JP MP Jabir to file complaint against MP Muthalib over allegations of alcohol use

Jumhoree Party (JP) MP Abdulla Jabir has said he intends to file a complaint against MP Ibrahim Muthalib at parliament’s Privileges Committee for accusing him of carrying a bottle of alcohol.

During yesterday’s sitting of parliament, MP Muthalib, who joined the religious conservative Adhaalath Party last year, alleged that he had seen MP Jabir walking out of the Hilton Hotel “with a bottle of alcohol in one hand and his wife in the other.”

MP Jabir’s wife is Minister of Gender, Family and Human Rights, Dhiyana Saeed.

The Fares-Maathoda MP made the allegation during a debate on problems facing the fisheries industry.

MPs have immunity from prosecution or defamation suits for remarks made during parliamentary debates.

Muthalib accused Jabir, chairman of resort company Yacht Tours, of using his time during parliamentary debates to “mock” the Islamic Ministry, the Adhaalath Party, and Islam.

In response, MP Jabir raised a point of order and said he regretted that “the Fares-Maathoda MP, who will see his own face and shape when he stands in front of a mirror and know he looks like someone who has committed theft after being elected as an MP [and] just told a blatant lie about us.”

The MP for Kaafu Kaashidhoo also remarked that MP Muthalib lacked “any education for someone who pretends to be a religious scholar.”

Jabir alleged that MP Muthalib was once banished for forging a signature, calling him a “big thief”.

Muthalib has meanwhile denied the allegations in local media today. Both the JP and Adhaalath are part of the current ruling coalition led by President Dr Mohamed Waheed.

In the 2008 presidential election, Adhaalath Party backed JP presidential candidate and business magnate Gasim Ibrahim and formed a coalition with the Republican party.


Jumhoory Party MP Muthalib resigns from party

MP Ibrahim Muthalib has resigned from the opposition-aligned Jumhoory Party (JP) led by MP ‘Burma’ Gasim Ibrahim claiming that his dreams of making JP the country’s third most active party had been “shattered due to lack of cooperation.”

“Nine months ago I joined the Jumhoory Party with the hope of making it the third most active party in the Maldives, because I felt that the Maldives was in need of a third party,’’ MP Muthalib today told Minivan News. “Currently only the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and the opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) are really heard, and no one says a word against them.’’

He said he was not originally invited to join the JP by Gasim, but joined the party on his own wish.

‘’I have worked nine months to accomplish this but it does not seem to be happening, so I thought it would be best to resign,’’ he said. ‘’The decisions we make are not implemented in the party and the JP really needs more time to stand on its own feet and walk.’’

Muthalib said he had not yet decided to join any other party for the moment.

‘’I resigned because I did not want to remain depressed with these thoughts. For now I just want to relax and remain independent for the time being,’’ he said, adding that he still believed that the Maldives was in need of an active third party other than the DRP or MDP.

Muthalib was elected to the parliament as an independent MP.

”I have officially informed the Elections Commission (EC) and the Speaker of the parliament about my resignation,” he said.

However, newspaper Haveeru quoted Muthalib as saying that his resignation came following Gasim’s vote in favor of the appointment of Dr Ibrahim Didi for Fisheries Minister and and Thalhath Ibrahim for Defense Minister.

Following Muthalib’s resignation, only two MPs of the Jumhoory Party will be left in parliament, Gasim and MP Ahmed Moosa.


“MDP offered me millions of rufiya to join”: MP Mahlouf

Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Ahmed Mahlouf has claimed that the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has offered him “millions of rufiya” to join the party.

”I swear by God that MDP once offered me seven million rufiya and later nine million rufiya if I joined them,” said Mahlouf. ”Still, out of the respect I have for certain MDP members I will not reveal their names.”

However Mahlouf said he had sought to file a case with police concerning charges of bribery against MDP MP and Parliamentary Group leader Moosa ‘Reeko’ Manik.

”I am not sure the case will be investigated,” said Mahloof, ”because police will not investigate charges against MDP members.”

He accused President Mohamed Nasheed of “threatening MPs to vote on the government’s side.”

Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam confirmed that Mahlouf sent a letter to police requesting they investigate a case.

