Negotiations between government, protesters, “very upsetting”, says Mahlouf

‘Peace talks’ held yesterday between the government and the ‘youth movement’ the opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) has claimed were responsible for organising last week’s protests have reportedly ended poorly.

Spokesperson for the opposition’s youth movement, Mohamed Ahusan, told Minivan News that their demands had been “dismissed” by the government representatives, who included Shauna Aminath from the President’s Office and State Finance Minister Ahmed Naseer.

Ahusan said the group’s demands included “reinstating the dollar rate, eliminating the dollar blackmarket, reduce political appointees and cutting at least some of their allowances, terminating foreign consultants, reducing water and electricity bills by reducing the fuel surcharge, and reducing the cost of living to the same level as 2010.”

However he said the government was not supportive of their requests, and accused Shauna of “making it political.”

‘’She said there were two solutions: one was an economic solution, and the second was a political solution,” Ahusan claimed. “She said the political solution was to arrest [former President] Gayoom.”

DRP MP and the party’s youth-wing leader Ahmed Mahlouf, who did not attend the meeting but requested police arrange the meeting with the government, described the meeting as “very upsetting.”

“Shauna, the Maldivian Democratic Party’s newly-elected youth-wing leader, represented the President’s Office and said the only solution would be to arrest former President Gayoom and his political leadership,
if there were any more protests,” he claimed.

“The President promised to bring the cost of living down in 2008 and to reduce electricity bills, and he has not delivered,” Mahlouf said, alleging that the government had “increased expenditure by 40 percent.”

Shauna would not comment on whether she had suggested Gayoom be arrested, and said the government was unable to officially respond to the group’s demands as they had no formal recognition as an NGO, committee or other such body.

“We met with four people who claimed to represent youth,” she said. “They presented a piece of paper they said was a youth proposal, but there was almost no discussion of what was on it.

“They talked a little about youth unemployment, and the rising price of milk, cooking oil and petrol. They said that young people did not have enough money to pay for coffees or petrol for their motorbikes.”

The group of four had “repeated the same messages being aired by [opposition] political parties: that the government had sold the airport to GMR, Dhiraggu to [Cable and Wireless], and that six people had control of the entire economy.

“Then they said they understood that the government’s [managed float of the rufiya] was necessary, but were concerned the government had not spoken about it beforehand.”

Minivan News understands that the proposal presented by the group included closing the national offices, ensuring government offices were not open after working hours, sacking foreign consultants, closing utility companies running at a loss, and reviewing expenditure on foreign diplomatic missions.

“The State Minister for Finance tried to explain the economic situation but it was not clear if they understood,” Shauna said.

“He explained that three billion rufiya had been printed, leaving the country with an artificial balance, and that the situation today was a result of economic policies of the past.”

“We explained that it would be very easy for us to keep printing money,” Shauna said, adding that the government had instead introduced new taxes such as the corporate tax and tourism goods and services tax (TGST) to bring long-term stability to the economy, despite knowing that it would be very difficult and unpopular.

Mahlouf said the protesters had not yet decided whether to continue the protests next Friday, “and would be working with parliamentarians this week to decide if we should go ahead.”


43 thoughts on “Negotiations between government, protesters, “very upsetting”, says Mahlouf”

  1. May I please suggest this PA guy to run for President first and then try to implement all these policies!

  2. This movement is not sustainable. Almost every demand shows now knowledge of current government expenditures. Without our bilateral relations abroad, we would have even less grants and less capital to do the work we need to do. And which national offices would they have closed?!

    Instead of asking for things that are ridiculous and don't make sense, why don't they ask for reasonable things. Like increasing the GST to at least 10% instead of the completely BS value of 3.5%?!?!

    Why isn't the CPT actually being implemented?

    Why isn't there any retention of money spent in the Maldives? Today every company dealing with tourism makes payments from one foreign bank account to another. If we require all money to spend at least a month in the Maldives, then the local banks in the country will have a constantly rolling source of revenue. The banks will then be able to bring more dollars into the country and the black market will gradually disappear.

