Jabir’s legal team ask court to determine ways jailed MP can campaign

The wife of Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Abdulla Jabir has today submitted a legal issue to the High Court arguing that the recently jailed MP has a right to campaign for next month’s Majlis elections.

Jabir is currently serving a one year jail sentence after being found guilty of declining to provide a urine sample for police to run a drug test.

Speaking to Minivan News today Dhiyana Saeed said that Article 73 of the constitution, which details persons who cannot qualify as Majlis candidates, states that a person serving a jail term of less than 12 months is still qualified.

“If the constitution states that a person serving a jail term less than 12 months will be able to contest in the election then that person should not be suspended from obtaining his electoral rights,’’ she said. “If he is able to contest then he must also be able to campaign.”

Dhiyana – herself a former attorney general and SAARC secretary general – said that the High Court should allow the MP to make phone calls and talk to constituents at a time determined by the court, or he should be allowed to visit a campaign office at a time determined by the court.

Dhiyana noted that when the Elections Act was enacted in 2008, the Jumhooree Party filed a court case claiming that the act’s ruling that prisoners are not able to vote was inconsistent with the constitution.

The High Court subsequently ruled that that article was void and that inmates should have the right to vote.

“So this is the other side of that right, that time it was the right of the persons voting and this time it is the right of the candidate,’’ she said.

Dhiyana revealed that the High Court has said it will decide on accepting the issue and inform her this afternoon.

“If the High Court does not accept this case then we will try filing it with the Civil Court as a civil right issue,’’ she added.

On February 20, 2014, the Criminal Court found Abdulla Jabir guilty of refusing to provide his urine sample to the police to run a drug test, and sentenced him to twelve months under the 2011 Drug Act.

On November 16, 2012, Jabir was arrested along with other high profile MDP members on suspicion that they were in possession and under the influence of alcohol and cannabis from Jabir’s uninhabited island Hondaidhoo in Haa Alifu Atoll.

The prosecutor general pressed three charges against Jabir – one for the charge of declining to provide a urine sample to police,  a second charge for making cannabis transactions, and a third for possession of alcohol.

Last month, the Criminal Court found Jabir guilty of declining to provide urine sample and the MP was taken into custody. Last week, however, the court ruled that the state was not able to prove that Jabir had made any transactions involving cannabis. The alcohol possession case is ongoing.

Jabir’s legal team has claimed the first trial contravened the MP’s constitutional rights as well as the principles of natural justice.

“The number of procedural violations in the whole criminal justice process in regard to this case is highly concerning and we believe that Hon. Abdullah Jabir was denied the fundamental rights that constitutes a free and fair hearing guaranteed to him by Article 42 of the Constitution,” read a press release from Aequitas Legal Consultants last week.

Last month a house in Malé owned by the MP was raided by police, with three men were arrested and drugs and alcohol were seized, though it was reported that Jabir does not live in the building.


MDP MPs alcohol possession case continues

The second hearing into Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Hamed Abdul Ghafoor’s alcohol and cannabis possession case was cancelled today after the accused failed to attend.

A Criminal Court official told Sun Online today that Hamed did not appear at the 10am hearing.

Sun also reported that Hamed’s fellow MDP MP Abdulla Jabir – also accused of possession of alcohol and cannabis – had his passport held by immigration officials when trying to leave the country yesterday.

Jabir’s wife – former Attorney General Dhiyana Saeed – told Sun Online that a passport could only be withheld after announcing the charges against the accused at a first hearing.

Whilst Ghafoor was in attendance at the cases first hearing at the start of the month, Jabir did not. Dhiyana today explained that her husband had not been handed the summons requesting his attendance for this hearing, as he had been campaigning with his party in the atolls.

Both MPs are facing charges of smuggling alcohol into the country and consuming it, as well as possession of cannabis and objecting to urine testing.