”We cannot give further information as the investigation is ongoing,” said Shiyam. ”We will go through the letter and take the necessary measures.”

Moosa meanwhile claimed said that ever since MDP had come into administration, the opposition “has tried to defame me in many ways.”

”They loaded bottles of alcohol into my car while I was abroad, and for seven nights and seven days it was on the media,” alleged Moosa. ”Once they even told a radio station that I was an [illegitimate] child.”

Moosa said he had “patiently” been ignoring the claims.

”But I won’t be silent anymore – this time I will file a [counter-claim] for defamation,” he said.


MP Muthalib forwards no-confidence motion against education minister

Independent MP Ibrahim Muthalib has forwarded a no-confidence motion against Education Minister Dr Musthafa Luthfy to parliament.

MP Muthalib presented a petition to forward the motion against Education minister, which was signed by five independent MPs, three Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MPs and two People’s Alliance (PA) MPs.

On May 19, MP Muthalib announced he would file a no-confidence motion against Education Minister Dr Musthafa Luthfy over the ministry steering committee’s recommendation to make Islam and Dhivehi optional subjects for grades 11 and 12.

A crowd of people who did not claim to be representing any political party or NGO conducted a series of protests over the decision outside Education Minister Luthfy’s house.

Luthfy told Minivan News that he had not officially received the news yet.

”I also heard that a such motion was presented to parliament, but the parliament has not affirmed it,” said Luthfy.

”I heard that there were three issues highlighted in the petition, ” he explained.

”The first issue they claimed was that Kulliathul Dhuraasathul Islaamiyya school was dissolved, which is literally not true,” Luthfy said. ”The school was not dissolved, rather we planned to place it under the Maldives College of Higher Education when it becomes a university.”

Luthfy said the second issue was a claim that it was his fault that Arabiyya School’s walls fell down.

”The third point was because the Education Ministry has decided to make Dhivehi and Islam optional at A-Level,” he said, ”but this was just a suggestion made by the ministry’s steering committee.”

Muthalib recently said that if the education system implemented the steering committee’s recommendation, students would be moved away from religion and their mother tongue.

”I cannot support such a curriculum that discourages the use of our own culture and language,” he said.

The government meanwhile launched a spirited defense of the Education Minister.

“This is a part of DRP’s plan to pick off ministers one-by-one,” he said. “First they plan to try and bring down the education minister, and if that succeeds they will then go after other ministers. This no-confidence motion is a shallow attempt to destabilise the government and the country,” said the President’s Press Secretary, Mohamed Zuhair.

“The DRP is claiming the government is trying to ‘undermine Islam,’ because an Education Ministry has floated the idea of making the study of Dhivehi and Islam, along with all other subjects, optional for school grades 11 and 12,” he said.

“DRP, led by its dubiously elected leader Thasmeen Ali, has demonstrated time and again that they will do and say anything to try and damage the government”, Zuhair said.

“There are some good, intelligent and responsible people in the DRP. Sadly, under the current leadership, these people have been marginalized and the hot heads have taken over the party.

“The DRP have no policies; they have no vision; they have no substance. It seems their sole guiding principle is to oppose anything and everything that the government is trying to achieve.”

He further accused the concerned parliamentarians “of using Islam as a political tool.”

”I think despite being an Independent MP Muthalib acts in the parliament with the spirit of an opposition MP,” he added.


MP pushes no-confidence motion against Education Minister

MP for Fares-Maathodaa Ibrahim Muttalib has announced that he will file a no-confidence motion against Education Minister Dr Musthafa Luthfy over the ministry’s steering committee’s recommendation to make Islam and Dhivehi optional subjects for grades 11 and 12.

Appearing on Television Maldives’ ‘Q&A with Miqdad’ programme last night, the independent MP argued that the decision would undermine respect for religion and language among youth.

Muttalib claimed that Luthfy told him that students of Arabbiya School, which was shut down after a wall collapsed, would be transferred to other schools.

“We now believe that national education matters will not go well because of the attitude and thinking of the Education Ministry, especially Mustafa Luthfy,” he said. “So [Luthfy] should either make amends or resign.”

Muttalib, former treasurer of the religious conservative Adhaalath party, said he had drafted the motion and hoped to secure 10 signatures from MPs needed to submit a motion of no-confidence.