    So why not protest for that?!

  3. “Should the government not implement our requests, the situation will get more volatile..there will be no scarcity of swords and knives, many youth will be wielding sticks and stones.. and even fire..and to create a disturbance, these youth except for a very few will do whatever we say..” said self proclaimed youth organizer of the so called Chandanee Magu nuisance, ( Mr. Botchey, a lackey of Mr.Yaameen), at Sunday’s talks. That’s when Ms. Shauna observed that such a situation calls for a political solution, which is the arrest of Mr. Maumoon and other political leaders. Tks

  4. “reinstating the dollar rate, eliminating the dollar blackmarket"

    Maybe they should also demand for an even better rate this time, why stop at 12.85?

    The govt should play smart. Agree to demands by reducing appointees and their salaries, also include a huge reduction in MPs pay in the same proposal.

    I have a feeling the protests would then stop.

  5. When the leader of the so called youth protest movement is the president of the youth wing of PA, which is in bed with Z-DRP and whose leader is the half brother of Ex-President Gayoom..are we the public really expected to believe that this is nothing political and is a spontaneous uprising?
    Oh and what stupidity to threaten goverenment representatives about knives and sword? I say enough of this 'hih thiri' bullshit, arrest Gayoom and end this once and for all. The country is being destroyed cause of power hungry people like this.

  6. Botchey is wasted youth of this country! He couldnt run a business of his own from a lended money of Thasmeen. He struggled to complete his studies at Malaysia and barely got passed. He currently runs undergound gangs for Yameen. AND now he comes for negotiation? what a mockery!!

  7. Are these youth who are leading this even not aware of basic economics when some people among them like Alken Bochey claiming an MBA. Then,its a pity if he has what he claims he has.

  8. can zuvaanun pls ask for the USD rate to be dropped to 0? and office hours to be changed to 1am - 2am as these hours are more suitable for zuvaanun and also free energy drinks and lunch. and 10 lavazzas a day. and factory unlocked iPhones for all zuvaanun.

  9. its a shame for the youth to get such a forcefull representative. like mr.boche'

  10. “reinstating the dollar rate, eliminating the dollar blackmarket, reduce political appointees and cutting at least some of their allowances, terminating foreign consultants, reducing water and electricity bills by reducing the fuel surcharge, and reducing the cost of living to the same level as 2010.”

    I'm so glad he didn't ask the government to appoint Black Magicians to take charge of the economy and everything else. Well, actually, his demands are equally unrealistic and laughable. If this guy is the best that the "youth" can offer, I'm deeply worried about our "youth".

  11. "They said that young people did not have enough money to pay for coffees or petrol for their motorbikes.”

    Ah, now we all know. They ran amock on the streets so that they can have cheap coffees and petrol for their motorbikes! Right! Really! "Hanaa vanee", my foot!

    No wonder these "youth protests" fizzled out. No one's going to protest so you could guzzle cheap coffee and petrol.

    My advice to petrol heads (and coffee heads): learn a skill before you waste your life and it's too late...

  12. "They said that young people did not have enough money to pay for coffees or petrol for their motorbikes."

    Should have been juicy soundbite for our visiting foreign journalists! Imagine a BBC news headline: "Maldivian youth demand cheaper coffee and petrol for their scooters..."

    Nice job, "youth"...

  13. Attacking you..isn't the answer..The fact is MDP government lacks a coherent economic day he talks of putting a policemen behind every dollar next day says he devaluating the currency....One must be blinded by the faith in color yellow to not see through the fog...what the president makes no sense..he has No scares the shit out of me , that we have a madman running the country that is supported by a bunch of people with lucrative government contracts and others with a deep hatred for the former president...unfortunately none thinks of out country and its suffering people...Bloody idiots, Maldivians are.

