The People’s National Congress has accused the government of sacking opposition supporters from the civil service and state-owned enterprises.
Seven months into office, the new administration has been “penalising and sacking employees of state offices and companies based on their political beliefs,” the PNC alleged in a statement Sunday.
“This is despite the ruling party’s pledge that all state employees would have job security regardless of the party they support.”
President’s office spokesman Ibrahim Hood dismissed the allegations as unfounded and reiterated President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s assurance of non-discrimination.
“Someone might be sacked from a state company. I don’t know about that. The sacking must have met their HR criteria. However, the government does not have an agenda to sack employees based on their political leanings,” he told the Maldives Independent.
Former president Abdulla Yameen’s administration was accused of hiring ruling party members to state-owned companies and firing employees for attending opposition protests and political rallies. During the campaign for September’s presidential election, there were almost daily media reports of action against civil servants or staff at government companies who attended campaign events or welcomed the opposition candidate on island visits.
After assuming office in November, President Solih formed a ‘Presidential Action Committee’ to evaluate complaints of unfair dismissal for political reasons during the past five years.
More than 800 complaints were submitted by the end of March. The committee has since advised the president’s office to review the firing of 63 soldiers and police officers and to seek the reinstatement of about 100 people.
The courts and labour tribunal have also ordered the reinstatement of teachers, civil servants, police officers and soldiers in recent weeks.
Earlier this month, the tribunal ordered the reinstatement with backpay of two veteran teachers from Gaaf Alif Viligili island who were sacked for allegedly making political statements.
In late March, the civil court ordered the reinstatement of former corporal Ahmed Shaneez with nearly MVR200,000 (US$12,970) as compensation. He was among several soldiers and police officers who were sacked in the wake of the Supreme Court’s February 2018 order to release political prisoners.