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Dharumavantha Hospital: A Symbol of Resilience and Economic Independence.

Hamdhan Shakeel

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“Maldivian dependence on neighboring India and Sri Lanka is very high. Going beyond the specialty and super-specialty medical care and portals of education, from under-graduation upwards, Maldives depends more on these two neighbors for the regular supply of daily essentials — from staple food items like rice, wheat and all condiments to all kinds of medicines and pharmaceutical supplies.”. This was written on an article published by Dhirhubai Anmbani’s ORF, an Indian think tank.

It doesn’t take one to be a savant to recognize that the Maldives is dependent on foreign countries for its import of crucial goods and some services. In the past, this dependency which includes medical services and education has allowed for some foreign countries to use it as leverage against the Government of Maldives to impose their will.

In 2012, following the dissolution of the GMR agreement with the Government of Maldives, the Indian Government tightened Visa regulations for Maldivians seeking medical treatment and education in India. This led to long queues in front of the Indian High Commission in the capital Malé City.

India’s wrath did not stop at its High Commission, trade between the two countries was also disrupted as India continued on to tighten the export quotas and regulations set for the Maldives to export industrial goods including aggregates from India. This led to a serious shortage of construction materials in the Maldives, bringing the second largest sector to a halt.

Fast-forward to 2013, President Abdulla Yameen was elected to office. President Abdulla Yameen was a man who had a vision of restoring the nation’s pride, integrity and sovereignty back to what our forefathers envisioned.

President Abdulla Yameen’s policies reflected his ideas of re-gaining the nation’s economic independence by eliminating its dependence on foreign powers. He achieved this in a remarkably diplomatic and peaceful way, by initiating trade with other trade partners.

President Abdulla Yameen eliminated India’s leverage over the Maldives’ construction industry by starting to import aggregates and other construction materials from UAE, Vietnam and China. While this removed the dependency on India for certain goods, the need for travel to India for medical purposes still remained. President Abdulla Yameen had a diplomatic solution for that as well.

On 5th June 2016, the Government of Maldives contracted the Singaporean Construction Company Shenhua Construction to build the $143 million 25 story Dharumavantha Hospital.

Out of the 25 floors, 6 floors would be dedicated to establishing the “National Diagnostics Center, while 5 floors would be providing accommodation for patients. The 1st floor of the building will provide radiology services while the 4th floor will have physiotherapy and rehabilitation services including physiotherapy center for children and hydrotherapy facilities.

But what was most notable about the Dharumavantha Hospital was that Floors 8-14 was dedicated to establish a medical college. This would have allowed for the local students to study medicine locally and simultaneously, achieve training from the hospital with state-of-the-art equipment.

The brilliance behind the project was that, while this would eliminate the need for Maldivians to go abroad for medical purposes, it would essentially turn the tables as foreigners would fly in seeking medical treatment in the Maldives from the Dharumavantha Hospital.

The indefinite closure of the Dharumavantha Hospital by the current administration will cause irreparable damages to the country as thousands fly out to India and Sri Lanka seeking medical treatment, taking millions of U.S. Dollars out of the country annually. Moreover, the current administration’s refusal to open the hospital has meant that the Maldivian medical system and prospective students are left behind for another 5 years until a more progressive administration is elected.

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Uthuru Thila Falhu to reduce imports, ensure food security: Minister Saeed

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Minister of Economic Development and Trade Mohamed Saeed has emphasised the government’s endeavor to enhance food security through the Uthuru Thila Falhu project, aiming to curtail imports.

In an interview with a private media outlet, Minister Saeed underscored the significance of locally sourced products in ensuring food security for citizens. He also highlighted plans for island-level production.

Additionally, Minister Saeed outlined a upcoming initiative set to launch in Uthuru Thila Falhu, focusing on bolstering food security by cultivating ample fruits, vegetables, and seafood to cater to both resorts and residential areas across the nation. He said that the project aligns with President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu’s vision for the country, aiming to transform Uthuru Thila Falhu into a pivotal food hub.

