Jumhooree Party accepts president’s invitation for talks

The opposition Jumhooree Party (JP) has officially accepted the president’s invitation for dialogue without conditions and assigned a four-member team to represent the party.

The JP said in a statement today that it hopes “political, social, and economic problems facing the Maldives” can be resolved through discussions.

President Abdulla Yameen had sent official invitation letters to the three allied parties today and appointed two ministerial teams to represent the government.

The JP promptly informed the president’s office that its representatives are deputy leader Ameen Ibrahim, MPs Ilham Ahmed, Abdulla Riyaz, and Hussain Mohamed.

However, at a press conference of the opposition ‘Maldivians against tyranny’ alliance this afternoon, Ameen questioned the sincerity of the president’s offer and called on the government to release detained opposition leaders and supporters.

Ameen said the continuing detention of main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) chairperson Ali Waheed, Adhaalath Party president Sheikh Imran Abdulla and JP senior member Sobah Rasheed is “unjust”.

“If the calls for dialogue is sincere, the government’s unjust brutality should stop. Unless it is stopped, what is there to talk about?” he said.

The opposition parties on Thursday had welcomed President Yameen’s call for talks, but had demanded the release of leaders arrested from the May Day anti-government demonstration.

Adhaalath Party spokesperson Ali Zahir told Minivan News today that the party will make a decision after internal discussions.

Ameen meanwhile noted that the opposition has repeatedly urged the government to hold talks to resolve the political crisis triggered by the arrest and imprisonment of former President Mohamed Nasheed and former defence minister Mohamed Nazim.

While the government insists that the demands to release Nasheed and Nazim are unlawful and beyond the president’s constitutional powers, Ameen said calls for releasing detainees within legal bounds were not unconstitutional.

Asked if the alliance expected a positive outcome from the talks, Ameen said the opposition has not lost hope, but would learn whether the government is sincere when the talks commence.

Meanwhile, the criminal court yesterday extended the remand detention of Imran and Ali Waheed by 10 days and seven days, respectively. The pair were arrested with court warrants in the wake of the May Day protest and accused of inciting violence.

Ameen was also arrested along with Imran and Ali Waheed, but the High Court last week overturned the criminal court’s order to hold him in remand detention for 15 days. All three were members of the alliance’s steering committee and had been on the front line of the May Day protest march.

Ameen said the prolonged detention of the opposition leaders and protesters arrested from the demonstration is “unacceptable” as police have interrogated the detainees and concluded investigations.

Imran, Waheed, and Sobah are kept in small cells apart from the rest of the prison population on Dhoonidhoo, Ameen said, adding that their punishment was similar to criminals serving 25-year jail sentences.

The opposition leaders have met the police upon request, shared information, and do not have criminal records, he added, questioning how they were found to pose a danger to society.

Malé mayor Mohamed Shihab said the MDP believes the detained leaders are “political prisoners”.


MCC opens a new parking lot in Majeedhee Magu

Malé City Council (MCC) has opened a new parking lot on a vacant plot of land at H.Heenaamaage in Majeedhee Magu – the capital’s main road.

While speaking at the opening ceremony of the facility – believed to accommodate up to 300 motorbikes – MCC Mayor Mohamed Shihab said that since Majeedhee Magu is the busiest street in Malé, specialized parking spots would reduce traffic.

“As of now, parking in the lot is free. However, we may take a small fee after discussing it with the people living nearby and shop owners in the area,” said Shihab.

Also speaking at the ceremony, MCC member Shamau Shareef said that the plot has been contracted to an Indian firm which wsa to develop a multi-story facility two years ago, but the work had not begun as the company was not able to register in the Maldives.

“The contract is still valid and if the government allows the company to register in the Maldives, We would be able to build the three story parking lot here,” explained Shamau.


Are efforts to keep Malé City clean going to waste?

“As we increase our efforts to clean Malé, the amount of garbage dumped on to the street is also increasing,” said Mayor Mohamed Shihab.

The purpose of cleaning Malé’s streets and providing public dustbins – for which 260 people are now employed – is not to collect household waste, but to clean up litter, the Mayor tells Minivan News.

It is important to cultivate a habit of keeping the streets clean and using trash bins in the community, he said, suggesting that the implementation of laws was also required to address the issue.

However, keeping the streets free from litter is just the tip of the rubbish pile explains Shihab, revealing the difficulties the council continues to face in finding a sustainable way to manage the capital’s waste.