Supreme Court takes over Civil Court case on legitimacy of transfer of power

The Supreme Court has taken over a case filed at the Civil Court by dismissed Human Rights Minister Dhiyana Saeed, who had requested a ruling declaring that the transfer of power on February 7, 2012 was illegitimate.

The Supreme Court ordered the lower court last week to suspend its proceedings and send over the case files before 3:00pm on Thursday (May 23). The court order (Dhivehi) stated that the apex court would determine whether the Civil Court had jurisdiction to hear the case.

The court order was issued following a request by the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) for the Supreme Court to decide on the question of jurisdiction.

At the first hearing of the Civil Court case, the AGO requested proceedings be halted pending a ruling from the Supreme Court. However, the judge decided to proceed with the hearing in the absence of a court order by the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court order was revealed today by the recently launched official twitter account of the Civil Court.

Dhiyana Saeed – also former SAARC Secretary General and former President Mohamed Nasheed’s first Attorney General – had first submitted the case to the High Court, which however decided that it was outside the appeal court’s jurisdiction.

The case was filed at the Civil Court earlier this month.

The defendant in Dhiyana’s lawsuit was Speaker of Parliament Abdulla Shahid, who recently defected from the government-aligned Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) to the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and is currently campaigning for former President Nasheed.

Nasheed resigned in the wake of a violent mutiny by Special Operations (SO) police officers, who assaulted government supporters, ransacked the ruling party Haruge (meeting hall), protested at the Republic Square, clashed with the military, vandalised the police headquarters and stormed the state broadcaster on the morning of February 7.

Saeed’s lawsuit noted that Shahid was the state official with the authority under article 121 of the constitution to declare the office of the president vacant, should an incumbent president resign or vacate the office.

“It was the Speaker of Parliament who declared the office of president vacant, be it had he done it knowingly, mistakenly or unknowingly,” Saeed told newspaper Haveeru. “This doesn’t mean Shahid committed a criminal offense. It also does not mean that he partook in the events or that he made the decision [maliciously].”

She contended that Speaker Shahid had failed to look into the circumstances surrounding Nasheed’s resignation before accepting the letter.

Saeed told Minivan News that she and her co-counsels “stopped short of asking for Nasheed’s reinstatement,” adding that she did not have “the locus standi to ask for a particular relief.”

“If the ruling comes in our favour, it might be possible for Nasheed to institute a second proceeding for reinstatement. As far as this case is concerned, our interest is in the rule of law and invoking constitutional process to uphold the legal order as stipulated by the constitution,” Saeed explained at the time.

Supreme Court intervention

Meanwhile, in her report to the United Nations Human Rights Council following a visit to the Maldives, UN Special Rapporteur on Independence of Judges and Lawyers Gabriela Knaul observed that it was “troublesome that some of the Supreme Court’s interventions are perceived as arbitrary and as serving the judges’ own personal interests.”

“Moreover, the Supreme Court is said to have taken away cases directly from the superior courts before they were adjudicated, without explaining which criteria or procedures were applied,” Knaul wrote.

The Supreme Court has on a number of occasions issued writs of mandamus taking over cases from lower courts. In November 2012, the Supreme Court instructed the High Court to suspend proceedings on an appeal by former President Nasheed concerning the legitimacy of the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court.

At the same time, the apex court ordered the Civil Court to send over all files on a case submitted by a lawyer, Ismail Visham, disputing the legal status of the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court.

The Supreme Court also intervened in litigation concerning a border control project awarded to Malaysian mobile security firm Nexbis.

Transfer of power

Following her dismissal from the cabinet by President Dr Mohamed Waheed last year, Saeed released a personal memoir alleging that Nasheed’s political rivals had conspired to assassinate him.

Saeed alleged that the controversial transfer of presidential power on February 7 was the result of a premeditated and well-orchestrated plan, and questioned the findings of the Commonwealth-backed Commission of National Inquiry (CoNI), which concluded that Nasheed had resigned voluntarily.

In January 2013, parliament’s Government Oversight Committee commenced a review of the CoNI report and heard testimony from six of the highest-ranking officers of the security services at the time of the transfer of power.

