President Yameen call on the military to maintain discipline and professionalism

President Abdulla Yameen has called on military officials to maintain discipline and professional standards in their service.

“The state wants to make soldiers professional. The security of the state depends on the professionalism of soldiers.”

“Political ideology should not enter the ranks of soldiers,” said Yameen – the commander in chief of the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF).

Yameen’s comments were made during a ceremony held in Malé to mark the 122nd anniversary of the military service in the Maldives. The occasion also saw the launch of the military’s own television station and the presentation of numerous awards.

Yameen said disciplinary action has to be taken in order to maintain professional standards. He noted that some “very honorable” members of the military lost their jobs recently, but that this has to be accepted as “the military way of life”.

Though the president noted that the military had gained the love and trust of Maldivians, he warned that such confidence was very fragile.

“The confidence in you from the state and citizens is not guaranteed in any way. It is a very delicate confidence, it is a very delicate contract.”

“Action take during a single incident could lose the society’ confidence in the military. Let us recall the recent past. 2012 presented a strong example of this from the military institution,” Yameen said.


During the ceremony, President Yameen launched MNDF’s official television channel ‘Addana TV’.

MNDF deputy spokesperson Captain Ali Ihsan told Minivan News today that the channel is currently being received only within the military premises and will be broadcast for the general public after the necessary license is acquired from the Maldives Broadcasting Commission (MBC).

MBC has confirmed that MNDF has not yet registered any television channel for public broadcasting.

While programming is currently limited to just two hours, the future schedule will provide details on the activities of the military and raise awareness of laws, as well as providing entertainment.

The channel will be maintained by the Media and Publishing Service unit of the force and is currently being funded by “well wishers”, explained Ihsan, as well as the MNDF cooperative society SIFCO and its joint venture company SIWEC (owned 90 percent by SIFCO, and 10 percent by the government).

At last night’s ceremony, commendation letters and certificates were awarded to servicemen for various achievements, and honorary shields given to institutions, servicemen, and other individuals in recognition of their services.

Minister of Defence and National Security Colonel (Rt) Mohamed Nazim was honored with the ‘Sincere Service Medal’ for his services towards the development of the military service, the numerous opportunities provided for soldiers, and the “great amount of love for the military in his heart”.

Speaking at the ceremony, Nazim promised the modern and quality equipment necessary to improve the services of the military.

Chief of Defense Force Major General Ahmed Shiyam was also awarded with the same honor for productive works in his personal capacity, and his future plans to reform the military.

The ceremony was concluded with a special prayer and the official MNDF song.


Police commence special operation to confiscate dangerous animals

Police have today said they have started a special operation to seize all dangerous animals that are illegally imported to the country.

In a statement the police said they had commenced a joint special operation with the relevant government institutions after having noticed that sightings of such animals on streets and other places had become common in the Maldives.

Police said that aim of the special operation was to seize all these animals and take them under police charge before a regrettable incident occurs.

Furthermore, the police stated that the Ministry of Environment and Energy, the Fisheries Ministry, customs and the Maldives National Defence Force were all involved in the operation.

Police have also appealed to the public to inform police if they have any information by contacting the police hotline – 332 2111, the police emergency hotline – 119, or police Criminal Investigation Department – 963 1696.

On 16 March Police Commissioner Hussain Waheed met with Commissioner General of Customs Ahmed Mohamed and a delegation of senior customs official to discuss the increase in illegal animals being discovered during recent drug operations.

A police statement at the time reported that Waheed had told officials that citizens were now in constant fear, noting that the police did not have any role in the airports and other ports.

He also said that police now needed to conduct as many operations to confiscate illegal and dangerous animals as to curb drug related crimes.

Earlier in March, police discovered a royal python – a nonvenomous snake commonly kept as a pet – following a drugs raid in Himmafushi, Kaafu atoll, on March 4.

In a separate raid on March 7 police also confiscated a Kingsnake and a Mexican red-kneed tarantula from a house in Malé.

A slow loris was also discovered by police in a drugs raid in Malé in Januray 21.  It has been revealed this week that the ministry is considering destroying the animal after attempts to find a suitable home had failed.


Government to introduce nationwide sea-ambulance service

The government has announced it is to start a sea ambulance service within two months and expand it nationwide within the year, Haveeru has reported.

In a press conference held to announce the service, Ministry of Defense Mohamed Nazim said it will be initially launched for four regions and later expanded to twenty three zones, covering the whole country. According to Haveeru, the service will be covered under the Aasandha national health insurance scheme.

“The objective is to take patients to a health center instead of bring them to Malé,” Nazim was quoted as saying.

Speed boats under the Ministry of Health, Maldives Police Services and Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) are to be converted into ‘sea-ambulances’ for the service, with enough space for patients and necessary health equipment.

Quoting Health Minister Mariyam Shakeela, Haveeru reported that to this day a health ambulance service was not provided properly and only six out of twenty six speed boats owned by the ministry were usable.

