IGMH introduces text message, mobile, and internet appointment service

The government-run Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) has introduced new services for making appointments through text messages, an Android application, and from the hospital’s website.

Deputy director of operations Mohamed Rishwan told the press today that the new services are intended to ease the burden for customers who have to wait in long queues.

Customers will also be able to check which token number is being served. Rishwan said there will be separate queues for emergency, X-rays, OPD, and laboratory services.

IGMH is the only tertiary hospital in the Maldives and caters to patients travelling from across the country.


President appoints Aishath Bisam as Home Minister, Dr Amal Ali as Gender Minister

Former Attorney General Aishath Bisam has been appointed Home Minister by President Mohamed Waheed, while Dr Amal Ali has been appointed Gender Minister.

Waheed’s earlier appointment of Bisam as Attorney General and Azima Shukoor as Gender Minister were recently narrowly rejected by parliament, which is required to give a majority vote of confidence in each minister appointed to the executive.

After her dismissal as Gender Minister Shukoor was appointed Attorney General, returning to a post she had occupied at the start of Waheed’s administration.

Former Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel was dismissed from the cabinet by President Waheed after he joined the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) as running mate to half-brother of former President Gayoom, Abdulla Yameen.

Bisam, Amal and Shukoor will now require majority votes in parliament to remain in their new positions.


President appoints two deputy ministers

President Mohamed Waheed Hassan appointed two deputy ministers on Tuesday to serve the tourism and transport ministries respectively.

Hussein Lirar (Gaaf Dhaal Hoadhedhoo, Finifenmaage) was appointed to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, while Abdul Latheef Mohamed (Hulhumalé 10213) was appointed to the Ministry of Transport and Communication.

The new appointments come after President’s spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza told local media in early March that no new appointments would be made.

Waheed now has 14 ministers, 16 state ministers and 20 deputy ministers.


President Waheed appoints ministers of foreign affairs, finance

President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan has appointed Dr Abdul Samad Abdulla as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Abdulla Jihad as Minister of Finance and Treasury.

Dr Abdul Samad Abdulla was Gayoom’s Envoy to Bangladesh and is a member of Gayoom’s Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM), and was observed by Minivan News inside the parliament chamber on March 1 during the obstruction of President Waheed’s presidential address by Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MPs.

Abdulla Jihad was previously a member of the Civil Service Commission. He resigned from the post today.

Jihad was Gayoom’s last finance minister prior to the election of Mohamed Nasheed in 2008, and was appointed to the CSC in 2010. In their transfer of executive functions to the Majlis, the DRP-PA amended the Civil Service Commission Act to remove the President’s prerogative of nominating members.

Jihad replaced Jumhoree Party (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim as Finance Minister on July 15, 2008, after Gasim quit to launch his presidential campaign and stating that he did not want to be blamed for economic collapse. Jihad was MMA governor prior to his appointment as finance minister.

The appointment ceremony was held on Monday afternoon at the President’s Office, where the two ministers took their oath of Office before the Supreme Court Judge Abdulla Areef.


President Waheed appoints housing, environment ministers

President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan has appointed Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed as Islamic Minister, and Dr Mohamed Muiz as Environment Minister.

Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s daughter, Dhunya Maumoon, was also appointed State Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Sheikh Shaheem was ranked one of the world’s top 500 most influential Muslims in 2010 by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre (RISC) in the Kingdom of Jordan.

He resigned from his post as State Minister of Islamic Affairs under former President Mohamed Nasheed’s government, in December 2010.

His resignation followed the burning of the Israeli flag in Republic Square over opposition to a visiting delegation of Israeli eye surgeons, whom Islamic NGOs had accused of coming to the Maldivies to illegally harvest organs. Shaheem was one of the speakers at the event, along with current Vice President of Gayoom’s Progressive Party of he Maldives (PPM), Umar Naseer, voicing anger at the acceptance of aid from Israel.

Former Press Secretary for Nasheed, Mohamed Zuhair, told Minivan News at the time that in light of a recent number of protests against government policy allegedly involving Shaheem, “it was possible that the State Minister may have decided his position was untenable”.

