Youth minister dismissed

President Abdulla Yameen has dismissed today minister of youth and sports Mohamed Maleeh Jamal in a cabinet shuffle.

Recently appointed health minister Ahmed Zuhoor was handed the youth portfolio and deputy gender minister Iruthisham Adam was appointed as the health minister.

The reason for Maleeh’s dismissal is unclear. Neither Maleeh nor president’s office spokesperson Ibrahim Muaz Ali were responding to calls at the time of going to press.

Maleeh appeared with other cabinet minister at a ceremony held this morning to inaugurate a scientific feasibility study for a planned bridge between capital Malé and airport island Hulhulé.

The dismissal was announced at noon.

Maleeh is the cousin of vice-president Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed, who the president has reportedly sidelined. The vice-president who was very active during the presidential campaign rarely appears in public now.

Maleeh is alleged to have close ties with ex-defence minister Mohamed Nazim, who is currently serving an 11-year jail term on weapons smuggling charges.

According to the pro-government newspaper Vaguthu, documents police found in a pen drive at Nazim’s apartment show the Yameen administration is divided into factions respectively led by the president and Nazim.

Nazim’s “team” included Dr Jameel, home minister Umar Naseer, former Police Commissioner and current JP MP Abdulla Riyaz, Maldives Ambassador to Malaysia Mohamed Fayaz ‘FA,’ former State Trading Organisation (STO) Managing Director Adam Azim (Nazim’s brother), PPM MP Hussain Manik Dhon Manik, PPM MP Ahmed Nazim, Maleeh, and president’s office minister Abdulla Ameen.

Police claimed the documents suggest Nazim was planning to assassinate the president, tourism minister Ahmed Adeeb and police commissioner Hussein Waheed.

Nazim says the pen drive along with a pistol and bullets were planted at his home by rogue police officers on Adeeb’s orders.

Maleeh’s dismissal comes amidst a political crisis triggered by the jailing of Nazim and ex-president Mohamed Nasheed.

Minister for Islamic affairs Dr Mohamed Shaeem resigned on May 5, after the arrest of religious conservative Adhaalath Party president Sheikh Imran Abdulla from an opposition protest.

President also reassigned state minister of Islamic affairs Dr Mohamed Ali to the housing ministry, and appointed state minister for housing Athifa Shakoor to the gender ministry.