The President’s Office has today dismissed Deputy Tourism Minister Mohamed Maleeh Jamal and Minister of State for Economic Development Abdulla Ameen from the government at the insistence of their former party.
The President’s Office said the Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP), part of the present coalition government, had requested the dismissal of both men, as well as recommending replacements for their positions. The names of the suggested replacements had not been revealed to the public at time of press.
A statement released by the President’s Office said that the positions of deputy tourism minister and minister of state for economic development were assigned to the DQP as part of the conditions under which President Dr Mohamed Waheed’s coalition government was formed.
The present government, formed by a number of former opposition parties, came to power following the controversial transfer of power in February, 2012, when former President Mohamed Nasheed resigned from office following a violent mutiny by sections of the police and military.
Mohamed Maleeh Jamal told Minivan News that he had been informed of his dismissal today via a phone call from the President’s Office.
He alleged that both former State Minister Ameen and himself had been sacked for refusing to back President Dr Mohamed Waheed’s election campaign, claiming he could see no other reason for the dismissal.
Although Maleeh said he was yet to receive an official termination notice confirming his dismissal, he expressed his belief that he had been fired because of his support for the presidential candidate of the government-aligned Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), MP Abdulla Yameen.
He said that he had not been surprised by his dismissal after pledging support to the PPM, adding that he would not allow “the fear” of losing his government post to change his mind on whom he believed was the best candidate to back in the election.
“To bring the nation forward, we need a strong government in order to boost investor confidence in the country and bring about economic stability,” Maleeh said. “I believe there is only one candidate who can do this and it is the reason I have decided to join the PPM and support Yameen.”
He argued that the new constitution adopted in August 2008 guarantee that no citizen should be scared of making a democratic decision over the fear of losing a job, adding that he had nonetheless decided to sacrifice his government position to back his preferred presidential candidate.
DQP Leader Dr Hassan Saeed was not responding to calls from Minivan News at time of press.
Former DQP Deputy Leader Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed, who was dismissed last month as home minister by the government after announcing his decision to stand as the running mate of PPM candidate Yameen, today slammed President Waheed for the dismissing the two ministers.
Writing on Twitter, Dr Jameel questioned the president’s capability to serve as a leader of the nation by allowing the dismissals of Maleeh and Ameen from the government.
By sacking Maleeh & Ameen from government Prez Dr. Waheed proved that he is not a national leader
— Mohamed Jameel Ahmed (@MJameelAhmed) June 19, 2013
Speaking to local media, he later denied the government’s claim that the DQP had been exclusively allocated the positions of deputy tourism minister and minister of state for economic development within the government.
The PPM said following Dr Jameel’s dismissal last month that it would continue to support President Waheed’s administration, despite condemning what it called the the “harsh and abrupt” sacking.
The PPM, the minority party in the People’s Majlis with the highest number of MPs after the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), has since accused President Waheed of campaigning unfairly for September’s election by using state funds and resources.
Earlier this month, the party also slammed the manner in which President Waheed opted to terminate an airport development contract with Indian infrastructure group GMR last year, accusing him of failing to heed its advice on first negotiating with the developer.
However, the party was accused at the time of making “contradictory statements” on the GMR issue by coalition partner Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP), which is backing Waheed in September’s election.
PPM MP and Spokesperson Ahmed Nihan was not responding to calls at time of press.