Friday, November 05, 2004

DOs DIRTY POLITCS

With reference to the article:
“ Eyewitness account of 1988 coup attempt and aftermath plus related correspondence”
It seems that DO is trying to fool the readers by writing false articles about the 1998 coup attempt. In my observation the rational behind this false article in saying that people were ill treated in Police custody during 1998 and mentioning that those were Singhalese is just for the simple reason that the DO wants to gain the sympathies of Sri Lankan Sinhalese by this and make Sri Lanka as a safe heaven for their dirty activities.

The author of the article tries to show that he is the hero of the day by writing that he was near the NSS Headquarters most of the time and he unloaded a weapon of a dead mercenary while the fighting was going on, and he was the chief negotiator with the Indian Government on behalf of Maldives . But he did not understand that its just 15 years for the incident and we still remember each and everything happen that day as it happened a while ago.

It seems that the author of this article all alone fought against the mercenaries for the Maldives , all the others were just sleeping. But the fact is that this particular article is written by the people who pissed to their pants on this very same day, but now blowing their own trumpet.

You can also see the true identity of the DO in what they have written about the Heroes who did the supreme sacrifice of life, for this country and for our religion. These articles simply reflects that the true identity of DO

Disillusioned by the parliament

I ask them
Or members elected
Are you here for us
Or for your salary
If so my dear elected
We can't afford you here
For this isn't business
We are reforming
The country is reforming
And it starts with you

After a controversial meeting the Present set of MP's left their electorate in a shock with their utterly reprehensible behaviour. After almost more then 4 years in the parliament with no credible result to show for that, they showed their true colours in the eve of their departure from the parliament. No wonder many of them has decided not to stand in this fresh election because they know that they don't stand a chance.

Perhaps it is a reflection of how much the Maldivian Democracy depends on the Parliament that they are allowed to decide their own salary. But the fiasco that happened in the last meeting when they were asked to fix their own salary is proof of their selfish nature.

While some of them suggested a salary as exorbitant as ten Thousand rufiyaa, saner thoughts prevailed. Nevertheless they end up getting Seven Thousand Rufiyaa as salary, a 55% increase from the old one. Still others put forward a motion which was seconded suggesting an allowance of Seven Thousand more on that to cater for their office, living, telephone and staff. Thank god they didn't ask another allowance for their wives. Anyway, again saner thoughts prevailed and they could not get this passed. They also fixed the salary of the Special Majlis members at the same rate. I wonder, isn't it a ridiculous idea in the fist place for members to fix their own salary?

Please don't be fooled by this simple mathematics. This effectively means that a Parliament member will be getting a salary of fourteen Thousand Rufiyaa for their efforts. That is Seven Thousand Rufiyaa from the Parliament and Seven Thousand Rufiyaa from the Special Majlis. Lets also put in the other benefits like Immunity form arrest unless under normal
circumstances, priority in facilities giving public service like IGMH and a diplomatic passport to go with. Wow! isn't that something? Being an MP is sure going to be fashionable and with this trend we can hope to see many faces this coming election.

After Ramadan the meetings will be held during morning working hours where by those members in Government jobs would be absent form their normal regular jobs. So a member working in the Government would be in fact getting three salaries. His regular salary, the Parliament salary and the Special Majlis salary which could amount to a total of anything up to twenty thousand rufiyaa while they do all these work concurrently at the same time. And since most of these members are quite senior in the government a lot of work is suspended pending their signature while they earn their salary in the Majlis.

Now the larger question here is not how much they are being paid. But what is more important is whether their pay commensurate the amount of work they do. Normally there is no set schedule for the Special Majlis to meet. It is convened at the will of the President of the Special Majlis. And normally now they are expected to meet not more then twice a week. I wonder when they are being paid anything up to twenty thousand rufiyaa why can't they meet daily to accelerate the reform process.

I know that in great democracies like America the legislature is paid a modest salary with some allowances. Citing these some members have demanded office allowance worth three thousand rufiyaa, staff allowance worth thousand five hundred rufiyaa and living allowance worth thousand five hundred rufiyaa and a telephone allowance worth thousand five hundred rufiyaa. And I don't mean to imply that we should not follow the examples of great countries.

But if you take a look at the larger picture, the legislature in those countries is employed full time in their job.

They don't treat their parliamentary posts as Part time jobs like they do here. Come to think of it, the Parliamentary posts in Maldives has become a highly paid, highly lucrative Part Time job with a lot of added perks, only they do their part time job on their regular job's time.

Under those circumstances, when the members have set for themselves a ridiculously exorbitant salary we cannot expect them to speed up the reform process. It will be to their advantage to delay the process and enjoy the perks of the job. For once the reforms will be complete they will be jobless. And more over the last time the Special Majlis was convened it took them more then 17 years to write a piece of paper which had become outdated even before it was complete.

