Council discusses “nuisance and bother” of expatriates in Republic Square

Members of the Male’ City Council have offered solutions to “the nusiance and bother of expatriates [congregating] at the Republic Square” in the capital at a meeting last month.

According to minutes of a meeting on June 28 published on the council’s new website, Deputy Mayor Ahmed Samah Rasheed noted that the issue had been discussed before and suggested contacting the Bangladeshi High Commission.

However Maafanu West Councillor Ahmed Falah pointed out that it was “not only Bangladeshis who gather in these places.”

“[Mid-Henveiru Councillor] Lufshan [Shakeeb] noted that foreigners at the Republic Square were damaging the grass in a number of ways and said that the area should be walled off with a tin fence and cleaned,” reads the minutes.

Lufshan suggested working with the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) and police “to develop Republic Square.” Henveiru South Councillor “Rukuma” Mohamed Abdul Kareem backed the notion.

The discussion came under an agenda item titled “Making a decision on the nuisance and bother of Bangalhun [derogatory term for Bangladeshis] at the Republic Square and the problem of Bangalhun sleeping inside the old museum at Sultan Park.”

The agenda states that the discussion was prompted by a letter received by the council.

Machangoalhi South Councillor “Jambu” Hassan Afeef meanwhile claimed that expatriates were “committing indecent acts” behind the National Museum site and other open spaces in Sultan Park, recommending that the grounds be closed to the public.

Mayor “Sarangu” Adam Manik however said that “any measures taken should be democratic,” which led Falah to suggest putting up notice boards at the Republic Square in languages used by expatriates to inform them that the area was out of bounds.

The Mayor however favoured closing the square ahead of celebrations of Republic Day on November 11 instead of an abrupt closure and reopening with improved security to ensure there was no further loitering.

Manik also noted that expatriates congregated in other open spaces in Male’ such as the artificial beach area.

Following the discussions, the city council unanimously approved a motion to form a steering committee with officials from the army and police as well as the Tourism Ministry, Foreign Ministry and the Human Rights Commission.

Lufshan, Afeef and Kareem were chosen to represent the council on the committee. All seven councillors in attendance at the meeting belong to the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party.

Large numbers of expatriates living in Male’ use the Republic Square as a park, particularly Bangladeshi labourers on weekends. According to official figures, 1,600 Maldivian companies and 2,000 individuals between them employ 70,000 expatriates in the Maldives – a third of the country’s population – not including an unknown number of illegal migrant workers.

Meanwhile, an ongoing police investigation into labour trafficking uncovered an industry worth an estimated US$123 million, eclipsing fishing (US$46 million in 2007) as the second greatest contributor of foreign currency to the Maldivian economy after tourism.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that “Mayor ‘Maizan’ Ali Manik” was present at the meeting, instead of ‘Sarangu’ Adam Manik who was Mayor at the time. Ali Manik was absent from the meeting. Minivan News apologises for any confusion caused.


68 thoughts on “Council discusses “nuisance and bother” of expatriates in Republic Square”

  1. WTF?

    Do these idiots in the council think of our foreign laborers as bonded slaves?

    Why can't they congregate in a public place just like anyone else - that too on just one day of the week that they get off from hard labour?

    This is, simply put, absolutely contemptible racism and discrimination by the bunch of fools in the Male City council.

    As a Maldivian who's lived in India for several years, I can state that I have never been treated with such disrespect or disdain at any point by their people.

    I hope the Bangladeshi/Indian high commissions steps in at this point to stop the humiliation of their people by these imbeciles with nothing better to do than harass innocents.

  2. Bangalhun: derogatory term for Bangladeshis. Ah ha, and what would be such a derogatory term for a Maldivian? Patey, Faibo, Badi, Kulhin, Vagun, Janavaarun etc etc. Its a shame derogatpry terms are been used against the nationals from another country by our city councillors. Can they just not use the term 'Bangladeshis' instead? Are we Maldivians in anyway more superior than Bangladeshis? We are a society in many ways more disgusted than that of Bangladesh. Hence just because they are in our country doesnt give us the right for us to call them names. This is absolutely sick.

