Six ministers appointed to cabinet

President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom appointed six new cabinet ministers today including Umar Naseer as Home Minister, Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed as Islamic Minister, Dr Mohamed Muiz as Housing and Infrastructure Minister, Dr Mohamed Shainy as Fisheries and Agriculture Minister, Mohamed Saeed as Economic Development Minister and Thoriq Ibrahim as Environment and Energy Minister.

The oath of office for the ministers was administered by Supreme Court Justice Abdulla Areef.

While two of the five ministers appointed on Sunday night were members of the President’s Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), the new ministers appointed today were nominated by coalition partners Jumhooree Party (JP), Adhaalath Party (AP) and Maldives Development Alliance (MDA). The PPM-led coalition also includes a number of smaller parties.

JP Leader Gasim Ibrahim and MDA Leader Ahmed Shiyam Mohamed attended the swearing-in ceremony at the President’s Office this afternoon.

Adhaalath Party members Shaheem and Muiz had served in the same posts in the cabinet of former President Dr Mohamed Waheed.

In addition to the ministerial appointments, former Youth Minister Mohamed Hussain Shareef  ‘Mundhu’ was appointed minister of the President’s Office – a post abolished in 2008 – and former Economic Development Minister Ahmed Mohamed was appointed Commissioner General of Customs.

All cabinet ministers would require parliamentary approval for confirmation of their posts.

In his remarks after presenting letters of appointment, President Yameen congratulated the new ministers and noted that the government was formed out of a coalition.

The aim of the government should therefore be implementing the main components of the manifestos of the PPM-led coalition, he said.

This would bring contentment and prosperity to the people, protect Islam, maintain peace and stability, and overcome divisions, Yameen said.

The coalition government would be “a compassionate government” that “respects the individual rights of all citizens,” he added.

President Yameen said he wished to “speed up our efforts” to deliver on the campaign promises and asked the new ministers to “work tirelessly” and “make sacrifices if necessary” to serve the public and defend Islam.

“So I ask all of you to provide cooperation to me and my government to ensure the development the Maldivian people want,” he said.

The next five years would bring “unprecedented joy and peace” if the coalition government’s vision for the country was realised, Yameen said.

President Yameen said he hoped to present a timeline or roadmap for the first 100 days at the first cabinet meeting.

Home Minister Umar Naseer

Umar Naseer was dismissed from the PPM in April after refusing to apologise for allegations of vote rigging in the wake of his primary defeat to President Yameen.

Naseer had claimed that  Yameen “rigged” the primary by ballot stuffing, falsifying the count and “pouring black money” to buy votes.

He further alleged that criminal gangs, convicts and drug smuggling “networks” were part of Yameen’s campaign team.

“Less than 24 hours after my brother Abdulla Yameen won the primary, the foremost person in the Maldives’ corruption network, Deputy Speaker of the People’s Majlis Ahmed Nazim joined the PPM,” Naseer had said.

After joining the campaign of JP Leader Gasim Ibrahim, Umar had said that Yameen was “the root of all the problems faced by our country today.”

“The 40,000 illegal immigrants who have entered the country are people brought in under his nose. People say that there is a connection between Yameen and the illicit drugs that are sold on the streets of Maldives,” Naseer alleged.

Following Gasim’s third-placed finish in the first round of the presidential election on November 9, Naseer declared that he would back the PPM candidate against former President Mohamed Nasheed.