Sheikh Shaheem was subsequently employed as a lecturer at Villa College, owned by Jumhoree Party (JP) MP and resort tycoon Gasim Ibrahim.

Shaheem has been an outspoken proponent of the study of comparative religion at higher secondary level, stating that “it is important for both Muslims and non-Muslims to compare their religions and cultures, and to compare philosophies.”

However he also warned against a move by the Education Ministry to make Islam and Dhivehi optional at higher secondary level.

Presenting himself as the face of moderate Islam in the Maldives, in early 2010 he became the first Islamic scholar from the Ministry to visit the UK with a government delegation.

He attended discussions on counter-terrorism with a range of relevant authorities, including the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Cabinet Office, Home Office and heads of counter-terrorism in the Justice Ministry, and met with Abbas Faiz of Amnesty International.

“The main objective was to discuss rapidly growing concerns around extremism and terrorism with relevant stakeholders in the UK,” Shaheem told Minivan News at the time: “There was a lot of discussion on ideas, such as how to fight ideologies and radical ideas. It was a very nice trip.”

More recently, he was accused of sexual misconduct in a video broadcast by Raajje TV, although the allegations were never clarified as Raajje TV claimed the station could not release further footage “in the interest of public decency”.

Shaheem responded at the time that he did “not wish to comment on matters regarding my private life while I am waiting for evidence. I will issue my comment when the time is appropriate.”

Cabinet appointments

All but a few of the cabinet ministers remain to be appointed by President Dr Waheed, and will need approval from parliament when it resumes on March 1.

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has accused Dr Waheed of replacing the cabinet with mostly Gayoom supporters and senior opposition figures, particularly to the positions of Defence Minister (Mohamed Nazim), Police Commissioner (Abdulla Riyaz), Youth/Human Resources Ministry (Mohamed ‘Mundu’ Shareef, Gayoom’s spokesperson), Attorney General (Azima Shukoor, Gayoom’s lawyer), and Home Minister (DQP member Dr Mohamed Jameel).

Dr Waheed has dismissed the claims as misleading, saying that “Anything other than President Mohamed Nasheed’s government is now being painted as the old government, as a return to the old regime. In this country most of us grew up and got education during the last 33 years, and most of the well educated people in this country worked in government. The government was the biggest employer in the country and continues to be so.

“Therefore don’t be surprised that some people served in President Gayoom’s government. That doesn’t mean that anyone seen in the last 33 years has allegiance to a particular person. This is a very narrow way of looking at it. If you look at cabinet you can see I have been very careful in my selections.”


Dr Waheed appoints majority opposition, Gayoom supporters to cabinet

President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik made seven new appointments to the cabinet on Sunday morning.

The majority are hard-line opposition figures, while several are long time supporters of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. Only two of the new appointments (the tourism and and health portfolios) have previously undeclared political affiliations.

Dr Waheed has faced pressure from his predecessor former President Mohamed Nasheed, who has challenged the legitimacy of Dr Waheed’s government claiming that he was forced to resign in a bloodless coup d’etat  on February 7 at the hands of rogue police and military officers.

Dr Waheed said yesterday that he wanted cabinet to “represent all major political parties”, hoped that Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) would be represented, and said he would “keep posts vacant for them”. The MDP has so far rejected any participation in Dr Waheed’s government.

Mohamed Hussein Shareef ‘Mundhu’ was appointed as the Minister for Human Resources Youth and Sport. Shareef has been the spokesperson for former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom since his last term in office and also holds the Acting Secretary General’s post in Gayoom’s Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM).

Aishath Azima Shakoor was appointed as the Attorney General. She once held the same post under the former administration and is known be one of the most successful lawyers in the country with a record number of wins in controversial cases against Nasheed’s administration. She is a council member of Gayoom’s PPM.

