MNDF celebrates anniversary with variety show

The Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) celebrated its 122nd anniversary with a variety show titled ‘Sifa Ufaa’ at the Kalhuthukkala Koshi barracks in Malé.

The show was held for three nights starting from Thursday, September 4 with President Abdulla Yameen attending on Saturday night (September 6).

The show featured comedy sketches and music from the Cops band as well as drama and dance items.

On the final night, Defence Minister Colonel (Retired) Mohamed Nazim launched a soundtrack album of a film called ‘Haadharu’ under production by the MNDF.

According to the military, the film would be about security threats such as the attempted coup on November 3, 1988.


MNDF hosting Pakistani Naval vessel ahead of diplomatic meetings

The Maldivian National Defence Force (MNDF) has said it continues to promote “good relations” with its neighbours as this week it plays host to a Pakistani naval ship visiting the Maldives.

The vessel – known as the PNS Saif – arrived in the Male’ yesterday (April 15), where it presently remains docked.  The ship’s arrival follows the visit last week of two Indian naval vessels.

MNDF Spokesperson Colonel Abdul Raheem told Minivan News today (April 16) that there was no significance behind the recent back-to-back visits of the Pakistani and Indian Naval forces.

“The Maldives has good relations with all neighbouring countries, including India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh,” he said.  “Neighbouring countries’ ships visit often, it is normal.”

The Pakistani High Commissioner to the Maldives, Pakistani citizens living in the Maldives, as well as senior officials from the military and Maldives Police Service are scheduled to visit the naval ship today, according to the MNDF.

The PNF Saif’s commanding officer will then host a “special dinner” on the ship this evening.

A series of other diplomatic meetings and events are scheduled during the ship’s visit, including a special event hosted by the MNDF for Pakistani naval officers tomorrow (April 17).  This is scheduled to be followed by a luncheon hosted by the Pakistani High Commissioner.

Senior PNS Saif officers are also scheduled to meet Minister of State for Defence and National Security Mohamed Muizzu Adnan, Chief of Defence Force Major General Ahmed Shiyam, as well as Commandant Coast Guard Brigadier General Ahmed Shahid.

The ship will remain in the Maldives until April 18.

Indian defence collaboration

Meanwhile, India has assured the Maldives of its commitment to “further enhance defense cooperation and security partnership,” following talks between Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim and his Indian counterpart A K Antony on Monday (April 15), the Times of India has reported.

Enhanced defence cooperation between the two nations is expected to include training exercises, capacity building and infrastructure-strengthening, according to media reports.

The Maldives hosted two Indian Naval Ships – the ICGS Varuna and INS Sujata – representing the First Training Squadron last week.

During the “goodwill visit”, a dinner function was held aboard the ships, where new Indian High Commissioner to the Maldives, Rajeev Shahare, made his first public appearance after assuming the post.

The dinner event was attended by the Maldivian Defence Minister Colonel (Rtd) Mohamed Nazim, other government ministers, diplomats, and high ranking officers from the Maldives military. The Indian government gave the Maldivian government a “contribution”, spare helicopter parts, and gym equipment, reported local media.

Shahare also used the event to praise Maldivian authorities for their “magnanimity” in allowing him to meet senior government officials at this event prior to presenting his credentials to the president, while speaking with local media April 10.

MNDF anniversary

The MNDF has said it is also currently preparing celebrations for its 121st anniversary on April 21 with a “big ceremony” that will include two different events held in the nation’s capital Male’, Colonel Raheem told Minivan News.

A parade is scheduled to take place at 4pm near the tsunami monument in the Henveiru neighborhood of Male’, said Raheem.

An “official gathering, which normally includes all high level delegations” in the Maldives is also being planned for April 25.

As practice for the parade, a military band and MNDF soldiers carrying assorted firearms have been performing early morning marches in formation through Henveiru this week.


Foundations in place for new 10-storey police building

The foundations for a new ten-storey police building have been laid down as part of the celebrations marking the 80th anniversary of the Maldives Police Service.

Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed laid part of the foundation for the new building, which will be used by police for administrative purposes, local media reported.

Speaking at the ceremony, Jameel said that police will be able to begin operating within the building in 18 month’s time.


First international fast food chain opens in Maldives

President Mohamed Nasheed attended the official opening of Marrybrown, a halal Malaysian fast food chain and the first international fast food chain to come to the Maldives.

The Marrybrown franchise currently operates in 15 countries worldwide. The restaurant in the Maldives was established by Lily International Private Limited, a leading business venture in the Maldives.

In his speech at the opening ceremony, the president thanked Lily International for its various contributions to Maldivian businesses since the 1980s.

