Vilufushi MP Riyaz Rasheed, deputy leader of the Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP), has proposed dissolving the party’s coalition with the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP), contending that DRP MPs are working against the interests of the national unity government of President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik.
MP Riyaz Rasheed declared at yesterday’s sitting of parliament that the coalition with DRP “no longer exists” after an abstention by DRP MP Ali Azim allowed the now-opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) to narrowly win a vote to debate a motion without notice on police brutality.
Accusing the largest party in the ruling coalition of “making deals with the MDP,” Riyaz said at parliament yesterday that he “strongly condemn the efforts carried out jointly by DRP and MDP to plant doubt and suspicion in the hearts of people about the service of the Maldivian police and army.”
Riyaz noted that the current Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed was a senior member of DQP and claimed that Police Commissioner Abdulla Riyaz was a member of DRP.
The Vilufushi MP was not responding to calls at the time of press. Riyaz however confirmed to newspaper Haveeru today that he has submitted the proposal to the DQP council.
“The Qaumee Party will decide to sever the coalition agreement,” he was quoted as saying. “Whether or not I remain in the Quamee Party will come down to that.”
Riyaz explained that in addition to MP Ali Azim voting in the Government Oversight Committee against a proposal by the Waheed administration to form two new ministries, Azim’s abstention in yesterday’s vote allowed the MDP’s motion without notice to be debated.
DQP’s main priority was sustaining the national unity government until presidential election in 2013 acting as “a shield for Dr Waheed’s government”, Riyaz continued, accusing the DRP of undermining the national unity government.
DQP meanwhile released a statement yesterday calling on parties in the ruling coalition to refrain from any action that could “encourage the efforts of former President Mohamed Nasheed, who resigned on his own, to bring the two oldest institutions of the country into disrepute and cause loss of public confidence [in the police and military].”
The statement added that “abetting Nasheed’s efforts to cause division and discord among the public is against the pulse of the people.”
It was therefore obligatory upon all parties in the ruling coalition to “defeat and fail Nasheed’s efforts to bring the government into disrepute and harass the police and army,” adding that the security services had become “prey to unlawful orders” during the past three years of MDP rule.
“In spite of political rivalry, what the Maldivian people want right now is for the allied parties to work in one spirit,” the statement reads, adding that the ruling coalition should band together to “uphold the dignity” of police and army officers “working courageously and tirelessly day and night for religion and the nation.”
MDP’s motion without notice to debate both alleged police brutality and recent incidents involving police and army officers in uniform robbing expatriates was voted through with the support of two independent MPs – Kulhudhufushi South MP Mohamed ‘Kutti’ Nasheed and Dhuvafaru MP Mohamed Zubair – and government-aligned Jumhoree Party MP Abdulla Jabir.
MP Ali Azim meanwhile tweeted today: “When MP Riyaz Rasheed voted in favour of Speaker’s no-confidence motion, QP [Qaumee Party] did not utter a single word regarding the need for unity in coalition government and the best interest of the nation.”
On her twitter page, MP Rozaina Adam dismissed Riyaz Rasheed’s claim that current Police Commissioner Abdulla Riyaz is a DRP member as “an absolute lie”.
“CP Riyaz is not a DRP member. Never was. He was an advisor to DRP on law and order as a professional,” the MP for Thulusdhoo tweeted.
During yesterday’s debate, Rozaina argued that any issue of national importance submitted to parliament should be accepted for debate.
“There are a lot of issues we want to raise concerning this matter [alleged police brutality]. Thus, the only solution is not to dismiss the issue. The way forward would be to debate it,” Rozaina said.
MP Abdulla Jabir meanwhile concurred that motions without notice should be accepted for a debate on the floor.
Speaking to Minivan News today, DRP Deputy Leader Ibrahim ‘Mavota’ Shareef lambasted Riyaz as a political opportunist whose allegiances depended on “which way the wind blows.”
“I don’t take what Riyaz Rasheed says seriously,” he said, adding that his remarks had “no weight or substance” and that his political decisions were based on personal benefit and in favour of “whomever is willing to give him the biggest loan.”
“He is the oil man,” Shareef continued. “What he says and the way he votes always depends on the availability of credit facilities to buy oil. Look at his past history of voting in the Majlis and what he has said when he was in the Special Majlis.”
On April 26 this year, the State Trading Organisation (STO) issued a press statement announcing that it would file a case at Civil Court to recover Rf19,333,671.20 (US$1,253,804.88) unpaid by MP Riyaz’s Rasheed’s Meridian Services.
STO and Meridian Services signed an oil trade agreement on March 31, 2010, which offered the company a credit facility worth Rf20 million (US$ 1,297,016.86) for purchasing oil from STO, stipulating that payments had to be made within a period of 40 days.
However, in August 2010, STO lowered its credit limit from Rf20 million to Rf10 million (US$648,508.43) and shortened the payment period from 40 to 30 days, prompting Meridian Services to sue STO for alleged breach of contract.
Meanwhile, on Riyaz’s accusation that the DRP was “making deals with MDP,” Shareef said the Vilufushi MP suspected so because he was “number one for making deals.”
“He has made deals with both governments of [former President] Nasheed and [former President Maumoon Abdul] Gayoom,” he alleged.
On the possible dissolution of the coalition agreement with DQP, Shareef insisted that the party was “not worried.”
“DRP is a party that can stand on its own feet now,” he said. “We will always work in the best interest of the nation in line with the views of the majority of our members.”