The waste management regulation which came into partial force on February 5 imposes an MVR100 (US$6.5) fine for littering and a fine between MVR10,000 (US$ 648.5) and MVR100,000 (US$6,485) if any authority in charge of public spaces fails to provide dustbins.

The regulations also require boat owners to place dustbins on sea vessels, imposing a maximum fine of MVR100 million (US$6.5 million) on boats that dump waste into the ocean.

Speaking to Minivan News today, Ahmed Murthaza – assistant director at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – said that no one had yet been fined under the regulation.

The main focus of the EPA up to now has been to create awareness and to advise offenders to correct their actions, although he warned that the agency would start imposing the fines beginning on World Environment Day (5 June 2014).

The EPA will be working with councils and the Environmental Police Unit in implementing the regulation – all of whom are authorised to issues fines.

Waste management

Mayor Shihab has suggested a long term solution for the issue would be the door to door collection of household waste.

“This is is how it is done everywhere around the world. And in all countries, they charge a fee for the service.”

“So in the future the council will be collecting and disposing the garbage. This will be discussed. Even now each house is spending money, 100 or 200 rufiyaa, monthly for this purpose.”

Most households in Malé currently employ garbage collectors – usually migrant workers – who carry the garbage on their bicycles or private pick-up trucks. This garbage is then carried dumped on a barge in the island’s south-west harbor, which then transports it to the landfill ‘garbage island’ of Thilafushi.

This arrangement, however, was intended to be a temporary one initiated in 2013 after garbage piled up in Malé’s two primary waste yards following damage to the collection vehicles.

While the industrial junk yard is once again in use today, the household waste yard remains abandoned as its foundation structure is damaged to a point that it would be harmful for the environment to utilise the place without funding from a reluctant Finance Ministry, explained Shihab

According to the council, the current arrangement will remain in place during the Islamic month of Ramadan – beginning on June 30 – when the household waste produced can be expected to double.

According to shipping industry sources, an estimated 15- 20 percent increase in imported goods is expected during Ramadan.

Environment Ministry data from 2007 put daily food waste produced in Malé at approximately 25 tonnes, while 2012 statistics indicated that 89,797 tonnes of domestic waste was dumped on Thilafushi annually.

“Dumping waste on to the barge was a temporary measure, but this operation will continue in Ramadan with more barges. Instead of keeping a huge pile of waste in Malé, we will work to transport it as soon as possible,”  explained councillor Shamau Shareef.

Tatva solution

For the council, the immediate hope for a solution to Malé waste management is in India-based Tatva Global Renewable Energy.

The Tatva agreement has faced delays after the government of President Dr Mohamed Waheed renegotiated the agreement signed by his predecessor Mohamed Nasheed in 2011.

The new agreement, which will not include collection of garbage from household in its first phase, now requires the final approval of the Finance Ministry to begin operations.

Under the Tatva agreement, the council’s equipment – including trucks and excavators – has to be to handed over to Tatva in working condition. However, as the council’s equipment has been damaged for over a year, funds are needed for repairs before the handover.

“Our concern is that the government is spending MVR7 million [monthly] to rent this equipment, such as excavators, landing craft, and the barge. This money belongs to the people,” said Shihab.

Suggesting that the council could get the same results for just MVR2-3million, he said that the ministry had repeatedly ignored requests for repair funds.

The existing arrangement must be replaced with permanent and sustainable solution, said the mayor, noting that the smell alone from the garbage barge was becoming unpleasant for people living in the vicinity.

Minivan News was unable to obtain a comment from Ministry of Finance at the time of press.


Parents tell national inquiry of lack of access to education for children with disabilities

“For normal children, the government provides free books and free education – doesn’t a child with a disability have the same right?” asks a tearful Aishath Hussein.

One of hundreds of people giving testimony to the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives’ (HRCM) “National Inquiry on Access to Education for Children with Disabilities” – Aishath is the primary caregiver for her eight-year-old autistic nephew.

She told the panel how she had to put her life on hold as she struggled to find a proper treatment and education for the him in the capital.

Fathmath Hussein, a mother to two autistic children aged thirteen and three-years-old, narrated the struggle she has gone through – describing under-resourced facilities and bureaucratic finger-pointing as her children struggle to claim their right to an education.

With state failure to provide necessary services, NGOs and private practices have taken up the responsibility, she told the inquiry – scheduled to finish today.

