President Mohamed Waheed Hassan has pledged to establish a housing policy for the people of Male’ as part of his bid to secure election in the upcoming presidential elections.
President Waheed assumed power after the sudden resignation of his predecessor, former President Mohamed Nasheed on February 7, 2012, following a mutiny by police and the Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF).
Speaking during a rally held by his own party Gaumee Iththihaadh Party (GIP) on Saturday night, President Waheed claimed that it was his hope to provide separate housing for every Maldivian.
A website was also launched in collaboration with the GIP and a local NGO, Magey Male’ Foundation, to brief the public about congestion in Male’.
President Waheed during the rally claimed that one of the major reasons contributing to increased criminal activities, drug abuse and divorce rates was the lack of housing available within the country to build a family.
Waheed noted that there were approximately 80,000 residents in Male’ including those who had migrated to the capital for various purposes, while population of the city stood at 150,000 – half of whom do not have their own housing.
“This is not something we can delay. Therefore, the government has planned to speed up the land reclamation from Hulhumale and I would like to inform on this occasion that the government has begun evaluating bids proposed by parties who expressed interests in carrying out the project. The result would mean Hulhumale’ will in the future be twice the size it is today,” President Waheed said.
Waheed also said that the capital Male’ belonged to all the people of the country and therefore services provided in the capital should have the capacity to provide these services all people.
He also said that projects seeking to provide fundamental needs of the people should not be fashioned around “the problems faced yesterday”, but rather address the issues that would be faced in the future.
“As these are the circumstances we are facing, I intend to form a committee consisting of technocrats and experts in the field to see how the problems faced by the capital Male’ can be addressed and resolved. At the same time, within our broad coalition, we will work on policies that would better the current situation of Male’,” he said.
Situation on the islands
Waheed highlighted that people from islands are still unable to get basic services and conceded that his government was unable to take adequate measures to develop these islands.
“[The lack of basic services] was significantly noticed during the 2004 tsunami crisis. The whole world has witnessed the difficulties endured by the people,” he said.
Furthermore, Waheed said that the ratification of the 2008 constitution meant that people who were in charge of the country were forced to address the issues faced by the people instead of consolidating power. It also forced the speeding up of infrastructure developments such as harbours, airports and sewerage systems, President Waheed said.
The solution to the problems, the President said, was to developing well populated islands throughout the country.
“Our hope is to build more housing facilities on such islands and provide basic services such as electricity, water and sewerage systems and let the population in those islands grow further. I hope that land reclamation on such islands will begin soon,” he said.
“AT this critical time, political parties uniting with one another for the sake of the country is similar to that of two neighbours teaming up to address big issues. Therefore, unity and cooperation do not have a set time or a set venue to take place and neither do they belong to a separate system,” he added.
Waheed during his speech also claimed that he was a person who considered advice, rather than taking matters into his own hands, and said he would therefore only make important decisions after discussing them with necessary stakeholders.
During the rally, two members of parliament, former Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MP Ahmed Shareef and Independent MP Ahmed ‘Kurendhoo’ Moosa, officially announced they would be joining GIP.
Male City Council member and former Male Mayor ‘Sarangu’ Adam Manik also announced his defection from the MDP to GIP. Along with Manik, former PPM member and former MP Jaufar ‘Jausa Jaufar’ Easa Adam joined the party.
The GIP spokesperson’s phone was switched off at time of press.