Ahmed Mohamed ‘Andey’, Deputy Leader of leading opposition party Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP), was appointed as the Minister of Economic Development. He has been an outspoken critic of Nasheed’s privatisation policies and the state’s budget formulation. He was the former CEO of the State Trading Organisation (STO) under Gayoom’s administration, the organisation implicated in blackmarket oil trading with the Burmese military junta under the former chairmanship of Gayoom’s half-brother, Abdulla Yameen.

The DRP was the first official party registered by Gayoom before he announced his resignation from politics in February 2010, becoming the party’s ‘honorary leader’. He became increasingly politically active and later fell out with his anointed replacement, Ahmed Thasmeen Ali, and formed the PPM after an acrimonious split.

Dr Asim Ahmed, a member of the DRP, was appointed as the Minister of Education. He has not been a particularly active member in the country’s political spotlight.

Dr Ahmed Shamheed was appointed as the Minister of Transport and Communication. He is a member of minority opposition Jumhooree Party (JP) and works as a Director at Villa Shipping and Trade, owned by JP Leader Gasim Ibrahim. He served in the ministry of planning and development under Gayoom’s administration. He is also a director of the Maldives Tourism Development Corporation Board (MTDC).

Ahmed Adheeb, was sworn in as the Minister of Tourism Arts and Culture. Adheeb is the President of the Maldives National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI) is well known as a critic of the Nasheed’s economic policies. Under his leadership, the MNCCI made a failed attempt in court to halt the enactment of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Act, citing worse economic ramifications and violations of law. He is a widely respected economic analyst.

Dr Ahmed Jamsheed was meanwhile appointed as the Minister of Health and Family. Jamsheed, formerly Director General of the Centre for Community Health and Disease Control (CCHDC) resigned from his post, over concerns about reduced workloads, and later joined as the Cheif Operating Officer (COO) at ADK hospital. He is one of the leading and most outspoken public health experts in the country, and has been extremely active in promoting both public health and combating malaria epidemics in the Maldives.

Dr Waheed earlier appointed Deputy Leader of minority opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DQP) Dr Mohamed Jameel as the Home Minister and retired colonel Mohamed Nazim as the Defence Minister last week. Both are also notable supporters of Gayoom. Most recently Dr Jameel, Gayoom’s Justice Minister prior to the separation of powers, was an outspoken critic of Nasheed’s religious policies, authoring a pamphlet entitled ‘President Nasheed’s devious plot to destroy the Islamic faith of Maldivians’ and attacking his “business dealings with Jews”.

Dr Jameel is the only member in the cabinet from DQP, Dr Shamheed only member from JP while including Nazim the ministerial posts held by DRP members reach three and PPM stands at two.

Meanwhile ministers are yet to be appointed to the Finance Ministry, Islamic Ministry, Foreign Ministry, Fisheries Ministry and the Housing Ministry.

Abdullah Riyaz, former Assistant commissioner dismissed by Nasheed was appointed as the Commissioner of Police and Major General Ahmed Shiyam, appointed as Chief of Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF).

“No self interest”

Speaking after the appointments, President Dr Waheed said that remaining cabinet ministers will be appointed in a week, and expressed his hopes for MDP’s participation.

“We all are with that hope. Because, today the country needs all of us to work together to establish peace, and take the country out of the deep pit of economic and political [problems] to find a prosperous future for our children,” Dr Waheed said.

He also added that: “I cannot do this work without the benevolent and sincere help of the [cabinet ministers]”, who he claimed had the full potential to serve the nation with “no self interest” during these “special circumstances”.

The newly appointed cabinet ministers must be approved by the parliament, in which MDP currently holds 35 seats, a single seat behind total opposition combined.

Minivan News could not get MDP’s comment on the new appointments as no member was available at the time of press – however, MDP has steadily rejected the legitimacy of Dr Waheed’s government accusing him of participating in what they call an opposition backed coup to force Nasheed out of office.

MDP Thodoo MP Ali Waheed has earlier stated that MDP will do everything to “stop the implementation of Dr Waheed’s every order” through parliament if he continues to remain in office, and ignores the party’s call for new elections in the next two months.