The service will be begin with a government allocated budget, but will depend on funding from the United Nations and the Red Crescent, Shakeela was quoted as saying. According to the minister, the service will create new jobs, where employees will be well trained and covered by a special insurance scheme.

The MNDF will be managing the ambulances and emergency operations will be carried out by MNDF area commands.


Police follow MNDF in forming cooperative society to conduct business activities

The Maldives Police Service (MPS) on Sunday registered its first cooperative society, the Police Corporative Society (POLCO), with the Ministry of Economic Development.

Registrar of Companies Ali Sujaau told local news website Sun Online that the cooperative society had been registered with 15 shareholders. Sujau did not reveal any details of the 15 shareholders.

Speaking to local media, Police Spokesperson Sub-Inspector Hassan Haneef said that the cooperative society was formed in accordance with the police act, and that  it would to carry out business activities that would help boost the police welfare fund.

“The main purpose of [forming POLCO] is to improve the functioning of police, and for that matter, improve the welfare fund of police officers and their families and retired police officers and their families as well. Even now there is a police shop open,” Haneef said.

Commissioner of Police Abdulla Riyaz also tweeted about the formation of the corporative society, stating that it “will support to improve the welfare” of police officers and family members.

Haneef confirmed the formation of the cooperative society to Minivan News.

“We have been doing works to strengthen the police welfare mechanism, and the formation of a police corporative society was a part of the work,” he said.

Haneef further said that the current police shop that is being run will now be operated by the police cooperative society, and that it “would be researching new business ventures”.

The decision follows the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF)’s similar move, which has begun negotiations to enter the tourism industry with the privatisation of the Thanburudhoo island as a surf resort.

Asked if the police cooperative society would follow the MNDF cooperative society in entering the tourism industry, Haneef did not rule out the possibility.

“For now, I think it is too early to say what type of business that we may be focusing on. We are now discussing on an action plan of how the cooperative society will progress and maybe it is a possibility,” Haneef said.

MNDF Welfare Company

Last month the MNDF registered the joint venture “MNDF Welfare Company” aiming to invest in various businesses, including the tourism industry, in a bid to generate revenue to fund welfare services for the armed forces.

The “MNDF Welfare Company” registered at the Economic Ministry is 10 percent government owned, and 90 percent by SIFCO, MNDF ‘s cooperative society, which provides welfare services for defence force officers and their families,  including subsidised products and loans.

Just a week after the formation of the welfare company, MNDF confirmed plans to develop a tourist resort on the island of Thanburudhoo, currently being used by the military for training and recreational purposes.

Speaking to Minivan News following the decision, Lieutenant Abdullah Ali explained that the MNDF is not going to play any direct role in the development of the resort, and that the island would be leased to a third party.

He claimed that the concept of developing the training island as a tourist resort was approved by the former government in 2010, but that work had stalled “for various reasons”.

Local surfers raised concerns over the decision on social networks, claiming that the Thamburudhoo project involved dredging and reclaiming the surrounding area of the island reef, which would destroy the popular surfing spot.

Banzai Bongo, a well-known local surfer, wrote on Face book: “This is going to affect the natural current flow of the surrounding waves such as Jailbreaks, Honkies, Sultans and Pasta. Moreover, it will destroy dive spots around this area. So the government’s best interest is to annihilate our natural resources which include world class surf sites and dive sites.”

Bongo called for surfers to “save these waves like we all stood against the state and saved the Trestles. Save it for or children, save it for the future.”


Civil Court orders the immediate release of Supreme Court’s key

The Civil Court of the Maldives has today ordered Ministry of Defense and National Security to release the Supreme Court’s key immediately, and allow the reinstatement of the interim Supreme Court.

The case was presented by the Prosecutor General to the Civil Court this morning. The first hearing was conducted almost immediately and the verdict was delivered this afternoon.

‘’We declare in the absence of state Attorney General’s office, to the Ministry of Defense and National Security and to all concerned authorities of the state, the key of Supreme Court should be issued to the Supreme Court at any time Supreme Court wishes immediately,’’ said Chief Judge Ali Sameer, delivering the verdict.

Citing articles 284 and 141 of the constitution, Judge Sameer declared “that no person shall hold the key of the Supreme Court without the consent of the court.’’

Judge Sameer said the PG’s office had the authority to present the case when the work of the Supreme Court was obstructed, or if the Supreme Court came to a halt by any cause, because it potentially obstructed the PG from fulfilling his responsibilities.

The judge also noted that the court order to summon the Attorney General was delivered and that the AG office failed to send representation to the court, and did not inform why.

State Defense Minister Muiz Adnan said he had not seen the verdict and would not comment until  he had read it.

When questioned according to the last declaration how long the key will be held by the military, he said  he had no information regarding the issue.

Major Abdul Raheem, also a spokesperson of Maldives National Defense Force, said the keys of all the state institutions were kept with the MNDF and issued according to a procedure established by the defence ministry.