Following its inquiry, Committee Chair MP Ali Waheed claimed that the report produced by CoNI was “flawed” based on the findings of the committee.

The CoNI report lacked “key information [senior police and military officers] had given” while “others claimed their information was wrongly presented,” the MDP MP said at the time.


MPs and Police respond to intel chiefs’ Nasheed assassination attempt allegations

Former Head of Intelligence Chief Superintendent ‘MC’ Mohamed Hameed has stated in his January 9 testimony to the parliament’s Executive Oversight Committee that the police intelligence department received information about two separate assassination plans against former President Mohamed Nasheed.

Hameed further alleged that MP ‘RedWave’ Ahmed Saleem had stored a “poisonous chemical” in his company warehouse in 2011 and that the intelligence department learned of plans to use this deadly chemical to assassinate the then president.

Speaking in the same committee, former military intelligence head Brigadier General Ahmed Nilam also claimed to have received information about an assassination attempt planned to have been carried out during an MNDF live-fire event.

Former Minister of Human Rights of the current administration Fathimath Dhiyana Saeed has also spoken in December 2012 of assassination plans made against Nasheed by politicians she had then referred to as X and Y. She has since revealed X to be Deputy Speaker of Parliament People’s Alliance (PA) MP Ahmed Nazim and Y to be independent MP Mohamed Nasheed.

Following the public release of these allegations, MP Nasheed, MP Saleem and the police institution have responded denying the allegations.

Not involved in any assassination plans: MP Nasheed

Independent MP Nasheed has published an article on his personal blog denying involvement in any assassination plans.

Nasheed wrote that he had never spoken with former Gender Minister Dhiyana of any plans to assassinate Nasheed.

Questioning whether Dhiyana had indeed stated that MP Nasheed had spoken to her of involvement in orchestrating a coup d’etat to topple the former administration, he denied having ever brought up such a subject with her. He furthermore stated that he did not believe Dhiyana would have made such a statement.

Dhiyana’s account, released as a booklet titled “Silent Enquiry: A Personal Memoir on the issue of the Transfer of Powers on the 7th of February 2012” does not accuse person “Y”, later identified as MP Nasheed, of having partaken in assassination plans.

It however stated that through conversation with MP Nasheed she had learnt that he had pledged support to then Vice President, current President Mohamed Waheed Hassan, while he had refused the offer of the post of Vice President “should Waheed ascend to power in the coming week.”

“A week before the now disputed resignation of President Nasheed, his Vice President had invited ‘Y’ to his residence for dinner. After dinner, when he was about to leave, when he was bending over to put on his shoes, the Vice President had bent over and whispered into his ears that things would be difficult in the coming week and whether ‘Y’ would help him. ‘Y’, not suspecting that anything out of the ordinary would happen in the coming week had assured the Vice President that he would indeed help him,” Dhiyana wrote.

Deputy Speaker of Parliament Ahmed Nazim has so far not responded publicly to the allegations made against him.

Will take the matter to court: MP Saleem

Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MP ‘RedWave’ Ahmed Saleem released a statement on Monday claiming the public release of statements given by intelligence chiefs of police and the defence forces had caused losses worth millions to businesses in which he holds a stake.

In response to the allegations of his involvement in an assassination plan against Nasheed, Saleem stated that he intends to take legal action against a number of persons he perceives as being responsible for the loss caused to him.

Saleem stated that the parliament, MDP and individual persons were included in the entities against whom he would be filing cases in the Civil Court. He furthermore states his intention to lodge a complaint with police asking them to look into the “criminal activity of the committing of unlawful activities to destroy [his] business.”

Saleem denied ever having involvement in any plans to take the life of any person.

No records of assassination plans found: PC Riyaz

Commissioner of Police Abdulla Riyaz was reported in local media as saying that there were no records of investigations having been undertaken into any suspected assassination attempts against Nasheed.

