MDP will not obstruct government through parliament, says Nasheed

The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) will not obstruct or hinder the government should the party win a parliamentary majority in the upcoming general elections, former President Mohamed Nasheed said last night.

Speaking at the campaign launching ceremony for the MDP’s candidate for Manchangoalhi North, MP Mariya Ahmed Didi, Nasheed said obstruction of development projects or government programmes was not the opposition party’s intention.

“Our philosophy is not obstruction. We do not wish to stop undertakings of President [Abdulla] Yameen’s government. We wish for it go ahead on the right path,” he said.

The role of an opposition party in a country with a presidential system was ensuring that campaign pledges are fulfilled, Nasheed added.

Nasheed noted that President Yameen made a number of pledges during last year’s presidential campaign, including raising old age pensions to MVR5,000 a month, providing MVR10,000 to fishermen during lean months, assuring “unlimited” health insurance, and assigning a general practitioner to each family.

“MDP’s legal responsibility today is to encourage holding the government answerable for fulfilling its pledges, if the pledge is not contrary to our philosophy and principles,” he said.

Nasheed suggested that a supplementary budget should be submitted to parliament with funds allocated for fulfilling the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives’ (PPM) campaign promises, which was not the case with the 2014 state budget approved by parliament.

As an additional MVR34 million (US$2.2 million) would be needed to raise the elderly benefits, Nasheed said the required amount could be saved from the budget by halving the salary and allowances of ministers, deputy ministers and state ministers.

He added that the MDP would seek amending the relevant laws to reduce wages of political appointees.

“We need a majority of the People’s Majlis to bring about this change through the law,” he said.

Meanwhile, campaigning in Noonu Velidhoo last night, President Yameen urged voters to choose candidates representing the governing ‘Progressive Coalition’ in order to ensure that the executive receives the necessary cooperation from the legislature.

Yameen argued that parliament was “in need of change” and needed to earn the public’s respect.

He added that it was the parliament that would “put the final stamp” on the government’s efforts to fulfil its campaign pledges.

“If the general rule that they follow is to try to stop everything that is beneficial for the people, that’s not responsible,” the president was quoted as saying by Sun Online.

Yameen also reportedly indicated that the government could submit a supplementary budget this year. The president has previously accused parliament of delaying approval of loans through the public finance committee.

“I need some cash”

In his speech, Nasheed meanwhile referred to a leaked phone conversation in July 2010 between business magnate MP Gasim Ibrahim and then-Independent MP Mohamed ‘Kutti’ Nasheed, who recently joined the PPM, in which the latter asks the business magnate for “some cash”.

In a second leaked conversation, Nasheed read out a draft outlining the then-opposition’s plans to block taxation legislation and amend the Public Finance Act to require parliamentary approval for signing agreements such as the airport privatisation deal with GMR.

The amendments were cited as the main reason for the en masse cabinet resignation in June 2010 with Nasheed announcing at the time that the new laws would make it “impossible for the government to function.”

While then-President Nasheed ratified the amendments after parliament overrode his veto, the government filed a case at the Supreme Court in December 2010 contesting the constitutionality of some provisions.

Nasheed contended last night that opposition politicians obstructed the MDP government because they feared the party would win reelection if it was allowed to implement its policies.


Lottery draw held for winners of flats under Veshi Fahi Male’ housing programme

A lottery draw among winners of flats in Male’ and Hulhumale’ under categories A and B of the Veshi Fahi Male’ housing programme took place on Sunday (June 23) to award and designate flats.

Deputy Minister of Housing Abdulla Muttalib told newspaper Haveeru yesterday (June 24) that the lottery draw took place for 100 flats in the A category and 540 flats in the B category.

He added that 100 flats in the ground floor of apartment complexes are designated for families who have dependents or children with special needs.

Muttalib also revealed that the ministry has reached an agreement with the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) to lower the advance payment from MVR 28,000 (US$1,816) to MVR 19,000 (US$1,232).

He added that agreements for the flats would be signed within the next three weeks.

While winners of flats in Male’ would be awarded the flats once construction in two areas of the capital was complete, Muttalib conceded that the work undertaken by India’s TATA company was completely stalled at present.

The Veshi Fahi Male’ de-congestion programme was a flagship project of the ousted Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) government under its manifesto pledge to provide affordable housing.

The project was launched on November 10, 2010 to ease congestion in the capital and develop the Greater Male’ Region, consisting of Hulhumale’, Vili-Male’, Thilafushi industrial island and Gulhifalhu.

Approximately 125,000 people are believed to reside in about 16,000 households in Male’ while the total number of households in the Maldives is estimated to be 46,000.


“Maizan” Ali Manik elected Male’ City Mayor

Members of the Male’ City Council elected Hulhu-Henveiru Councillor “Maizan” Ali Manik (Alibe) to the vacant post of mayor today with ten votes from the 11-member council.

Former head of the Male’ municipality “Sarangu” Adam Manik had resigned as the first mayor of Male’ earlier this month, following a no-confidence motion instigated by fellow councillors from the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).

The Male’ City Council has nine MDP councillors and two opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) councillors.

Following his election today, Alibe told Sun Online that the council would restart stalled projects in the capital.

The new mayor said that his first priority would be implementing the government’s flagship “Veshi Fahi” Male’ decongestion programme.

Alibe revealed that former Mayor Adam Manik had assured him of full cooperation as the new chair of the city council.