  14. Attacking the youth..i meant...and of course its about well as the suffering of the common man...and please don't complain people youth a still riding motorbikes and drinking coffee with expensive phones.....i get the feeling that most of the commentators want the economy to be destroyed..maybe MDP cronies have so much to gain from wasting our livelihoods....but believe me if a day comes where youth cannot afford motorbikes, coffee and cigarettes..than a worst fate will fall of President Nasheed than the first president of the republic.

  15. to tell the government for “reinstating the dollar rate, eliminating the dollar blackmarket, reduce political appointees and cutting at least some of their allowances, terminating foreign consultants, reducing water and electricity bills by reducing the fuel surcharge, and reducing the cost of living to the same level as 2010.” the "youths" wrack the havoc for seven nights? BRAVO a-h0[3$...

  16. Normally government in any country do not negotiate with terrorists... i wonder why Nasheed's government spent valuable time on this, they have much better things to do. From this bunch of Old Youths no one claims responsibility when damage is done. So what the point in meeting there requirement...

  17. Its time the registered NGO's come up with a sound proposal to be submiitted to the Government. These small guys representing the Youth dont know what they are talking about. The demands were stupid. What coffee and patrol for morbikes. U shud think of the students studying for A/levels when u cream shout on the roads.We cannot believe u have any Youth interest.

  18. Shauna used to be my girlfriend until Maria found out about us.

  19. Dear Salim Waheed,

    Please excuse my ignorance on these matters. But I am a little lost as to who lacks "knowledge of current government expenditures". You say that "without our bilateral relations abroad we would have even less grants and less capital". Please enlighten me how the following things help our bilateral relations and our ability to raise funds from bilateral sources.

    1. A man named Marc Limon is paid a salary of US12000 a month by the Maldivian Government to stay in Geneva. God knows what he is doing to raise funds or promote bilateral relations. There is a head of mission, a deputy, a trade representative and several other Maldivians based in Geneva.
    2. Some of our individual diplomats cost in excess of RF250000 a month. This doesnt include their petrol costs, drivers salaries etc.
    3. A certain MDP MPs brother in law is posted to Malaysia at the rank of a deputy minister. This man is barely able to communicate in simple English language. His salaries and expenses including his kids school fees cost the government close to RF150000 a month. Please enlighten us ignorant people on how this man and the mission he is working for is helping to raise funds from bilateral sources.
    3. Our mission in UK has a high commissioner, her deputy and several diplomats. Each diplomat costs in excess of RF80000 per month. The High Commissioner and deputy each cost over RF200000 a month. Please enlighten us on what they do and how they help to bring money through the bilateral contacts.
    4. A man named Adam Hassan, an ex-Gayoom crony who was based in london to take care of Gayoom's personal matters for over two decades continue to 'serve' as an ambassador. He was in Brussels and now in Saudi Arabia. He costs the Government over RF250000 a month is salaries and alowances. Tell me (a) is this the best man to do the job (b) is he doing anything, if at all to raise money from the so called bilateral sources?

    Sir, you are doing a disservice to your father the vice president of this country by choosing to comment.

    Thank you, sir!

  20. @salim waheed

    Mr.salim, have you really thought about what u just said? Just by increasing the tax percentage it solves everything eh?so resorts n travel agencies have to pay the SAME amount eh? Oh I forgot why should u think of the people of Maldives? You are just concerned for this corrupt government....afterall it's poor anni n dr. Waheed who can't afford the "kiru dhalhu".....I used to admire your writings but u r as biased.

  21. Shauna is only 23 years , just completed university education, she has no experience whatsoever.....I find extremely disturbing that the policy makers of this country consists of such people....How does she know anything possibly about the situation of this country 30 years ago? she is no position to speak about these things?....why doesnt the government find some " haru " people instead of all these loose kids...wasting our money on useless people.......Salim Waheed wants us poor citizens to bear the brunt by paying higher taxes so that MDP cronies can live a happy Anehdhivehiraaje life.....He like shauna is in no position to judge actions of Maumoon..