Riyaz stated that police had looked into the matter after the former police intelligence head gave his testimony to the parliament.

“We found no records of such an assassination attempt, and no indication that any investigation had been carried out on the matter. As a norm, if such serious intelligence information had been received, an investigation would definitely be undertaken,” Riyaz is reported to have said.

Riyaz further stated that the police had now been instructed to look into the matter further and to determine why no official records had been lodged if such critical information had indeed been uncovered by the police.


Alidhoo Resort staff allegedly still owed wages: “If they don’t like it, they can leave,” says resort owner Jabir

J Hotel & Resorts owner MP Abdulla Jabir has responded to no payment allegations made by Aldihoo Resort staff, declaring “If they do not like it, they can leave”.

Staff at the resort revealed how both Maldivian and foreign workers had not received pay for four months and six months respectively, despite complaints made to management and various external government organisations.

Alidhoo Resort in Haa Alif Atoll is run by J Hotel & Resorts, a company owned by Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Abdullah Jabir, the husband of former Human Rights Minister Dhiyana Saeed.

Five Alidhoo Resort workers living in the near-by island of Dhidhdhoo spoke to Minivan News – under condition of anonymity – of their frustration as management continues to withhold their pay.

The five workers claim that the Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM) has “forgotten” about them, despite multiple complaints made to the institution.

“We [staff] complain every other week to the HRCM, but never receive any response. We contacted the Labour Ministry and they told us they would reply in November, but they still haven’t got back to us.

“Our verbal complaints never get us anywhere with management, usually they say ‘we can’t pay you right now”’even though the resort’s been at 100 percent occupancy the last few months,” alleged the staff.

Earlier this year the Tourism Employees’ Association of the Maldives (TEAM) released information revealing that Alidhoo’s management had not paid the resort’s 125 expatriate staff for six months, while the 85 local employees had not been paid since May.

“I am struggling more than the staff”: MP Abdulla Jabir

Responding to the no payment allegations, J Hotel & Resorts Chairman Abdulla Jabir explained that there was a delay in payment because of a “delay in making money”.

Jabir claimed that there had been less than 30 percent occupancy in the last year, despite staff claiming it being at 100 percent for the last two months.

“We have 250 staff [at Alidhoo Resort] and rather than go on leave and then come back during times of low occupancy they are telling us they want to stay.

“[The staff] are not struggling, that’s wrong. If they are struggling, they will not stay. They are staying and that means they are not struggling.

“I am struggling more than them,” he added.

Staff have gone on strike on three previous occasions over the salary issue, but have been met with harsh penalties including the dismissal of those staff involved in the strikes.

Sources from within the resort claim they face losing their jobs if they make a formal complaint to management and are therefore “trapped” over the payment issue.

Despite Jabir’s company owning Alidhoo Resort, the MDP MP distanced himself from allegations made by the workers claiming that he “is not involved in this” and that the media need to contact the people responsible for the matter, adding: “You don’t contact [Silvio] Berlusconi for every matter in Italy, you contact the respective ministers.”

“If I close the resort they don’t get pay, they don’t get food, they don’t get accommodation and they will be jobless.

“Maybe they get 10 days, 15 days delay in salary, or even a month’s delay in salary, but they are making it. It is not an issue,” Jabir told Minivan News.

“The staff can go home if they feel like not working for us.”

A mother from Baarah, Haa Alif Atoll who has worked at the Alidhoo Resort for the last four years, alleged to Minivan News that even when staff are paid late, they are rarely paid the full amount.

“In two months they will pay for just one month, and if pay is delayed for three months, we will still only get one month’s pay, that is how they operate,” she said.

“I went to Human Resources and asked why my salary has been cut off for the last four months and they said ‘we can only pay for one month’, and that’s MVR 3000 (US$ 195).”

Jabir has agreed to sell property to finance staff: Jabir’s wife Dhiyana Saeed

When the staff payment issue was raised back in June 2012, the now former Human Rights Minister Dhiyana Saeed – who is also the wife of J Hotel & Resorts chairman – said that no complaints had been made to her ministry.