  3. Might I add that these incompetent dimwits in the council - this Lufshan Shakeeb and Jambu Hassan Afeef - need to issue an apology.

    Acts like this bring shame upon the nation, and makes one seriously question if Maldivians actually picture themselves as decent civilized people who can treat others with dignity.

  4. First you bring them into the country to do the work for you which you feel too good for, and then you complain that they spend their bit of free time out in public. What a rassistic society...

    Why don't you suggest that they have to spend their time in Maldives either on their workplace, or in their overcrowded staff accommodation?

  5. Is this Maldivian apartheid, labeling some people bangalhun and segregating policy. You guys are mad, after human trafficking and robbing those poor guys now started discrimination. You don’t know Bangladeshis far superior than you fishermen.

  6. Ahmed Naish,

    "“Making a decision on the nuisance and bother of Bangalhun [derogatory term for Bangladeshis]" ..."

    Naish, i think its Bangaalheen that that they are talking about.
    Bangaalhun simply means 'from Bangladesh.'
    Bangaalheen on the other hand is a term used in Dhivehi as a refrence to Bangladeshis. It is not originally a derogatory term. But this term is now almost always used as a derogatory term, i must admit.

  7. These people are Maldivian Nazis. Minivannews I think it's high time you guys wrote an article on racism in the maldives or we might put the KKK, Gestapo and Apartheid system to shame pretty soon.

  8. I have no problem expat communities using public places, as we do in any other country; provided they are legally working or visiting Maldives. The city council should rather be combating illegal workers issues, than, trying to impose such discriminatory, racist, inhumane and backward measures. Shame!

  9. this is madness from a humanist p.o.v., but appears to be a calculated populist move. the comments above (at the time of writing) don't reflect the popular view of 'bangalheen' (a term that's derogatory because it strips a range of south asian people of their identity and crams them under a label used to designate the people of a particular s.a. state, like the word 'paki', and overtime it creates such poignant instances where a councillor has to point out that not all of the people called bangaalheen are from bangladesh) your run of the mill male' denizen is not one who is sympathetic to brown skinned blue collar expatriates. i've seen otherwise reasonable people become horrified by the sight and 'stench' of the republic square on friday afternoons. and anyway, if this plot works out the way they intend, members of this council could claim that they did something about the 'problem of expatriates' on their resumes and flaunt it during their majlis campaign.

  10. well done... slapping on the face of president nasheed....where is human rights, where is tolerance and where is the respect to the mankind.... alibe the Mayor and Samaah the deputy why not you read the animal farm and then repent... power crazy bastards.....respect man kind and at least ....

    - George Orwell, Animal Farm, Ch. 10

  11. Oh God! what a bunch of lunatics! i had hoped that Maizan Alibe would be better than all of the other lot, but he has proven to be equally insensitive and uncivilised. so its all right alibe then if the decision "democratic" and has concensus to practice apartheid?

  12. Having been in the Maldives for over 20 years, I am truly shocked and saddened with the heightened state of xenophobia, cross the Maldivian population.

    Maldivians have been till recently such wonderful, kind hearted, magnanimous, practical, tolerant and welcoming that I am just NOT able to understand why this SUDDEN OUTBURST of hatred, animosity, hatred, intolerance, frustration AND an absolute CONFUSED society.

    I truly believe that every Maldivian needs to question themselves and find the root cause for all these frustrations, because one day it is going to destroy the basic fabric of Maldivian society.

    There are so many ways of discussing such an issue. We all know that Fridays, holidays, there is a surge of expats getting together in the Republic Square and it is definitely not something nice to see. However, have we thought about what are facilities for the front line expats to relax on that holiday. We all know the extremely dire conditions of living standards and work culture provided for the front line expats - bangladeshis, srilankans, indians, nepalis - all alike. In a softer way, give an alternative location for them to get together and advice them the reason why the Republic square should be protected. NOT by witch hunting a specific community and trashing them as just the CURSE of this world.

    Please do NOT ever forget. IF all the bangladeshis go out from the Maldives, Male` would just be a hell to live in, as these are the people who at least maintain the Male` that we currently have and do all the dirty chores that a MALDIVIAN HATES to do at all.