  22. Grievances such as these are exactly the cause of the unrest in Egypt, Tunisia etc. Millions of young unemployed men, who see no prospect of their lives improving, take to the streets and bring down their governments.

    However, as they soon discover, a change of government or regime has no effect on the lack of jobs for them and in fact the resulting unrest and negative national image damages the tourist industry. This makes life more difficult, which is why so many are now heading for Europe AFTER a new so called "democratic" regime is installed in their homelands!

  23. @Nars
    Ok you can refuse to believe Nasheed and this government has absolutely any idea on how to run an economy. And it is possible to doubt them as they are newcomers to the scene and we do see inflation raise and the dollar rate go up.
    However Nars you do believe the people in IMF does know a thing or two about economy don't you? And if they say this government's economic policies are on the right track and that the dollar floatation was done in consultation with them and they do support it, then can't we breath a sign of relief. Its not like IMF is staffed with a bunch of idiots.
    Its things like this that suprize me, ofcourse this government is not without its faults and needs its fair share of criticism, but when international bodies back what they are doing and when its been noted time and time again by them that our economy is in the tanks because of the huge budget's passed in the years previously, why should we criticize this government for that.
    What they are doing is needed, no matter how painful. If this Botchey or whoever was serious about getting the economy on track, they would have called for cuts to the civil service, asked to reduce the exhorbitent salaries of MP's and ofcourse asked to increase T-GST, so that the government could earn some money. For the last couple of years we have been living beyond our means, and its high time we stopped that. Oh and did you know IMF has asked for cutting down the number of civil servants as the bulk of the budget is being spent on salaries for them...and we all know that there are too many government staff if offices. Political appointees can also be cut down, but to only inist on that when it amounts to barely 3 percent of the budget is stupidity.
    Lets criticise this government for things they do wrong, not for things they are trying to do right.
    and yeah all the youths who require coffee and petrol money should learn to get damn job.

  24. @Derek Postance:
    there are about 110000 foreign expatriates working in this small country. so i am pretty sure these maldivian "youths" can get out and strive hard to pay for their coffee and gas. it is good for the foreign currency shortage the country is facing now as well...

  25. To say that Shauna does not have the capacity to do the job she is doing is insulting to the youth of the Maldives in particular young women of the Maldives. Shauna had the guts to go through the gruelling years of University study and to stand for something she believes in and do something about it to deliver that vision. At the very young age of 23 years she is working at the Office of the President. No mean achievement. I see Shauna as a role model for our young women. She works hard, and presents herself well. Shauna is learning as we all are to operate in the political minefield that we have today in the Maldives and from what I have seen of this bright young woman she is doing so with skill, vision, and courage. Perhaps Shauna could have held her opinion about Gayoom. It was an unnecessary comment and I am sure she will learn from it. Easy to pick holes when we are not in the firing line. Wonder what you or I would have said if that were you or I facing the represenatives of the "youth" who tyrannised for a week in central Male'. so hey give her some slack.

    This is what is so heartbreaking about the Maldives today. That we shoot down our leaders who stand for something and who are doing something to make a difference.

    It is time we stood for the young leaders of our nation; these are the people who will lead our children. Empower them, invest in them. Believe in them. And I do not refer just to Shauna. All young people who are not afraid of hard work, being out of their comfort zone, and willing to touch the stars.

  26. If indeed what Ali Abdulla Saleh has written is true, this level of government expenditure is outrageous especially at a time of acute economic hardship and when all economic institutions , local and international are urging His Excellency President Nasheed to cut back on government spending. Parliament should be raising this matter ... ahem.. that is if the honourable MPs are willing to look at the ridiculous salaries and allowances they have given themselves.

  27. Yes shafeea..they will lead us to destruction.....So what your saying is its Ok as long as the said youth belongs to MDP..that we have to accept her as a stupid leader and other youths are thugs....And believe me she dint get the job bcs of her educational skills,..She is A hero only in the eyes of u know who her parents are and her conection with MDP...I dont want to write such stuff here.