Private services are costly, however, with a single diagnostic assessment costing MVR5000 and an hour of therapy costing MVR500 – none of these services are covered by the ‘Aasandha’ universal health insurance program.

Fathimath explained how her elder son – who attended a standard international school abroad from grades 1- 3, studying thirteen subject and passing every single one of them with good grades – became isolated once the family returned to the Maldives.

The preschool currently attended by her younger son was said to have not only failed to provide him with any special attention, but according to Fathimath had not even provided basic services.

“I have seen other students pushing him around, poking him with pencils. But when I complain they say there are no trained teachers to take care of such children. He is very hyperactive,” she said, noting that at times teachers have made hurtful comments to him.

Shortly after Fathimath’s testimony, the parents of Yusuf – a child with partial hearing – explained how their hopes for his development were crushed by the unavailability of services.

“They cannot do a simple ABR test [Auditory Brainstem Response Test] here [in Maldives]. There is no speech therapy either,”  she was told by authorities.

Another parent was concerned about the absence of any official policy, procedure, or guideline on access to special education at schools which claim they do not have enough space.

The National Inquiry

The HRCM inquiry is an open investigation to identify systemic issues in access to education for children with disabilities which hopes to find solutions through the engagement of state, public, civil society and experts.

Through it the commission will review existing practices, policies, laws and identify difficulties faced by parents and ways in which the rights of such children are being violated.

According to the HRCM, statistic from 2009 indicate that, out of 2250 children with disabilities, only 230 were attending schools at the time.

Inquiry teams led by the commission have travelled to 22 islands across 12 atolls in recent months, collecting nearly five hundred statements from parents, teachers, council members, and other stakeholders.

“It is an opportunity for the government, other state institutions and the public public to learn about their hardships. It is about listening and accepting without judgment,” said Mohamed Shihab, who was on the inquiry panel as an expert from the education field.

These are not just official statements and information, said Shihab, these are first hand accounts of their lives and personal experiences – their stories and their struggles.

Who is listening?

As the public hearings continue in Malé, frustrated and aggrieved parents, one after another, continued to pour out their concerns before the inquiry panel.

Aishath Hussein explained how she had to put her life on hold as she was still struggling to find a proper treatment and education for her nephew, Saif, in the capital.

Saif was recently brought to Malé by his father’s family after he went through traumatic experiences with his mother’s family, often being tied and locked up as family struggled to deal with his hyperactivity.

They brought him to Malé with hopes of providing better care. As Saif’s primary caregiver Aishath has tried to enrol him in a special educational needs class, to get treatments provided by NGOs and private practices, and to obtain the speech therapy recommended by doctors.

All her efforts have so far been in vain, however, with all the services unavailable or full. Even a doctors appointment at IGMH would have to wait another two months said Aishath.

“None of this is easy. I am not asking the government to send a doctor to our home. But at least when we go there provide us with some service,” she told the panel before breaking into tears.

If education is a universal right, why cant children like his brother get an education, she asked the panel.

“If you conduct programs like this, it should be accompanied by action. What we want is action, we want the same opportunities as other children. We don’t want them to be set aside just because they are children with disabilities,” she said.

Acknowledging Aishath’s statement, panelist Shihab expressed regret that state institutions and other invitees were “too busy” to be present and listen to her grievances.

The commission invited, among others, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health and Gender, the City Council, MPs, MP-elects, the Maldives Police Service, the police commissioner, and senior members of these institutions.

None of these people or institutions have been represented at the hearings so far.

The public and media response to these open hearings was also weak, with HRCM Vice President Ahmed Tholal – an inquiry panelist – noting that people giving statements were discouraged by the absence of state institutions.

“The most important thing about this inquiry is sharing the voice of citizens directly with government and relevant authorities. They should at least listen. But now their concerns will be raised to the state through us,” he said.

In addition to other panelists, Tholal remarked that during their trips to atolls, council members, school management, the police, and other institutions were often present at the hearings – resulting in immediate action on some issues and discussion on others.

Systemic Issues

Concerns raised by hundreds of parents across the country were similar in many way, though – as with several other issues – things were worse for those living outside the capital and the other main islands.

At the Gaafaru public hearing a woman told the HRCM panel that her 12-year-old daughter, who has difficulties with hearing and speech, has been repeating classes as the school did not employ teaching methods appropriate for her.