The decision

“Now the education minister is saying it was not his decision to change the two subjects to optional,” Muthalib said today. ”I want the minister to tell us whose idea was it then.”

Muthalib claimed that Luthfy told him last week that there was “no way” the decision could be reversed.

”If the education system implements a curriculum like this, students would be moved away from religion and mother tongue,” he said. ”I would not support such a curriculum that discourages the use of our own culture and language.”

While he could not predict how MPs would vote on the motion, Muttalib said “there are many MPs who respect religion.”


Education Ministry team
Education Ministry team

Luthfy told Minivan News today that while he had watched the TVM programme, he did not think Muttalib “was serious.”

He added that he did not want to comment on the no-confidence motion.

“It’s not true that I said in a meeting last week that there was no way the decision could be changed,” he said.”It’s not my decision. It’s only a suggestion by the ministry’s steering committee.”

Luthfy has stressed that the decision of making Dhivehi and Islam subjects elective has not been finalised.

A Curriculum Team at the Education Development Centre is currently at work on revising the national curriculum for the first time since 1984.

“Political coffin”

The Adhaalath party yesterday condemned the Education Ministry’s decision, characterising it as Luthfy putting “the final nails in his political coffin.

An angry crowd protested outside the minister’s house on Tuesday night following the Adhaalath press release.

Sheikh Hussein Rasheed Ahmed, president of Adhaalath party, said today that did not wish to comment on the no-confidence motion.

”It is not our concern,” he said. “Our problem is that Education Minister is misbehaving.”

The State Minister for Home Affairs said the party had discussed the issue with Luthfy on several occasions.

“This is a national issue.” he said. “He cannot solve a national issue on his own. He has to discuss with the cabinet, parliamentarians and senior government officials.”

Senior officials at the Education Ministry has stressed that the steering committee’s recommendation would only be implemented following cabinet deliberations.

Main parties

Opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Abdulla Mausoom told Minivan News today that it was imperative that Maldivians “try to save their identity.”

“The school curriculum should also be designed in a way that would help save the country’s identity, which is religion and language,” Mausoom said. ”Dhivehi and Islam are both very important subjects.”

He added that the state had a responsibility to preserve and protect national identity and culture.

“The main reason why I do not like this government is that they never prefer to discuss any issue -and even if they did [want to] they rarely they do it- but they never would accept the recommendations and suggestions,” he said.

The MP for Kelaa said that the DRP parliamentary group will discuss the issue and decide its stance.

Meanwhile, ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Alhan Fahmy said the time had not yet come to take up the issue at parliament.

”It would be a very big issue if they were removing the two subjects from the school curriculum,” Alhan said. “But if it is optional that means any student who wishes to study it can study it. Students have the opportunity. I don’t see what all the fuss is about.”

Alhan said the issue was being blown out of proportion to serve political purposes, adding that the MDP parliamentary group had not officially discussed the matter yet.

Statistics of the Education Ministry show that of the 7,137 students who sat for the GCE O’Level examinations last year, only 32 per cent passed in five subjects, while 2,284 students qualified for higher secondary education.


MPs vote against referring to Supreme Court on provinces issue

Yesterday MPs rejected the resolution presented by the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) to refer to the Supreme Court on the controversial provinces issue.

35 MPs voted for the resolution while 38 MPs voted against the resolution.

Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party Vice President and MP Ali Waheed said that he doubted the accuracy of the resolution, claiming that it was presented “to mislead the people.”

”MP Ahmed Sameer (who presented the resolution) has told so many lies standing near the podium,” Waheed said. ”Maybe he wanted to make a record for the first ever issue taken to the Supreme Court.”

The provinces section was removed from the decentralisation bill on the vote of the DRP, Dhivehi Qaumy Party (DQP), Peoples Alliance (PA), Jumhoory Party and several Independent MPs.

”I never knew that people voted to divide the country into seven provinces,” he said.

Waheed said even if the issue was taken to the Supreme Court, they were also unable to divide the country.

”It can only be done by the vote of 77 MPs,” he said.

Independent MP Ibrahim Muthalib said he was concerned that if the issue was taken to the Supreme Court, it would set a precedent and many decisions would be made by the Supreme Court.