  28. Nars,why am I surprised at this comment? This appears to be very much in line with how you write.

    I believe that whichever party and whichever family background our youth may have is irrelevant as long as they make a difference in their lives and the lives of others.

  29. The protestors have to state exactly what they expect the Government to do to reduce inflation, and they have to back it up with evidence that it will work. Every economic strategy a Government can use to improve economic wellbeing has negative side effects. It is deceptive for the opposition to prtend there is some quick fix solution, exploitative, it is EVIL!

    Keynes, for example, in creating a budget surplus to stimulate demand and control it may have had a good idea for creating work, but as Milton Friedman pointed out, that type of interference only makes real spending power less as it pushes inflation up. Also, the deficit has to be recovered.

    Or you could try Milton Friedman's monetarism and, sack all Gov. employees who are non-essential, and the prices would begin to come down as demand was less! Yet then what, the poor would have to look after the poor.

    There is no easy, pain free way out of the hole the thiefs have put you in!

    Your President, Anni, is right. Though because everyone seems to want a quick, pain free solution as they are used to being Mothered by Maumoon in times of need, everyone seems to think that the Government can just DO something. Well what! What the hell can they do, but brace you for a struggle. This is your "Jihad-al-Naffs" guys, for those of you with Religious ascetic inclinations, or for those who wish to point out that their iws no such thing religiously, this is your chance to be the better wrestler.

    Sadly, Maumoon's policies of over indulging himself, and the theft that has occurred, has created a massive hole in the Maldivian economy which there is no pain free way out of!

    This is not a sacrifice which any one wanted to make, or wants to make, but sacrificial struggle is the only thing which will liberate the Maldivians from the hell that the thiefs of the former regime plunged Maldives into.

    That Holy Saint, Yameen Abdul-Gayoom, yeah, you know the one - the real smily friendly chap who is real warm and loving and forgiving to everyone, never sarcastic... Well, believe it or not he once told me he envisioned something like what is called a "third way" for the Maldives, a liberalized economy with a social support framework offered by the Government. So, in the name of charity, or justice, Yameen wants to tax the businesses and you know, being how he is content to live poor and humble and stuff, you know, he is the only one who can genuinely be trusted to redistribute that wealth to the poor etc... Seems he has proven how humble he is by living in a shack and showering in simple Maldivian desalinated water etc...He is the one, he is the saviour who can be trusted not to waste the wealth on himself!

    It is a complete lie, an exploitation of the people's desparation to suggest that there is some quick fix solution! One thing is sure as hell, give the economy back to the opposition and it will become a much darker place!

  30. I meant, the protestors have to be honest in pointing out what the effects of their efforts at reducing inflation would be, they have to prove it would work to alleviate the suffering, that which they have suggested will not work!

  31. oh, I better point out, I also believe in the 'third way' but it has to be in right hands

  32. If government bend on mob demands then we will bring more such demands and their is no end to it. Don't shake your leg and continue to reform this economy.

  33. I have no idea how much lies Bochey had to all Maldives during his Own business in here Male' when he promoting Alken Products to sell....he is a BIGGEST YOUNG Corrupted GUY who attend the Meeting …..As a Maldives I have no trust what he said and his TEAM

  34. @Derek Postance

    Nothing to do with hunger, unemployment, Egypt or Tunisia here. It's about petrol for motorbikes, price of coffee in cafes (their words, not mine).

    It's cognitive dissonance, partial amnesia - anything for the team. The sheeple are out on the streets fighting for their God given right to be slaughtered.

    George Orwell must be turning in his grave.