Furthermore, Minister Saeed disclosed that the Maldives Industrial Development Free Zone has entrusted the China Harbour Engineering Company with reclaiming land and establishing an agricultural zone in Uthuru Thila Falhu. The project includes the creation of a specialized agricultural zone serving as a pivotal distribution center for agricultural products and inputs.

Source(s): PsmNews

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Six independent MP-elects sign with PNC

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Six independent candidates who were elected to the Parliament in the recent elections have signed with the main ruling People’s National Congress (PNC).

In the parliamentary elections held on Sunday, PNC had endorsed several independent candidates over those contesting on the party’s ticket.

A spokesperson from the PNC confirmed on Wednesday that six independent candidates have signed with the party.

All six joined PNC on Tuesday.

They are:

  • Dr. Anara Naeem: Huraa constituency
  • Hassan Zareer: Mathiveri constituency
  • Ahmed Zameer: Central Machangolhi constituency
  • Ahmed Riyaz: Thimarafushi constituency
  • Yaseen Abdulla: Naifaru constituency
  • Azim Abdul Azeez: Vilingili constituency

The PNC had secured a landslide victory in Sunday’s elections; winning 66 out of 93 seats. With the six MP-elects who signed on Tuesday, the ruling party will have 72 seats in the next parliamentary assembly.

This does not take into account the candidates from other parties backed by the government; Maldives National Party (MNP)’s leader Colonel (Retired) Mohamed Nazim, Maldives Development Alliance (MDA)’s leader Ahmed Siyam Mohamed, and Mohamed Abbas – a political from MDA who won the Velidhoo seat.

The MP-elects who signed with PNC on Tuesday includes former party members who lost the PNC primaries held in January. They later ran in the elections as independent candidates, with the government backing their candidacy over that of the ruling party’s own candidates.

This includes Zameer and Ahmed Riyaz. Their rival PNC candidates had later dropped out of the race and backed their candidacy.

Meanwhile, Hassan Zareer, the incumbent Mathiveri MP, had won the 2019 elections on a ticket from the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP). But he, along with 13 other lawmakers from MDP, defected to PNC after MDP’s Ibrahim Mohamed Solih lost re-election.

In this year’s polls, Zareer ran for re-election as an independent candidate, but with the government’s backing.

The move by the six independent MP-elects to join PNC comes after the MDP-majority Parliament passed an anti-defection bill on April 1.

The bill, which stipulates that parliamentarians will lose their seat for floor crossing, was signed into law by President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu last week.

Meanwhile, a separate bill to include anti-defection provisions in the constitution is in the works in the Parliament.

The 20th parliamentary assembly will be sworn in on May 28.

Source(s): sun.mv

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Abdul Raheem express confidence in retaining majority of Parliament

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Special Advisor to the President Abdul Raheem Abdulla has expressed confidence that the newly elected Parliament will be retained. The remarks were made during a programme aired on PSM News.

The ruling party, People’s National Congress (PNC) secured the super majority of the Parliament, following the parliamentary elections held on April 21. Abdul Raheem stated that the majority retained is close to 80 members, including 66 PNC candidates elected, who were endorsed by President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu. He affirmed that the new Parliament would strive to amend laws and regulations such that residents attain the maximum benefit, unlike previous Parliaments.

Abdul Raheem claimed to be aware of the reasons behind the incapacity of previous Parliaments of being retained, and revealed that he knew the stories behind the resignation of 12 parliamentarians during the tenure of Former President Yameen Abdul Gayoom. Hence, he claimed to be aware of the necessary initiatives and preparations to maintain the majority of the newly elected Parliament.

Additionally, Abdul Raheem disclosed that certain candidates who were elected had previously held senior parliamentarian positions. Therefore, he ensured that the majority elected by the residents will be retained, unlike previous Parliaments.

Source(s): PsmNews

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