Speaking to Minivan News over the recent claims, Dhiyana said that she was aware that her husband was having financial “trouble” and that there are outstanding payments to both staff and other people, however she claimed that Jabir is “doing his best” to repay the debts.

“We talk about these problems at home and [Jabir] has agreed to sell his property to finance staff and other people.

“It has been very hard for him to raise the money, but we are very close to making a deal with selling the property and clearing our debts,” said Dhiyana.

MDP members mark International Human Rights Day

Jabir, who recently switched from the Jumhoree Party (JP) to the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), joined the MDP’s Journey of Pledges tour as they visited neighbouring islands to Alidhoo Resort.

Minivan News raised the staff payment issue with MDP President Mohamed Nasheed moments after he had just completed a run to mark International Human Rights Day in Kulhudufushi earlier this week.

“There has been so many human trafficking allegations and you mention a certain entrepreneur having not paid [his staff], but I keep on going to work sites all over the country and there are so many ex-pats unpaid and their working conditions are also so bad, that is human trafficking,” said Nasheed. “If you have appropriate standards across the board then you won’t have this opportunity of cheap labour.”

HRCM’s Investigation Officer Aishaph Afreen Mohamed revealed that a complaint had been lodged by Alidhoo Resort staff in September, and that an investigation by the HRCM into the complaint is “ongoing”.

When asked how long the investigation is expected to last, Aishaph stated she was “not sure” as the HRCM has to obtain information “from all relevant departments”.

Almost all staff have now been paid: Alidhoo GM Jadhulla Jaleel

General Manager of the Alidhoo Resort Jadhulla Jaleel, admitted there had been a delay in paying staff, but claimed that as of today “almost all” staff had been paid.

“Sometimes there is a delay, but we always pay. Our staff trust us that they will be paid,” Jaleel said. “Only today (November 11) we have paid almost all of the staff, we paid a total of MVR 500,000.”

When asked to further clarify how many staff come under “almost all”, Jaleel then stated: “All staff, both foreign and local have been paid.

“If you call your sources, they will confirm they have been paid. Some of the staff won’t be able to confirm it because they won’t have collected their money today,” Jaleel claimed.

A reliable source within the resort confirmed to Minivan News that as of November 11 they had been paid, but for only two out of the four months owed. The source also alleged that foreign staff members were yet to receive any of their six-months of missing payments.


President appoints Deputy Minister of Gender, Family and Human Rights

Mohamed Zahid has been appointed Deputy Minister of Gender, Family and Human Rights, the President’s Office has announced.

Zahid will serve under Dhiyana Saeed, who heads the ministry, which was formed back in May as part of a cabinet shake-up.

President Mohamed Waheed Hassan announced at the time that he was to abolish the previous Ministry of Health and Family in favour of two separate bodies.  These bodies are the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Gender, Family and Human Rights.


Issue of unratified cabinet members on Majlis agenda

The People’s Majlis will on Monday consider the appointment of the three cabinet members who failed to gain the approval of the Government Accountability Committee last month, local media has reported.

On June 11, Dr Mohamed Muiz, Dr Mariyam Shakeela, and Dr Ahmed Jamsheed failed to gain the approval of the 11 member committee, despite it being dominated by parties from the unity government, although the committee did approve Dhiyana Saeed as the Minister for Gender.

The posts for the new portfolios with the Ministries of Health, Housing, and Environment were left to the full Majlis to deliberate upon after pro-government Jumhoory Party (JP) MP Alhan Fahmy voted with the Maldivian Democratic Party committee members.

Just before the June vote, the JP announced its intention to forward its new President Dr Ibrahim Didi as Health Minister, the post currently held by Jamsheed whilst he awaits his re-appointment to the slightly altered post.


