 students, our youth could lose their national identity.

    Isn't national identity defined by a shared history? Do our Yr 11 and 12 students actually learn anything of Maldivian culture and identity as denoted by language, religion, tradition and a shared history, or for that matter, about the way of life of Islam?


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