    Dear Maldivians, LIVE AND LET LIVE. Please bring back the innocence, the calm and the peace that you always had and I am sure we can find hundreds of solutions without affecting anybody else than this Heightened state of XENOPHOBIA, which is indeed TERRIBLY ALARMING...

  13. And yet the fact that we voted them in means that the majority among us are either all Lufshan Shakeebs and Jambu Afeefs OR that we do not care about who we vote in as long as we;

    - get something out of it.

    - follow the orders of our party leader.

  14. when Ali Maniku said that any measure must be democrati. Falaah suggested putting notices in different languages. god save us from Falaah and his sharp wits.

  15. Well, why doesn’t Bangalhi Embassy say something about this insulting attitude of Maldivians? This embassy doesn’t care a bit about its citizens!
    Now, what I have to say about our idiotic councilors is the only solution is to get rid of all illegal immigrants. And as a rule Male’ municipality should not employ foreigners to do their dirty job. If you pay properly than the Maldivians will do the dirty works too.
    Also Male city councilors should provide Bangalhis some sort of entertainments, you have enough space in Thilafushi, you can develop recreation center for them in Thilafushi.

  16. about time! every friday, the republic square is full of these expatriates (mostly bangladeshis) and it really ruins the image of Male'. what will the tourists think of when they see these 1000 plus people sitting there, chatting and some in cases behaving inappropriately. thank you for male' city council for bringing up the issue.

  17. what a stupid and shameful nazi idea in 100% muslims country in 21 century?
    many workers from Bangladesh was building half of the all constructions in Male and local people use them like a slaves
    so why maldivian people who say we are 100 % muslims demonstrate such unhuman behavior and racist idea to those who actually built the country,
    shame shame and shame

  18. somebody make a complaint to the Human Rights Commission.
    any such measure will be unconstitutional and inhuman.

  19. @ Hassan, Probably they will prefer an alternative arrangement, as suggested by you on Fri, 29th Jul 2011 1:23 PM, "provide ... some sort of entertainments, you have enough space in Thilafushi, you can develop recreation center for them in Thilafushi"

  20. There is no need for Banghalhis to work in our construction industry. Moreover, they really do not know how to work nether have the skill. The only qualification they have is will work for twelve hours and accepting US$ 100 as salary per month. In addition they are harming our economy and dirtying where ever they are. We must get rid of all Bangalhis even if we are so called 100% Islamic society. I believe the majority of locals hate Bangalhis.

  21. The pity thing is that such a big number of foreign labors are brought into the country every month, mostly by using illegal means. However, Wherever the expatriates work, sply Bangladeshis, Indians and Pakistanis, whether its in Singapore or in Dubai, the scene is always the same,and almost as ugly as it is here in public square,and this happen more on holidays such as Fridays and Sundays. But as our country is, comparably , small in size and because of lack enough spaces to accommodate all these foreign and local pple, i think it is necessary for Male' council to make a firm decision to control the so called, face, of Dhivehi Raajje from these ugly scenes. Most of the time, these pple show signs of poor hygienic conditions which tourists would certainly hate to see. One thing important that the council should seriously think to do is to put notice boards in Sultan park and Public Square and other places of importance , in Bangladeshi language, advising them not to spit and encourage them to keep the area clean and tidy. I think simply chasing them will turn to be a matter human rights issue which we all don't want to face with. Immigration control is the main weapon to combat this serious issue!

  22. To gentleman by the handle "maldivesfriend" on Fri, 29th Jul 2011 10:24 AM,

    This is not a sudden outburst. We have never held a high opinion of workers from India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. At the back of his or her head, every maldivian assumes them to vile sub-humans unworthy if respect. When I say all, I mean an overwhelming majority of the population. That's how we round up figures around here (you know, like 100% muslim nation). Anyway, coming back to the point, we maldivians aren't even aware that such attitude deviates from basic decency of a civil society. We despise them. We are scornful of them. And we don't see anything wrong with it. Its always been like that. In the past "high profile" incidents (such as this one) worthy of publising as news articles may not have been common. Or may have been ignored by mainstream media altogether.