Mariyam Liusha, a partially sighted nine-year-old from Kaashidhoo, is facing similar difficulties as her school has failed to provide her with larger prints of notes and exams, causing her to lose all interest in attending school.

As the Education Ministry policies do not allow special exams,  children with disabilities are made to the same exams as others, explained Easa Rasheed, a leading teacher at Kaashidhoo School.

“We don’t have the budget or trained personnel. Bringing someone [trained] from Malé would cost at the least travel expenses, which could go up to MVR15000. Our budget allocations are very specific, and it does not include such expenses,” he said.

To provide an example of difficulties faced by schools, Easa explained the case of a student with a walking disability who the school is finding “difficult to accommodate”.

Easa said that failing to include these pupils in the school system resulted in many children with mental disorders ending up in the Home for People with Special Needs in Guraidhoo or in the Education and Training Center for Children in Maafushi.

“And those who grow up in the community become victims of harassment and bullying,” continued Easa, contending such attitudes have become part of the local culture.

In addition to public attitude towards children with disabilities, a lot of systemic issues were noticed during the inquiry.

“Children face incidents which would discourage them from attending schools and parents have to deal with extremely difficult procedures to get them into special education classes. Many parents are unaware of procedures to acquire the disability allowance. Children with mental disorders get labelled and are punished, making their conditions worse,” explained the HRCM’s Tholal.

HRCM Secretary General Shamun Hameed – also an inquiry panelist – said the biggest concern for him is the lack of a consolidated plan across the system.

“For instance, the Education Ministry has created SEN classes in some schools, but then doesn’t develop any further – and usually it is just a normal classroom. Lack of a [consolidated] plan makes all such efforts wasteful. Isolated action will be unsustainable,” Shamun said.


Shamun assured that formulation of such a long-term master plan would be included in the inquiry’s final report. This, the end product of the inquiry, will highlight existing issues and propose recommendations for the state and other stakeholders.

A dedicated mechanism networked with civil society organisations – who also contributed to the inquiry- will then be established within the commission to monitor implementation of these recommendations.

According to Tholal, the HRCM will demand these be implemented through a publicised time-line with focused targets although some of the parents and observers at the hearings were skeptical of future action.

The commission on several occasions has accused the state of ignoring their recommendations, with panelists and concerned parents observing that state institutions are very defensive when approached concerning their failures, often choosing to play a “blame game” instead of taking responsibility.

One of the parents who spoke at the Malé public hearing said she did not have any faith in any state institution and did not expect them to take action.

“We as parents have proposed recommendations to state institutions so many times, but they never respond,” she said.

*Names have been changed to protect identities.


Shihab elected mayor, Shifa deputy mayor

Former Home Minister Mohamed Shihab has been elected mayor of the capital by fellow councillors on the newly-elected Malé City Council.

Former Education Minister Shifa Mohamed was elected deputy mayor. Both were elected with unanimous consent of the 11-member council following its swearing-in ceremony last night.

In the January 18 local council elections, eight candidates from the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and three candidates from the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives were elected to the council.

Abdulla Sodig was meanwhile elected mayor by the six-member Addu City Council while Abdulla Thoyyib was elected deputy mayor. All six councillors were elected on opposition MDP tickets.


Mohamed Shihab appointed Minister of Finance and Treasury

Mohamed Shihab, a member of ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), has been appointed as Minister of Finance and Treasury by President Mohamed Nasheed.

Shihab previously held the post of Political Advisor at the President’s Office. He has also served as Minister of Home Affairs under the current administration.

Presenting Shihab with his ‘Letter of Appointment’, President Nasheed emphasised his confidence in Shihab’s capability in executing the financial and economic reform policies of the country.

Mohamed Shihab assured the President that he would put forth his utmost effort as Finance Minister.

Parliament is expected to vote on the appointment when it returns from recess in March.

Previously a member of the MDP’s former coalition partner Jumhoree party, Shihab replaced Jumhoree Party Leader Gasim Ibrahim as Home Minister 21 days into the Nasheed administration.

In late 2010 the cabinet resigned en masse to protest the “scorched earth politics” of the opposition-majority parliament, which it accused of obstruction and attempting to wrest executive control.

Shihab was among seven ministers whose reappointment was rejected by parliament in November 2010. He has since been serving as Political Advisor to Nasheed.

Opposition Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) spokesperson Ahmed Mahlouf told Minivan News today the party would discuss the nomination in its parliamentary group before signalling its position.