Foreign staff at Alidhoo Resort allegedly unpaid for six months: “No complaints with my Ministry,” says Human Rights Minister

Staff at Alidhoo Resort in Haa Alif Atoll have not been paid for up to six months in some cases, sources in the resort have alleged to Minivan News.

According to information from Tourism Employees’ Association of the Maldives (TEAM), corroborated by sources at the resort, the Alidhoo’s management have not paid the resort’s 125 expatriate staff  for six months, while the 85 local employees have not been paid since May.

Alidhoo is run by J Hotel & Resorts, a company owned by current Deputy Leader of the Jumhoree Party, MP Abdullah Jabir, the husband of newly-appointed Minister of Human Rights, Dhiyana Saeed.

Also according to the resort source, the resort has also been deducting seven percent from every staff’ member’s salary for the state pension scheme, but have allegedly failed to deposit this money in their pension accounts.

Staff have gone on strike on three previous occasions over the salary issue, but have been met with harsh penalties including the dismissal of those staffs involved in the strikes. Staff at resort reported that the occupancy was currently eight percent.

Staff went on strike last year shortly before Ramadan, claiming non-payment of wages.

“It is almost the end of this month and Ramadan is coming up – we have to send money to our families back on the islands and we are really broke,” said a staff member working in the resort at the time.

He also alleged that allowances for the staffs working in the resort had not been paid for the last three months, including service charges and overtime.

The company at the time stated that the delay in payment of the wages was because Jabir, the company’s chairman, was not in the Maldives at the time. Jabir told Minivan News at the time that “The payments were delayed because I was not here.”

A few days later, the resort made a decision to sack 12 staff members following the strike over unpaid wages. Following the dismissals, Jabir told Minivan News, “Don’t ever call me about this again.”

Minivan News tried contacting Jabir today, but did not respond at time of press.


Speaking to Minivan News on condition of anonymity, a staff member today told Minivan News that they were “helpless”. Expatriate staffs in particular had been “forced to remain silent” as their employment was at stake, the source said.

“Every time we go to the management, they say they would pay next week – but it never materialises. Now it has been a month,” he said.

The staff member also confirmed that pension money was regularly deducted but had not been deposited into their pension accounts for the previous five months.

“The last deposit made to our pension account was on January 2012. I personally checked with the Pension Administration Office and that was what they told me,” he said.

The staff member further said that the resort’s bed occupancy had not risen above eight percent for the last two months. This, he said, had dissuaded staff from further strike action “because if we stage a strike we know it is going to be us who will suffer at the end of the day,” he said.

Asked if the staff has contacted the relevant authorities for assistance, he claimed that the process was “long and too risky”.

The General Manager of the Resort, Mr Jadullah, denied the allegations stating that the resort was paying its staff regularly, and told staff to “come and collect it”.

“Those claims over unpaid wages are not true. We have been paying the wages on a regular basis, but there may be some staff who have not come to collect their salaries,” he told Minivan News. “We have asked those staff to collect their salaries before the end of this month,” he said.

Asked about the alleged failure to deposit staff pension money, he said that the resort’s Male’ office was responsible and said he had “asked them in writing to provide the details of the deposits.”

“Organise, fight and win”, says TEAM

Mauroof Zakir, President of Tourism Employees Association of the Maldives (TEAM), told Minivan News that the group had been advising staff on the island after being made aware of the issue.

“This has been happening in that resort for years. In 2009 and 2010 there was a strike regarding unpaid wages and it succeeded in 2010, but after 2011’s strike, the management sacked 12 employees,” he said.

“We are saying that the employees need to organise themselves: they must organise first, and then fight and win,” said Zakir.

Zakir said that TEAM was limited in its capacity to help due to a lack of resources and funding. However he said that TEAM was handling 35 cases currently in several courts and labor tribunals.

He raised concerns regarding the rise of unfair dismissals across the country, and said that even this year so far there had been around 48 such dismissals of employees due to low bed occupancy rates.

