New additional secretary appointed to the foreign ministry

Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Hassan Shifau has been appointed to the post of additional secretary at the level of deputy minister, reports CNM.

Shifau, who has served as the permanent secretary at the foreign ministry from February, 2012, had previously held the post of foreign ministry’s deputy director general, heading the regional cooperation department.

Aishath Liusha Zahir and Dr Shehenaz Adam also currently serve as additional secretaries at the foreign ministry.

Meanwhile, the Civil Services Commission last Tuesday (February 3) called for interested parties to submit their applications for the vacant permanent secretary post before 2pm on February 26.

Source: CNM


Islamic Ministry denies receiving anti-gambling petition over US Green Card Lottery

The Islamic Ministry has denied knowledge of a petition reportedly submitted to the ministry demanding a stop to the US Green Card Lottery Program in the Maldives.

The program provides 55,000 ‘green card’ immigration visas to people around the world each year as a means of diversifying immigration to the US. The US Embassy recently held an information session on the program in Male’.

Several media outlets and local religious websites have reported that the petition signed by 107 persons requesting a stop to the green card program was submitted to the Islamic Ministry yesterday.

Media reports said the petition stated that the Green Card program had “hidden objectives”, and “added to the chain of activities conducted in the Maldives by non-muslims to promote gambling.”

State Islamic Minister Sheikh Hussein Rasheed Ahmed and the ministry’s Permanent Secretary Mohamed Didi both said they had no information about a petition being submitted to the Ministry against the US Green Card Lottery Program.

“I do not know whether it was submitted to the Ministry,” said Didi. “I am not saying that it was not submitted to the Ministry,” he added.

“If the petition was submitted directly to the Minister then I might not have received it yet.”


Departing doctors leave IGMH unable to provide outpatient services to children

An acute lack of pediatric specialists in Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) has forced the hospital to temporarily close outpatient services for children, who make up 40 percent of the hospital’s patients.

Zubair Mohamed, Managing Director of Male’ Health Services Corporation – formerly the Chief Executive Officer of IGMH – said that there were only four pediatricians left after many left claiming to have family and personal problems, while others departed on vacation.

Zubair said that low wages and poor allowances were leading doctors to resign and return to their own countries.

”Most of the good doctors we have are from India,” Zubair said.

”They get almost the same salary as if they worked in India, so it’s not worth it for them to work here.”

A recent salary increase for doctors in India has made it even harder for the Maldives to attract and retain qualified medical staff.

Zubair said that the remaining four pediatricians were now working 24 hours on-call in the emergency and IPD units.

”Forty percent of the patients who come to the hospital are children,” Zubair said. ”They are a large group of patients.”

He said that patients hospitalised were now being given more priority than the patients who visited for diagnosis or treatment.

A pediatrician and a second doctor – a talented psychiatric specialist – left the hospital last week on vacation and have not returned.

”They usually leave saying that they have family and personal issues,” Zubair said. ”Only a few directly say that they cannot work for the low salary.”

As a consequence there would be no outpatient pediatric services available this week, he said.

”Hopefully we will get new pediatricians for the hospital very soon and restart services,” Zubair said. ”We need at least six doctors.”

Future of IGMH

When IGMH begins running as a corporation the salaries of doctors will rise and allowances will increase, Zubair promised.

”Right now all the doctors classed are civil servants, ” he explained, ”so we have to follow the regulations of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and cannot provide them the allowances and salary as we would prefer.”

He said the new corporation had held a meeting with the CSC and discussed the matter, and estimated that it would take three months to start IGMH as a health services corporation.

Spokesperson for the CSC Fahmy Hassan said that the Male’ Health Corporation had held a meeting with the commission but ”it was not to discuss the doctor salaries.”

Fahmy said the commission in January asked the Finance Ministry how much they would be able to pay for the doctors salary and said that the commission was not legally authorised to pay any salary the commission wanted.

”We are now paying them the highest possible salary the Finance Ministry has agreed to give,” he said. ”We cannot pay a salary Finance Ministry disagrees with.”

Press secretary for the president Mohamed Zuhair said that the government had nothing to do with the CSC’s code of salary.

”The government will try to solve the problem somehow,” he said.

He said that the salaries of the doctors will increase when IGMH starts running under Male’ Health Corporation, “which was the main reason why we established it,” he said.Permanent Secretary for the Finance Ministry Ismail Shafeeq did not respond to Minivan News at time of press.


Dhiffushi divided: islanders concerned about anonymous man preaching Islam from bedroom

People living on Dhiffushi in Kaafu Atoll have expressed concern about an anonymous man living in the island preaching Islam to an isolated and growing congregation.

A authority familiar with the matter told Minivan News on condition of anonymity that the man claimed to be a resident of Male’, and said he had moved to Dhiffushi with his wife and two kids ”because he liked the island.”

He claimed the man “preaches Islam to people and convinces them to form an isolated congregations and to join him.”

”There are youths following and protecting him,” he said, ”he leads all the prayers, including Friday prayers, in his bedroom.”

He said the man claimed he is living the way Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) lived.

”He uses a mop stick as his staff,” the source said. ”People one day spied on them while they were doing the Friday prayers and found out that he gives the Friday speech standing on his bed with his crowd surrounding him,.”

He said the man and his followers had claimed that the imam of the government mosque was a sorcerer, and that there was a corpse buried under the mosque.

”Islanders are really angry with his behavior,” the source said. ”Some people have already told him to leave the island immediately.”

He said the man’s his acts were dividing the society of the island.

An official at the Island office said that the case had been reported to the Islamic Ministry and the Atoll Office.

”At first they did the Friday prayers in his room,” he said, ”now they do it secretly in other room.”

Spokesperson for the Islamic Ministry Sheikh Ahmadullah and Permanent Secretary Mohamed Didi said they had no information on the matter.