The government will establish the state-owned Maldives Hajj Corporation Limited following a recommendation by the Cabinet Economic Committee, the President’s Office has confirmed.
President Dr Mohamed Waheed on Thursday (May 16) opted to form the company with 100 percent government shares.
The announcement of the company’s foundation follows recent legal wrangling in the Maldives’ courts over whether the Islamic Ministry should be forced to reevaluate several unsuccessful bids by local Hajj groups wishing to offer pilgrimages.
The case was filed on the back of concerns at alleged corruption within the current system.
Select Hajj groups are authorised by the government to provide transport and accommodation for pilgrims in Mecca, as well as offering guidance in helping them complete the religious rituals.
The Maldives Police Service has arrested three people on suspicion of smuggling over 100 bottles of alcohol into Male’ on a local boat (dhoni), local media has reported.
The arrests were made after the police Drug Enforcement Department seized the alcohol shipment – mostly thought to consist of bottles of whisky – from a dhoni that arrived in the capital yesterday (May 17).
According to Sun Online, the dhoni was suspected of being used to transport the alcohol from a safari boat that was later raided by police.
Two Maldivian nationals aged 42 and 23 were reportedly arrested during the raid. A 22 year-old foreigner was also taken into custody in connection to the seized alcohol.
Investigations are presently continuing, Sun Online has reported.
The Maldives Transport and Contracting Company (MTCC) temporarily halted public ferry services last night (May 15) due to bad weather and rough seas, stranding over 200 people, reports local media.
Ferry service to Villingili Island was instead continued via speedboats.
Hulhumale’ ferry service was also temporarily discontinued, with boats instead docking at the airport island Hulhule.
A woman on Dhuvaafaru Island in Raa Atoll was saved from committing suicide by the police, reports local media.
Police received a report Monday (May 13) night that a 26 year-old woman was attempting to take her own life by swimming away from Dhuvaafaru. At approximately 11pm officers in uniform waded out into the sea to rescue the woman.
According to police, the woman was trying to commit suicide due to “family problems”.
She was put in the care of the island’s Family and Children’s Center following the incident, said police.
“Maldives President Mohamed Waheed has unexpectedly thrown his hat in the ring for the September 2013 elections, upsetting what was supposed to be a two-cornered contest between the country’s best-known democrat and its infamous strongman,” writes R Radhakrishnan, in an open editorial for the Hindu newspaper.
“Until last week, it appeared that the race for the Maldivian Presidency would be between two candidates — the charismatic former President Mohamed Nasheed and Yameen Abdullah, the brother of former dictator and Nasheed’s tormentor Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party is the country’s biggest in terms of membership (45,666, according to the election commission; an additional 1,323 were not included, says MDP). The Progressive Party of the Maldives, which Gayoom founded in 2011, is the second-largest party, with 22,383 members.
The only purpose of the others in the fray seemed to be to ensure that neither of the two main candidates would get the 51 per cent votes in the scheduled September 7 election and that there would be a run-off.
No one seriously thought that President Mohamed Waheed would emerge as a candidate himself. His Gaumee Ithihad Party (GIP) was too small — with a membership of barely 4,000 — and he did not have the commanding stage presence of either Nasheed or Gayoom; and it appeared no other small party wanted to back him for President. (A GIP functionary claimed that after a membership drive, the members have shot up to 12,000).
All that is history. Dr. Waheed is now seriously in the reckoning. Playing a deft hand, Dr. Waheed — Vice-President in the previous Nasheed government — has managed to rope in parties that do not want to be in an alliance with either Gayoom’s PPM or Nasheed’s MDP.
Nine political parties have submitted their annual audit reports to the Elections Commission (EC) by a deadline that expired yesterday (May 14), local media has reported.
Under EC rules, all political parties wishing to receive state funds are required to submit their annual audits reports by a specific deadline.
EC Secretary General Asim Abdul Sattar was today quoted by Sun Online as confirming that a total of nine parties had met the deadline to submit the reports. He declined to identify the nine parties at present.
Two men have been arrested after police received a “tip off” on Sunday (May 12) that they were in possession of 16 bottles of alcohol, reports local media.
The 32 year-old Maldivian and 44 year-old Bangladeshi were arrested around 7:17pm while on a speedboat near the public swimming track in Male’.
The alcohol seized by police included 12 Absolute Vodka bottles, one King Robert vodka bottle, one Russian Standard vodka bottle, and two Irish Jameson whiskey bottles.
A man was arrested for attacking a Sonee Sports security guard with a sharp object in an attempt to rob the office, reports local media.
The Police Services told local media the 27 year-old was trying to break into the office and “items normally used for robberies” were recovered during an inspection of the area.
The injured security was taken to ADK Hospital for treatment and was later released, according to police.
The case is currently under investigation.
Ongoing stormy weather in the Maldives has damaged another island in the south, Fiyoree, located in Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll.
Fiyoree has suffered storm related damage, including flooding, fallen trees and roofs of some homes have been blown off by strong winds, reports local media.
Fiyoree Island Council President Mohamed Ahmed told local media that Sunday’s (May 12) bad weather had also destroyed yam crops planted in preparation for Ramadan and flooded parts of the island.
The Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) is working to drain the flooded areas, including the yam farms.
Since 2009, Fiyoree has been visited by “several groups” conducting surveys on flood prevention in the yam-growing areas, which flood each time there is heavy rain, according to Ahmed. He expressed concern that despite four years of surveys, a drainage system has not yet been established on the island.