    There is no denying that we have always had this culture of assuming them inferior beings unworthy of any respect. We've assumed them unequals. I know this because, without anyone actually ever TELLING me to assume they are sub-humans, I don't remember a time I had not. That is till I started using my own faculties and started observing Maldivian way of life and attempted to make sense of why things are the way they are, in every aspect of the Maldivian life. It had become such and integral part if the Maldivian psyche that kids like myself didn't even have to be told to hate them whe we were growing up. We just knew to. This is true for every Maldivian I have ever known.

    So don't be alarmed. You are just seeing our true colors after 20 years

  23. Chaps - you just cant have it all your way. If you want to bring Bangalhun into Maldives for your menial work and if you allow human trafficking and if you condone (silently or through plain ignorance) modern day slavery. Then you simply must accept the downside and the consequences therof. Cant have it all your way!

  24. I just can’t understand why the Bangalhi embassy cannot protect its citizens. What is this office supposed to be doing in Maldives .Aren’t you Shamed Bangalhi embassy?

  25. This is blatant racism! Period! Xenophobia and racism. Shame on Male' City Council. I am ashamed of you! How Maizan Alibe, a seemingly knowledgeable chap allow this sort of racist discussion. Bangladeshis are human beings just like the rest of us and deserves respect. Not sure if I can say this about the morons in the City Council!

  26. To all of you, who are slating Maizan Alibe, please go to the Dhivehi link (where the minutes of the meeting can be seen) and then decide what is Alibe's involvement in this?

    The minutes show that Alibe was not even present in this said meeting and that Adam Maniku chaired the meeting.
    Alibe should sue Minivan news for slander accusing him for chairing a meeting, while he was not even present there.

    Given all this, this is what happens when we elect idiots to these kind of places. You elect riffraff and this is what you would get.

  27. Mass employment of foreign expatriate workers was kick started by the then Male' Municipality when Mr.Jet Wheel Umar Zahir, brought them for road construction and other infra structure developments in Male'. This then lead to mass immigration of expatriates. We cant solve this problem without addressing the influx of expatriates. Its like trying to solve today's problem by shoving yesterdays problem under the carpet. We have to tackle the issue in both ways. As far as using public open spaces are concerned, everyone has the right to use them.We can only prohibit illegal and indecent acts.

  28. No wonder Sarangu Adam Manik quit being mayor as he understood the councillors knowledge. No wonder they were trying to bring a no confidence vote against him so they could pass laws like these which are really stupid. i guess there are more impoertant issues than this .

  29. Like I always say Maldivians are the most racist people I know of. I am truly ashamed to be Maldivian for this reason.

  30. Further to my earlier comment, I am SO HAPPY & RELIEVED to see many like minded Maldivians who have come out to TRASH this new thinking process. This is the maldives that we all know, this is the Maldives that Maldivians have always been proud of and I PRAY that the MINORITY that you seem to be right now, PREVAIL at all times.

    Happy fasting days and May the Almighty bless you all with peace, calm, prosperity and happiness.

  31. wow...what a bunch of uneducated clowns in the council...i'm so ashamed i voted one of them in...what a pity...

  32. "firihenkulhi dhivehin! kudakudhin falhaa dhivehin! Rapists!" These terms describes the people of Maldives

  33. If the council thinks "Bangalhis" are not human, I regret for being among those who voted to elect the council.

  34. We are known for discriminating minorities. But who knows, considering the fact that Bangladeshis are already marrying Maldivian women, there will be a uprising or something!

  35. Wow great council !!! Another bunch of morons !!! Another cirucs my my what have we become !!! It's hightower time we stared thinking ...all of you ask yourselves is this the what we want !!! Is this the change we voted for !!

  36. Lets hope that Maizan Alibe can do a better job than Adam Manik now. At least he is safe from this scandal.

  37. I'm just wondering whether the people who wrote this article bothered to clarify this piece of "talk" with the City Council. Most probably... not! Like most articles written in the newspapers in Male'... this story is purely one sided with no real work to check the details and sources. Investigative journalism... or even basic plain journalism in Maldives... a total failure!