With this scenario I wonder whether it wouldn't be wise for us to have a Special Majlis which works full time to complete reform process. Those same members can be urged to take this as a full time job and either resign or take a no pay leave form their present regular job so that the Majlis can meet daily. God knows that that they have demanded and are getting a salary worthy of that. For that matter it would be wise also for the electorate to vote for those who can commit them selves to the legislative process in the upcoming election. Let's not let the democratic reform process get bogged down.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

PRIDE OF THE NATION

The pride of a nation depends on its sovereignty, so is ours. Hence in our capacity we work hard to secure it, but we may not be able to expose into all such measures that will assist us making our job easier, for most are not affordable or is out of our reach. But it would be a setback of ours if we do not extend
our hands to those of which are possible for us to attain. We were so ignorant that we took Maldives to be an external threat free nation for a long time. Since the independence from the British in 1965 we really had no much of a threat till late 1980s. Though our past is full of such threats, with the beginning of the new era of civilization, we never
expected for such ambiguities. But we were wrong. The 3 rd November 1988 came to
us in a blitz assuring us that we should lay steps that are important for homeland security.

The 3 rd November 1988 was a time the country was not ready for such a threat. Neither the general public nor the security forces even imagine such a bedlam. The whole nation went blunt not knowing what to really do.

Are we to still standstill and do nothing to prevent such an event happening? If so that would be totally ignorance. This would never achieve us the pride of the nation, sovereignty. For people who are dedicated for independence as ours, so it won't be wise to stay back without taking proper actions to counter any foreign infiltration to our homeland. We need expertise and equipment that can counter the threats of the modern age. We need to spend our tax payer's money wisely to defend them at any cost. Our heroes fought bravely on that day to keep this tiny nation independent. It is time for us to carry the pride to the next generation.


Tuesday, November 02, 2004

The spirit of the “Victory Day”


Once again the Victory day is upon us. For each of us Victory day brings different
meanings and feelings. But universal among them is the feeling of unity that
binds us together on this day. This unity comes from our appreciation of the
deeper reasons behind the celebration of this day.


I do not wish to go behind all the reasons for celebrating the Victory day. Suffice to day Nov 3 rd is the day when we were rudely awaken form our deep slumber by the gunfire of mercenaries. These mercenaries have been instigated to try and overthrow the Government by a few Maldivians.

Of course we do not celebrate this day for that. Rather we celebrate this day for the courage
the Maldivians showed that day in resisting this attack on our sovereignty.

Today, Victory day holds even more significance because we are yet again at a cross road of such a peril. It is for us to decide whether we should follow the example of our elders that day or we should give in. Ironically this time too a few Maldivians are involved in bringing about the
present scenario. But unlike a direct coup d'etat they have employed a more refined and sophisticated approach.

This involves a step by step attack on our religion, our democracy, our economy and our leadership. Crippling us slowly and softy till we are ripe for their pickings.


But today let us forget all our troubles. Let us try to remember the sacrifices of those who made this day possible. Let us remember the civilians who were killed mercilessly on this day. Let us also remember those who laid down their lives voluntarily so that we may have this day to celebrate.


For what ever the NSS personnel may not be, they certainly weren't cowards that day. They held on to their forts against all odds. Many of them voluntarily left the safety of their shelter and came out to be slashed by enemy bullets. These are true heroes of Modern Maldives. We should remember them with pride.


Now it would be entirely wrong for us to use this day as an excuse attack and slander anyone. I implore the internet magazine DO to respect the spirit of the day and not come out with slander and outrageous allegations. Remember this is the day for unity and it would be wrong on their side to use this as an excuse to disrupt the harmony that exists among us.


For all so called reformers I urge them to have a deep look with in to their souls on this day. And maybe they would be able to differentiate what true reform means and how different it is from dancing to someone's selfish propaganda. And then maybe they would try to bring the changes
they want in the Government with a more civilized approach without violence and bloodshed.


Finally to all Maldivians I say, lets us face this day with
the spirit of tolerance and openness to ideas and change. At the same time not compromising on our values and principles. Lets give a clear message today that we have no patience for those who would disrupt our harmony for their selfish reason. And most of all lets put aside our differences and celebrate this day with the spirit of freedom for that is the only way to celebrate the “Victory Day”