”We are losing our dignity on our own,” he said.

MDP MP Mohamed ‘Colonel’ Nasheed said that the issue was not a constitutional issue, and was rather a political issue.

”Dividing the country into provinces were in both the MDP and DRP manifestos,” Nasheed said. ”To fulfill the pledges of MDP, it’s one path we have to go down.”

He said that it would be more beneficial if there were seven ‘Males’, instead of one.

”What is really going on is that some DRP MPs and vice presidents had told me that if the issue was taken to the Supreme Court, it would rule that it is lawful,” he said. ”They asked me how they will save face in front of the people if that was the case.”

He called on the DRP MPs to take the issue to the Supreme Court if they were confident on the matter.

”If the Supreme Court rules it is unconstitutional we will also be supporting DRP MPs,” he said.

DRP MP Ahmed Mahloof said the purpose of MDP presenting the resolution was to mislead the people.

‘The ‘DRP manifesto do not say it the party will divide the country into provinces,” he said, ”it says it would make four cities like Male’.”

Jumhooree Party MP Gasim ‘Buruma’ Ibrahim said it was not necessary to pass the resolution and take it to the Supreme Court.

”We should take this out of the parliament floor and continue our work making laws,” he said.

DRP MP Ahmed Nihan said that before taking the issue to the Supreme Court people should define the meaning of MDP’s pledges they made to the people.

”They pledged to provide houses for people made homeless by the Tsunami within one year,” he said. ”We should ask them what they meant by ‘one year’ and ‘providing houses’.”

MDP Parliamentary group leader Moosa ‘Reeko’ Manik recently said that the MDP parliamentary group would put forward a no-confidence motion against the speaker of the parliament.

However, newspaper ‘Miadhu’ reported that DRP MP Rozaina Adam had claimed there were MDP MPs who would not vote for the no-confidence motion.

Rozaina told Minivan News that she did not wish to speak about the matter.

Reeko said that the parliamentary group would be deciding the matter after the decentralisation bill.

”We do not want to speak about it yet,” he said.

MDP Secretary General Ahmed Shah, Spokesperson Ahmed Haleem and Chairperson Mariya Didi did not respond to Minivan News at time of press.

DRP Vice President Umar Naseer said Reeko had promised to draft the no-confidence motion against the speaker not with the intention of doing it, ”but just to charge their activists.”

MDP can only get 27 votes even if the no-confidence motion was forwarded, he said: ”MDP can’t shoot goals in parliament.”


Bill banning import of alcohol presented to parliament

A bill banning the importing of alcohol and pork into the Maldives has been presented to the parliament.

The bill was presented by Independent MP Ibrahim Muthalib, which he said amended the list of things that could not be imported to the country under 75/4 of the law on concerning contraband.

”The last time I presented a bill  banning that sale and usage of alcohol on inhabited islands they sent it off the floor claiming that it only bans particular places or areas (inhabited islands),” he said. ”This time I am presenting a bill to ban [alcohol and pork] from being brought inside the country at all.”

He said he hoped that all the MPs would make “a good decision” on the bill after thinking “with a good mind.”

DRP MP Ahmed Rasheed said that he would not support the bill.

”By removing my arms in case I hit someone, by cutting out my tongue in case I talk filth, by blinding my eyes in case I see something that ought not to be watched, by plugging my ears in case I hear something I ought not – I can’t be a Muslim that way,” he said. ”I don’t think there is anyone with so weak a faith.”

People’s Alliances party MP Abdul Azeez Jamal Abu Bakuru said that he “fully supported” the bill.

”I have information that in 1972 alcohol was not imported to the country,” Jamal said. ”It is not a good way to think that its best to be surrounded by sins and not to commit. [For example] it is said to stay away from sex before marriage, and to wait patiently without doing it.”

PA leader and MP Abdulla Yameen said that although the Maldives was a hundred per-cent Muslim country importing alcohol could not be fully banned.

”Look at Jeddah (a Saudi Arabian city on the shores of the Red Sea). It is a city in an Arab Islamic country but you can get alcohol from there,” Yameen said.

Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Parliamentary group leader Moosa Manik claimed he would not support the bill as it was “politically motivated”.