“It is important to fill the post,” Mahlouf said, adding that “we don’t expect to have any difficulty discussing Shihab’s nomination.”

“I don’t think Shihab is coming from a background in finance, he has instead been Home Minister and an advisor,” Mahlouf explained. “But he is experienced in politics, he served in Parliament for 17 years, and he has been a speaker. I think we see him as someone we can communicate with easily.”

Mahlouf said Shihab’s communication skills were superior to those of former Finance Minister Ahmed Inaz, who he claimed did not have a good relationship with Parliament.

Calls to opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) were not answered at time of press.

Picture from Manadhoolive.com.mv

Shihab’s appointment as Finance Minister follows the resignation of Ahmed Inaz, whose credibility was compromised when MDP activists found him in covert conference with Mulaku MP Abdulla Yameen of opposition Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) in a non-residential poorly-lit area of Male’ at 12am.

Inaz was subsequently taken to MDP headquarters, where activists demanded his resignation. He resigned two days later along with the State Minister of Finance Ahmed Naseer.

Directly following the encounter MDP activists suggested that Yameen was attempting to bribe Inaz, while others believed it was a set-up.

In June 2010, Yameen was arrested on charges of bribery and attempting to topple the government. The Supreme Court however ordered his release.

Prior to the presentation of the Letter of Appointment, Mohamed Shihab took the oath of office of the members of the Cabinet before the Supreme Court Judge Abdulla Areef.


MCSA calls on the resignation of Home Minister

The Maldives Civil Servants Association (MCSA) has called on the Home Minister Mohamed Shihab to resign from his post after the Home ministry declared that island councilors will be head of the island offices during the Local Council Elections.

Spokesperson of the MCSA Abdulla Mohamed said that the decision of the home ministry was “against the advice of President Mohamed Nasheed” and “also unconstitutional.”

“It shows the irresponsibility of the minister,’’ said Abdulla. “It will influence the outcome of the Local Council Elections and will obstruct them from being conducted freely.”

Abdulla said that he was not saying all the councilors act against the interests of democracy.

“But it is the nature of humans – they are political appointees appointed by politicians and their duty will be to uphold the policy of their head,’’ Abdulla claimed. “When they take over the island office, they will become a ‘shadow’ on a free democratic election.’’

He said the decision also showed that the home minister wanted to influence on the Local Council Elections and suggested Shihab resign “if he is unwilling to follow the constitution.”

State Home Minister Ahmed Adil said he could not comment on the issue, while Home Minister Mohamed Shiahab was unavailable at time of press.


New Auditor General to be appointed next week, government hopes

The government hopes appoint a new Auditor General by next week, after outgoing AG Ibrahim Naeem was dismissed from his post by parliament earlier this week.

Assistant executive director and interim head of the Auditor General’s office, Mohamed Hussein, said according to the law Ibrahim Naeem was no longer the Auditor General and was not attending the office.

Hussein said he did want to reveal whether staff at the audit office were disheartened by parliament’s decision.

”We always work according to the policy of Auditor General at the time,” Hussein said.

The President’s Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair said the government was “seeking a capable and educated man for the position,” and hoped to fill the position next week.

“President Mohamed Nasheed has promised to appoint someone as capable and as educated as the former Auditor General,” Zuhair said.

Naeem was formally dismissed by parliament in a DRP-PA coalition-led no-confidence motion on Sunday, after corruption allegations were sent by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in a letter to a parliamentary sub-committee chaired by Deputy Speaker Ahmed Nazim.

The ACC also sent the case to the Prosecutor General’s office, seeking to initiate court proceedings.

Deputy Prosecutor General Hussain Shameem confirmed the office had received “a huge file of documents.”

“I don’t think [the case will be influenced by Parliament’s decision] as we look it from at a completely different angle,” Shameem said.

“It’s a different process to Parliament. We have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt whether or not he is guilty. Parliament decides on the basis of whether or not he was doing his job.”

Shameem said it would take “weeks” to decide whether the case would be forwarded to the court.

Meanwhile DRP Vice President and MP Ali Waheed said he wished Naeem “a bright future.”

Waheed said the 43-28 vote in favour of dismissal was successful due to votes from the Qaumee Party, Peoples Alliance and many independent MPs.

”This shows that even if a dictator tries to go against the law, the politicians of the country will not allow him do it,” Waheed said.