The president also noted that the Maldivian lifestyle is changing to accommodate businesses enterprises such as Marrybrown, and that steps are being taken by the government to facilitate competition in the open market. The president said necessary legal amendments such as tax and state income laws were being made, and hoped more service enterprises would be established in the Maldives.

Marrybrown Chairman Lawrence Liew said the chain caters to a general population. “We have something different for everyone at a reasonable price in a clean environment. Our kids play centre creates a positive family space,” he said.

President Nasheed eats the inaugural fried chicken burger

After a moment of technical difficulties, Marrybrown opened its doors to the president, the press and the public. The President tasted the chain’s first fried chicken burger in the Maldives alongside franchise and government officials, and was given a tour of the facility which includes an air conditioned interior dining and play area and an upper open air veranda.

Families flocked to the restaurant doors for the next few hours, eager to acquire the free fried chicken meals that were being distributed in honor of the occasion.  A chipmunk mascot in a signature pair of green overalls welcomed children to the event outside, while groups were let in in stages to avoid crowding.

“The menu for Maldives was specially designed over the last six months by our chefs, and is a combination of Malaysian and Maldivian cuisines,” Co-Founder and Group Management Director Nancy Leiw told Minivan News.

When asked about the health value of the fast food menu, Leiw claimed Marrybrown “delivered all the necessary nutrients.”

“It’s a very balanced diet. Think about a burger. You have your carbohydrates, your protein, the lettuce gives you valuable vitamins and minerals, you have everything you need.”

Burgers are served with tomato and chili sauce packets and soft drinks.

Liew said that the franchise owner is “an ambitious businessman”, and that Marrybrown will be expanding business in the Maldives. “We don’t just serve food, we serve people. We will be providing opportunities in employment, business management, and local development,” she said.

The Marrybrown opening was facilitated by Malaysian staff, who will train Maldivian employees to “pass on our expertise and style of customer service,” said Liew.

The franchise’s nationality bore special connotations for the Maldives. “Malaysia is Muslim, and the Maldives is Muslim. We share a special synergy in Islam,” said Liew. “This synergy will allow us to work together in productive ways to create new opportunities for growth in line with our shared cultural standards.”

Liew noted that Marrybrown is celebrating 30 years of operation this year, and will be holding promotions and fundraising events for local charities and businesses throughout the year.

Marrybrown plans to open several more restaurants in the Maldives in the near future.


MNDF celebrates 118th anniversary with first-ever Commander-in-Chief’s Force and Fleet Review

President Mohamed Nasheed congratulated the valuable services of the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) at the first-ever Commander-in-Chief’s Force and Fleet Review yesterday, held at Jumhooree Maidhan in celebration of the 118th anniversary of the MNDF.

President Nasheed said the MNDF have provided their services at every instance of national importance, and particularly noted their support in bringing democratic change to the country.

He said a national force that would act in unity and unconditionally, without political influence, and with the nation’s interest in mind, “did not exist for no reason.”

President Nasheed said to expand and modernise the military services, it was necessary to decentralise the forces. The MNDF has already divided its forces into four regional commands; one in Malé, and three more in the South, North and Central regions.

He added the MNDF was undergoing infrastructural development, resource modernisation, training and capacity building to modernise and expand the military.

As Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, President Nasheed inspected the MNDF Marine Corps and the Coast Guard fleet. There were displays of Air Wing and Special Forces.

President Nasheed presented the colours of the new MNDF Support Service Corps to Brigadier General Ahmed Nilam.


President Nasheed celebrates Majeediyya’s 83rd anniversary

President Mohamed Nasheed spoke at a function to celebrate the 83rd anniversary of Majeediyya School yesterday morning.

President Nasheed said the school has never resisted change and noted it was the first school to incorporate digital technology in their teaching methods.

The president launched the “Majeediyya Goes Digital” programme at the ceremony yesterday, for which the school has installed digital technologies in all its classrooms. It includes a digital notice board, digital count-down board and a short message system for the school, parents and students to communicate.

President Nasheed commended the principal, teachers and staff for the success of the school, noting the school’s management has strengthened since the school board was installed.

The president added the government would work to accommodate students from grades 1 to 10 in Majeediyya School.

After the ceremony, President Nasheed taught math to a grade 10 class using the newly installed digital blackboard.


Vice President says improving standard of education is top priority

Vice President Mohamed Waheed said improving the standard of education was a top priority for the government, speaking at the 25th anniversary assembly of Jamaluddin School yesterday morning.

Speaking to the students, he urged them to be obedient and strive for excellence, assuring them that the government is working to improve the standards of education.

He spoke of the importance of good behaviour and social discipline, and said the school environment should facilitate extracurricular activities.