  38. As Aisha mentioned, there certainly seem to be a lack of verification. If someone tried to check, they will find no concrete decision was taken in the meeting referred. Instead, the matter was to be discussed with other authorities such as Police, Human rights etc. Perhaps, Sarangu had already resigned as mayor when it took place. there was an interval when Deputy Mayor Samah was chairing meetings in the interim till MAIZAN was elected. Male City residents should follow the going onns of their council for their own good.

    Regarding "Bangalhis" using the maidan, we must understand that they too are entitled to do so. further more, we must try and find out why we are so dependent on foreigners and find ways to reduce the dependency. Our nation has just over 200,000 adults and this include men and women as well as old including a lot who live abroad. having more than 100,000 foreigners are not healthy.

  39. How refreshing it is to come here and see so many 'normal' Maldivians are as appalled as I am by the comments made by their elected representatives.

    For a country that is totally dependant on affluent 'foreigners' pumping millions of dollars into its economy and poorer foreigners supplying millions of dollars worth of labour at subsistence wage rates, your racism and xenophobia is abhorrent.I've written many times here of the unfairness I've felt sometimes as a visitor,but this story is the most shameful yet. Fortunately, the majority of Maldivians seem to feel the same as I do and will surely demonstrate their displeasure at the ballot box.

  40. @Kevin Armes You're far off the mark on this one dude, cos the comments here reflect, sadly, a minority of Maldivians who abhor the sort of talk that our idiotic councillors seem to think is reasonable. I'd wager that most Maldivians don't really give a crap about it, just as they wouldn't think to thank the expat worker who throws out their trash. Maldivians by and large can put Hitler and the Nazis and the Apartheird govt of South Africa to shame. Compared to us, those guys were kids in the playground. Although I gotta admit Hitler was a more violent kid than the rest.

    Having said all that, the only thing I can truly say on this matter is that it's times like these I'm truly ashamed and horrified with our elected officials. Shame on us.

  41. Aisha an Ms. luna should partake of some basic reading comprehension classes.

    The article is about the council discussing the issue. not about having decided on anything. the fact that no decision was made is clearly stated in the article itself.

    it refers to a yaumiyyaa on the official website of the council which says the matter was discussed. what more verification is required here?

    the significance of this article lies in how it illustrates the xenophobic and extremely stupid thinking process of the highly inept councillors. Not whether they had taken a decision on the matter. the fact that the matter was discussed at all, and in such a derogatory manner is what is important.

    there are more important things to discuss on a comments section of an article of this nature than just criticising minivam for 'failure' of investigative journalism.

    there are numerous other articles on minivan on which the topic of a 'failure' of conducting investigative journalism can be raised. the standard of minivan has been deteriorating for a long time now. there are dozens of articles that illustrate the fact. this is not an ideal example of one.

  42. i am getting the vibe that this is racial discrimination at policy level. Mr. president hope your policies and strategies are in align with human rights standards

  43. The Colombo City Council has recently noticed Umbalakada-yaaloo (derogatory term for Maldivians) congregating in Galle Face Green. This causes nuisance to decent citizens of Sri Lanka. These rat bag Umbalakada-yaaloo are vermin and are usually unruly, dirty and loud. Some of these louts have also been seen sleeping under the eaves of Janathapathi Mandhivaraya. The honourable councillors have passed a resolution to erect signage around the city in Maala-Divehina language that these ignorant people speak.

  44. The Male City Council should issue a public apology for the racist remarks against Bangladeshis and other foreigners. Until then, all foreign countries that support human rights should ban Male City Councillors, especially the following, from travelling there:

    Lufshan Shakeeb
    (Jambu) Hassan Afeef

    Racism should not be tolerated.

  45. Male City Council does not sound suitable for Maldives. This is the biggest issue with us. Can we have something different than ordinary city dweller’s terms? Once we have realized that hollow mask illusion is not real, we will come up with all the solution we need to behave like normal human being. Call it Male Dafthar or Male’ Bodu Katheebunge Jamiyya


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