DRP held a ceremony at the DRP office following to the vote, to celebrate its victory in the no-confidence motion.

”We celebrated the victory as we had tried very hard for this,” Waheed said. ”We were arrested and police took us to Dhoonidhu and people tried for this so much.”

He said all the demonstrations over the weekend were because the MDP MPs “tried to deadlock the parliament.”

”We do not want parliament to be cancelled for even one day,” Waheed said.

He called on people to show the same effort when the parliament begins debate over the controversial decentralisation bill.

He said he do not want to say anything about accusations the Auditor General made against senior DRP officials in his audit reports.

”That will be decided by the court, whether they are true or not,” he said.

Zuhair claimed that the vote against the Auditor General proved the DRP had “the best interest of their political party in mind and not the best interest of the country.”

He said Naeem’s reports contained accusations against former government ministersare now independent MPs.

”That’s why they voted the way they did in the no-confidence motion,” Zuhair said.

He added that the audit report was not only the work of the Auditor General, “but a big team in the Audit Office.”

Minister for Home affairs Mohamed Shihab is another government official facing a potential no-confidence motion from the DRP, in response to a police decision to detain Waheed and several other senior DRP leaders.

Shihab said he would not comment on prospect of a no-confidence motion against him “until I receive notice of it from parliament.”

Spokesperson for Maldivian Democratic Party Ahmed Haleem did not respond to Minivan News at time of press.


DRP to take no-confidence motion on Home Minister

Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Ali Waheed has said the party will put forward a no-confidence motion against Home Minister Mohamed Shihab, after police detained Waheed and several other senior party figures in an effort to defuse violent clashes between the supporters of both parties on Thursday night.

”We decided to take the no-confidence motion against Shihab because he used his powers and influence against the law,” Waheed said, adding that details would be provided tomorrow.

Waheed alleged that when the situation in Male’ broke the peace of the country on Thursday night, “Shihab was relaxing in a nearby resort.”

He said the party had received information “from a trusted source” that President Mohamed Nasheed gave the order to police that night to arrest the senior party leaders.

”The police have no powers, they only have to take orders from their leader,” he said.

However the President’s Office said yesterday that the government had full confidence in police and “absolutely no involvement” in the decision to remove the DRP leaders from the protest.

But Waheed claimed that the police “cannot arrest MPs while a no-confidence motion is ongoing inside parliament.”

”The police lied to us, saying that they were taking us to police head quarters to calm down the situation,” he said. ”Instead they took us to Dhoonidhu and took our mobile phones, and treated us just like the other criminals there.”

Vice president of DRP Umar Naseer said that there were “many things” the Home Minister had done, including “attacking peaceful protesters with tear gas.”

”He arrested MPs while there was a ongoing no-confidence motion in the parliament which is against the law, did not stopped MDP thugs attacking us, and did not enforce the law,” Naseer said.

He also claimed that President Mohamed Nasheed was “giving the orders to police that night”, claiming the party had obtained the information “because 90 per cent of the police and Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) support the DRP.”

Press Secretary for the President Mohamed Zuhair confirmed that President Mohamed Nasheed went  to the police headquarters on Thursday night, “but not to give orders.”

”He went there because he is the owner of all the powers – police and MNDF,” Zuhair said, ”but the Commissioner of Police was the one giving the orders.”

Zuhair claimed that the opposition was trying to take no-confidence motion against ministers “one by one” to delay more productive bills sent to the parliament by the government.

”Countries with civil wars pass more bills in parliament than the Maldives does,” Zuhair said.

He said the opposition “is  jealous and cannot accept their failure.”

”They are trying to show the people that they still have powers,” he suggested.

MDP’s parliamentary group spokesperson Mohamed Shifaz said the party would stand against the no-confidence motion on the home minister as ”we have not noticed home minister doing anything against the law.”

He said the party’s parliamentary group would continue to discuss the issue.

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) released a statement appealing to the police to respect laws and to treat everyone equally when they work to disperse crowds.

HRCM said that ”political parties meetings are interrupted due to differences among people on political issues.”

The commission said it had noticed that regulations governing the  dispersal of protests “are not being applied equally among everyone”, and that Article 32 of the Constitution guaranteed ”freedom to gather peacefully without prior permission  from the government.”

Home Minister Mohamed Shihab and State Minister for Home Affairs Ahmed Adil did not respond to Minivan News at time of press.