  35. What are u guys talkin about? This is radical and very unprofessional. Who is freaking shauna to address the matter?? Why was this not implemented in a planned sustainable way? Why did anni said there is a cop next to every dollar and the next day he changed the dollar rate? Ofcourse IMF will not support printing money but it does not mean the government has to take a redial decision not knowin the consequences.. Do you think the tgst is fare when it's the same rate for travel agents and the property owners! It's just killing in the name of good but it only benefits the rich and the people who has the dollar. Not the ordinary citizens of maldives. It certainly is not the issue with formar government, what about all the tax money they have now? What about all the government expenditure now? What about all the freaking non Maldivian political appointies? What about the corruption now? You can now say the youth is stupid but you will know when the youth really stand up for it.. It's not drp or any opposition it's the people of this country who is concerned. So stick up the dollar up in your ass, all you hypocrites. Cheers!

  36. @Salim.
    Why don't you and your daddy do business and pay 10% GST. Why you want to squeeze from others who are hard working?. Your dad is paid 75000 to attend social ceremonies. Lets reduce his salary? Do you really know anything about economics or Maldives?

  37. “Should the government not implement our requests, the situation will get more volatile..there will be no scarcity of swords and knives, many youth will be wielding sticks and stones.. and even fire..and to create a disturbance, these youth except for a very few will do whatever we say..” Said Mr. Botchey.

    Release the video and audio of this 'negotiations' so that people would understand the true colours of these "youth leaders." It's about time that a lot more people become "upset" about their conduct, threats,false pretense and what they really advocate and want to achieve. The truth should be revealed in all forums so people can decide to accept or to fight for peace and harmony in the country.

  38. @Nars

    "and please don’t complain people youth a still riding motorbikes and drinking coffee with expensive phones…..i get the feeling that most of the commentators want the economy to be destroyed.."

    Don't complain? Who's complaining? They can ride till they drop. Who cares? They just need to find the money to fund their habits.

    I've noticed that your attention span whilst reading the posts here doesn't go past the first couple of sentences; so I don't think you'll ever reach this part of my comment either.

    In any case, my advice is to educate yourself a bit more to actually understand what the commentators are trying to say.

  39. Dear Ali Abdulalh Saleh,

    China alone this year is giving a 100 Million dollars in grants. More in soft loans. And EVEN MORE INVESTMENT. Our mission there costs only around 300K. So lets see, total profit in pure cash would be 99,700,000. Hmmm… okay, and then we take into account over a 1000 Housing units being built by Chinese companies, along with a thousand other things, and you’re saying that this is not worth it?!

    European and other major embassies help make sure we get grants and loans from those countries, maybe not always directly, but through training and NGO support that far outweighs their costs.

    Fine, there may be isolated incidents, and things left over from the previous administration, but every single person you named has provided results and proven their worth.

    And Dr. Pakaas,

    Yes, I know I am biased. I’ve always admitted this. But that does not make me wrong. (BTW, The Vice President has said nothing about anything regarding these protests. What he did do was speak to concerned parties like STO, and the Ministries). And I was merely point out that their so called demands were idiotic. If they wanted to demand something, they should have demanded something that makes fiscal sense. That would actually increase the gov’ts coffers.


    Maldivians don’t pay GST. Just show your national ID card and you’ll be fine! Don’t accuse me of wanting citizens to pay more! I have not advocated an income tax on everyone yet.. once I do, then you can go off on me. 😛


    The Vice President is the only person concerned with overall long term national development rather than political expediency on both sides of the political divide! And unlike others, neither he nor I has any businesses in this country. Refer to any of my articles and you know that I know plenty about this country, and more than most. As for economics, maybe I’m wrong. But I bet I can find more scholars who agree with me and I bet MMA will agree with me soon too. Because what I’m saying is just so ridiculously obvious no one can ignore it for long.

  40. What's wrong with out people? Do we think that the government has a responsibility to earn enough money to pay us enough so we could buy the latest mobile phones and sports bikes, cars and shades as they are released even if you did not make it past grade 9? Do we think the dollar should be valued at MVR 10.00 just because a power hungry man and his buddies promised that during an election?

    Grow up people. Face reality and learn a bit about your place in this world.

    Islam is better than the rest of the religions and Maldivians are better than the rest of the people.

    Aren't we dreaming here?

    Stop thinking you are so damn special!


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