Closing public water taps “like drinking blood of the people”: Umar Naseer

Male’ Municipality has closed 14 public water taps across the city, leaving only four taps available.

Deputy Head of the Municipality Mohamed Arif said the taps were closed because the council had received many complaints about the taps, which were “not being used by Maldivians.”

”Most of the water is used by expats, for car washing and a very few poor locals,” Arif said. ”We have done surveys to check who has been using the water taps.”

Arif said the water taps cost the municipality Rf3.5 million (US$270,000) last year.

He said the water taps were established intending to help the poor locals who could not afford to pay the water bill.

”Our records show that only 10 per-cent of the people using the water taps were Maldivians,” he said.

”We receive many complaints from Ameer Ahmed School that people throw water at the students,” he said. ”We also have many complaints from people that they are having difficulties due to water spilt near the taps.”

Press Secretary for the president Mohamed Zuhair also said that the taps were used mainly by expats and for washing cars.

Vice president of Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party DRP Umar Naseer said that he was concerned about the issue as “a lot of people are unable to afford their water bill.”

”That’s why they stay in the queue for hours, ” he said. ”Closing the water taps is like drinking the blood of the people.”

Most people could not afford to drink bottled mineral water all the time, he noted.


DRP claims MDP activists sending death threats and damaging property

Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) Vice President and spokesperson Ibahim Shareef has claimed that Maldivian Democratic Party senior activists are sending death threats and damaging the property of DRP senior leaders.

Shareef claimed MDP senior activists had broke the glasses of his shop near Ahmadiyya by throwing pavement bricks at it.

”I have been receiving many death threats via SMS,” Shareef said. ”They are saying things like they would kill me and cut me into pieces.”

Shareef said all the attacks were “due to the hatred MDP activists have towards the DRP leaders.”

”They have been throwing stones at my house for a week now,” he said. ”If these acts are continuing we might have to become strict.”

The MDP “has a responsibility for them to stop these violent acts of their activists” Shareef said.

DRP MP and Vice President Ali Waheed said he had been receiving threats for more than a year, and was “quite used to them by now. I don’t care about it much.”

Waheed said he received threats via SMS and in person.

”One day a group of people entered my house when I was not at home,” he said. ”They took a knife and threatened my Mum.”

Spokesperson for Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Ahmed Haleem said the claims from the DRP leaders “are lies”, and an attempt to attack the dignity of the MDP.

”I am sure than none of us would attack or threaten the DRP,” he said. ”They are just trying to gain political support bhy spreading rumours.”

Haleem said he had seen people “burn their own house and rebuild them just for political purposes.”

Sub Inspector Ahmed Shiyam from the Maldives Police Service (MPS) meanwhile confirmed that police had received “many reports from politicians saying they are being threatened.”

He added that police were currently collecting more information on the cases.


Alhan Fahmy asked to leave at reception for Gayoom’s return

Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Alhan Fahmy is claiming he was ‘threatened’ when he tried to attend a welcome reception at the presidential jetty for former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom on his return from Egypt.

Fahmy recently joined the MDP following his suspension Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP), the party of which Gayoom is Honorary Leader.

”DRP MPs and people of the leadership came and warned me that if I stayed here I ‘might hurt myself’,” Fahmy said, ”but the jetty does not belong to DRP so I stayed there.”

Gayoom had attended a gathering marking the Prophet’s (PBUH) birthday, where he was presented with the Order of Merit, First Class in Arts and Sciences by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak for his contribution to spreading Islamic education.

Fahmy said he had wished to personally congratulate Gayoom for his achievement.

”I was forced and threatened, and asked to leave,” he said, ”so I left.”

He said the DRP’s actions “proved they do not reach the criteria of a democratic political party.”

However DRP’s Vice President Umar Naseer claimed Fahmy went to the reception with the clear intention of disrupting the event, “and not to congratulate Maumoon.”

”The event was organised by DRP and only DRP members were invited,” Naseer said, adding that DRP supporters had shouted at Fahmy and he had left of his own volition.

MDP MP Ahmed Easa said it was “very nice” of Fahmy to congratulate Maumoon.

”It showed that he respects him,” Easa said. ”Sending him away was a very weak act by DRP.”

He said even though Fahmy had moved from the DRP to MDP, there was no reason he should not retain personal friendships with the party’s senior members.

”We also used to have coffee at the same table with DRP MPs after debating issues in parliament,” Easa said.

At his welcoming reception, Gayoom said “it gives me pleasure to know that the international community recognises my work in spreading Islam and education in the Maldives,” adding that his award was “an honour to the whole country.”