A Facebook post by a deputy minister wishing that former President Mohamed Nasheed’s plane out of Malé last night would land in the middle of the ocean has sparked outrage. Opposition supporters are now lodging complaints at the telecoms company Dhiraagu which is chaired by the deputy minister.
Mohamed Ashmalee, the state minister for finance and treasury and chairman of Dhiraagu, posted a comment on Facebook saying he hoped Nasheed would not return to the Maldives following his temporary release for medical care in the UK. He called Nasheed a convicted terrorist, and described the drama around Nasheed’s departure as a “media stunt.”
“Please go and never come back. Land in the middle of the ocean,” he said.
Opposition supporters retaliated by calling for Ashmalee’s resignation. Some even called for a Dhiraagu boycott and urged the public to switch over to its competitor Ooredoo.
— Ɯir Zaag (MG) ♻ (@MirzaagMV) January 19, 2016
How do you feel using a service of a company whose chairman is a maniac, wants to crash a plane with over 200 passengers? #BoycottDhiraagu
— Amr (@HusenAmr) January 19, 2016
— Azu (@AzuAisha) January 19, 2016
just called @DHIRAAGU 123 and file complaint against Ashmalee. everybody please do the same
— Thayyib – Free RN (@thayyib) January 19, 2016
The state-owned company subsequently issued a statement saying it was saddened by the onslaught on social media.
“Personal views or comments expressed in public by Independent/Non-Executive Directors do not in any way reflect the views of Dhiraagu. We regret that such views or comments are being linked with Dhiraagu. We value all our customers,” the statement read
We are saddened by the recent posts on social media. Personal views expressed in public by Independent Directors… https://t.co/BebhusRD7P
— DHIRAAGU (@DHIRAAGU) January 19, 2016
Speaking to the Maldives Independent Ashmalee said he was being unfairly targeted by opposition activists.
“The post is a generalised comment I made in a one-to-one conversation on Facebook, it was taken out of context and was exaggerated in order to attack me,” he said.
Nasheed left the Maldives last night after spending more than 300 days in prison. His temporary release for medical care was secured after two days of high diplomatic drama and the intervention of top diplomats from the UK and the US.
Opposition supporters are jubilant over his temporary release.