Monday, November 01, 2004

The caption "Writers languish in Maldivian jail

01 Nov 2004 - The caption "Writers languish in Maldivian jail" on journalism.co.uk, linked in Dhivehi Observer deserves some comments. For most people outside Maldives, Mohamed Zaki, Ahmed Didi and Ibrahim Luthfee are writers, but nothing can be as far from reality as this. Let me try and put this in the perspective of a Maldivian. Mohamed Zaki is a Radio Operator by profession, and he made his money by smuggling endangered turtle shells from Maldives to Japan, and from bribes he got for sending Maldivian sailors to Iranian ships during Iran Iraq war. His interest in politics started with the campaign for the election of his relative Mohamed Waheed to parliament. His basic education is below secondary level and will not be able to write 100 words in English without spelling and grammar mistakes. His businesses are complete failures due to bad management and he is in debt up to his neck to the banks. Ahmed Didi, again a Radio Operator who worked for Maldives Shipping Ltd, started off with a grievance against the then Deputy Minister Ilyas Ibrahim regarding the confiscation of some mattresses which he brought from Singapore being confiscated by the Shipping Company, for reasons which were arguable. He is among the group of sea men involved in smuggling to Maldives, for own profit. He has been ever since criticizing the government in the cafeterias and wherever he goes. Some of his arguments have merit while most are slander and people in Male' often take him for fun. His political debut started with his nomination for parliament seat of Addu Atoll, and being arrested during the election. Ibrahim Luthfee, started off with Frontier Video and Computer land, and after becoming almost bankrupt after some bad business deals, never had a paying job and lived on welfare of friends. The project for Sandhaanu evolved when the business tycoon recruited him for an IT venture named E-Maldives. Mr.Luthfee has not completed secondary level education, but he goes on to comment on everything from Law to Political change on Dhivehi Observer's radio Minivan Radio. He went to the extent of commenting that the current AG Dr.Hassan Saeed, one of the most educated Maldivians as unfit for the office! Those of you who are criticizing the Maldivian government for the arrest and conviction of the above three, have you ever read the so called Sandhaanu? If there were libel laws like Singapore in Maldives, all three would have been fined in millions. While there were some good writings contributed by professionals in Maldives, Sandhaanu carried mostly slander and was targeted to created hatred against the elected government. While we do not have laws, we do have laws which can be used to control them and what the government did was right. For Reporters without borders, or Amnesty, to criticize without properly investigating who you are trying to protect, will only tarnish your image!

Sunday, October 31, 2004

The Peoples' Majlis And The President's Cabinet

We have heard so much criticism about the president appointing his family members and close associates as cabinet members and senior aides.

The president has every right to appoint who ever he feels is capable to what ever post he wants as long as they are not posts stipulated to be appointed through an election by law. So we should not be having and objection with the President appointing his close associates for the Cabinet Posts. After all these are not elected posts and the president can elect anybody he wants by law.

It is clearly stated in the constituton in Article 42.b describing the powers of the president that President has power to “Appointment and dissolution of the cabinet of Ministers”. Again in Article 54 it says that “There shall be a Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the President, and the Cabinet will be presided over by the president” and the constitution clearly states in Article 59 that cabinet “shall be accountable to the president”. That is why the members elected by the people are called the People's or Citizen's Majlis as opposed to the Cabinet being called the President's Cabinet.

When the constitution clearly gives you the right to do so, it goes without reason that you would appoint people closer to you that you can trust as your Cabinet. If you see some of the other countries nearby similar examples are abundant. In Saudi all holding senior posts will be form the house of Saud. In Kuwait all senior posts given to Sabahs. It is same with the Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan's family in UAE. I know what the readers are itching to say, that these are all kingdoms. Let us take the US which is supposed to be the greatest democracy in this world. It's a known fact that George Bush appointed his wartime colleagues and Business Associates to senior associates. You must be a fool to appoint people you don't know well to senior government posts just because they have a good qualification.

And just because you have a good degree you shouldn't be expecting to get senior posts either unless you have proven yourself with hard work. But nevertheless you must agree that when the batch of Fathuhulla Jameel and Zahir Hussein was appointed they were really the most educated amongst the Maldivians at that time. To his credit President Maumoon has not backed away from giving senior posts even to his worst critics if they happen to have proper qualifications. Even Dr. Waheed was holding a senior post in the Education Ministry when he got fed up his in-law's terrorist activities and fled the country in search of a more financially lucrative job abroad.

Some of the present ministers in the cabinet bring an enormous wealth of experience with them apart from the education they have. The president has blended their experience with the modern education of the new comers very nicely. People like Dr. Shaugee and Dr. Saeed has brought fresh ideas and a new vigor to the present cabinet.

In fact the President had even before tried to bring in more educated people to the cabinet. But people like Dr. Munavvaru who was selected on the strength of his education alone, proved to be a bad choice and set back the legal system of the country many years. This just goes on to prove that education will not replace experience and trust.

Under such circumstances, is the president wrong to elect people whom he can trust to important appointments in the government? What remains to be seen is not weather how closely related a particular Government Official is to the president, rather we must see whether they are upholding the trust the government had put in them by appointing them to high offices.
And I am sure any Maldivian who is well versed with the development of this country for the last 25 years will not doubt that President has been wise in appointing people. Even his worst critics don't deny the amount of development the Maldives has seen in the last 25 years. Given this scenario I must congratulate the president on his judgment. Mr.President you haven't done badly at all. Not bad at all.