Asked about the reasons for the increase, he said, “The biggest reason why the number of unfair dismissals have gone up is because the decisions and orders of the labor tribunal are not enforced. As a result, it encourages resorts to easily sack staff.”

Human Rights Minister reluctant to comment

Human Rights Minister Dhiyana Saeed – the wife of J Hotel’s owner and chairman – said no complaints had been made to her ministry and that therefore she did not want to comment.

Asked for the government’s opinion on the matter of employee exploitation, she repeated her comment.

“I do not want to take the initiative and make a comment on the matter because there are no such reports or complaints submitted to my ministry,” she said.

President of the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM), Mariyam Azra, told Minivan News that the commission would only look into such issues once they had been reported.

Asked if HRCM was advocating the rights of employees, and initiating actions to resolve such matters, she said she would look into the matter and call back. She had not responded at time of press.

HRCM member Jeehan Mahmood told Minivan News that labor exploitation was the number one complaint filed with the commission.

“Sometimes some expatriate workers are forced to work for 11 or 12 months and are not paid or given the required vacation periods. We believe that if it goes on for this long, it’s forced labour,” she said.

Mahmood said that cases in which expatriate workers had worked for 11 or 12 months without pay because they had no other option and were unable to return home, amounted to slavery.


Government-majority committee rejects cabinet appointees

The Majlis’s Government Accountability Committee yesterday approved only one of four proposed cabinet members after half of the government coalition’s committee members failed to vote for them.

The governing coalition holds a majority of seats on the committee, with eight members compared to the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) three.

At yesterday’s committee meeting, only the proposed appointee for the Ministry of Gender, Dhiyana Saeed of the Jumhooree Party (JP), was approved by those present.

After the MDP members voted against Dhiyana’s appointment, the Chair of the committee and Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MP Mohamed Mujuthaz cast the deciding vote in her favour.
The other  nominees – Dr Mohamed Muiz as Mohamed as Minister of Housing and Infrastructure, Dr Mariyam Shakeela as Minister of Environment and Energy, and Dr Ahmed Jamsheed Minister of Health – failed to get the required votes.

Three of the pro-government members of the committee failed to attend yesterday’s vote whilst another voted against the appointments, resulting in the failure to gain the votes required to approve three of the government’s candidates.

Following the government’s re-structuring of cabinet, two new members required parliamentary approval, whilst two others required the Majlis’s confirmation after changes to their ministerial portfolios.

MP for Feydhoo constituency Alhan Fahmy is reported by Haveeru to have voted alongside the three MDP members against the unsuccessful government nominees.

Fahmy now represents the Jumhoree Party (JP) in the Majlis after his recent defection from the MDP.

The Jumhoree Party held a council meeting yesterday evening during which it elected Dr Ibrahim Didi, another recent arrival from the MDP, at the party’s President following his uncontested candidacy.

Dr Didi, who was President of the MDP until its National Council voted him out on April 30, told Haveeru yesterday the appointment was “the happiest day of my political career.”

The JP has also announced that its council had backed Dr Didi to be the Health Minister – a position currently held by Dr Ahmed Jamsheed, whose appointment was one of those voted on earlier in the day.

Fahmy, who was unavailable for comment at the time of press, is said to have abstained from the vote concerning his fellow JP colleague Dhiyana, leaving only seven members to vote on her appointment.

Haveeru reported that the JP party leader Ibrahim Gasim will now talk to President Waheed about this proposed change to the cabinet.

The decision on these appointees will now move to the floor of the Majlis where President’s Office Spokesman Abbas Adil Riza is confident that they will still be approved.

Asked by Minivan News if the problems with the ministers’ approvals was indicative of greater problems within the governing coalition, Abbas responded, “no, it’s nothing like that”.

The cabinet changes entailed the division of the ‘Ministry of Health and Family’ into the ‘Ministry of Health’ and the ‘Ministry of Gender, Family and Human Rights’.

The ‘Ministry of Housing and Environment’ has now become the ‘Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure’ and the ‘Ministry of Environment and Energy’.