In an apparent swipe against the ‘mega demo’ on last Friday, the govt announced that its mulling plans to ban import of alcohol and pork. The govt’s spin doctors apparently advised the administration to put a bill through parliament to ban these products and let the MPs do the debates on the issue to point out the unworkable nature of the big-demo demands.
However the way the govt seems to approach these demands is growlingly seen as insincere and half thought-out, provoking interesting discussions across media.
The big demo’s list of demands were
- To forbid the sale of wine and pork and not to designate areas in inhibited islands as ‘UN-inhibited islands’ which is the only way now to be able to operate a bar in an inhibited island as the existing rules prohibit sale of liquor in inhabited islands
- To remove the controversial monuments in Addu after the SAARC summit.
- To apologize for Ms. Pilley’s remarks about religion
- To revoke the decision to allow Israeli airliner El Al to operate to Maldives.
- To close massage parlors in Male’ most of which are places for prostitution.
our analysis of the big-demo’s demands:
- Sale of wine is prohibited for Muslims and a Muslim administration cannot charge royalties, apply fees and issue license etc for forbidden goods. Therefore one workable solution to this problem would be to outsource licensing and regulating of these items to a competent non-Muslim entity. As for pork we understand that several resorts actually do not import this item at all and do not even have standard permits for import of this item. Resorts run by Villa, Jresorts, and Waheedudheen are all doing fine without this item. Import duty on this item can also be waived and import and regulation can also be outsourced.
- The monuments have done lots of political damage to MDP and also there is no denying the fact that issue has been politicized beyond repair. So it needs to go and the sooner its removed the better for everyone.
- Apologizing for Ms Pilley’s remarks by the administration or by the president is neither politically tenable nor beneficial since it wont change the facts. There is also some fact that most of what she has said, has been taken out of context and bloated for political reasons.
- The call to revoke decision to grant operating license to Israeli airliner El Al has merits on moral grounds as Israel continues to defy international opinion on working to establish peace in the region. This is nothing new and many countries and organizations do boycott of Israel in this line of thinking. In our situation we can afford to do this boycott because of our small size but most western countries cannot afford to confront this issue for historic reasons as well as the threat of being ostracized by the powerful pro-Zionist media .
- The big demo demand to ban massage parlors in inhabited islands was in fact a call to ban places of prostitution which goes by names such as massage parlors and beauty saloons etc. It definitely does not involve high end spas managed and run by resorts and its unfortunate that tourism ministry ordered to close spas at Paradise and Villa group’s resorts.