Leaked screenshots of President Abdulla Yameen admonishing ruling party lawmakers on the messaging platform Viber went viral Wednesday night.
The leaks from the official Viber group of the Progressive Party of Maldives parliamentary group showed Majority Leader Ahmed Nihan announce the formation of two committees comprised of four senior lawmakers and three ministers to liaise between MPs and government agencies.
The announcement prompted several complaints about having to inquire with fellow MPs about development projects and other matters concerning their constituencies.
MPs Ahmed Assad and Asma Rasheed said they would not “beg” or “chase after” the senior lawmakers and MP Ahmed Amir from the PPM’s coalition partner Maldives Development Alliance accused an unnamed committee member of discriminating among lawmakers.
MPs Hussain Manik Dhon Manik said Mohamed Shahid concurred with MP Jaufar Dawood that similar committees formed in the past were ineffective.
“So many complaints. Don’t do this,” Yameen wrote in reply.
Yameen became angered when MPs continued to air grievances despite appeals from Nihan and MP Abdul Raheem Abdulla. “The government has done nothing for any MP. The government has done nothing for the development of the constituencies,” he said.
Yameen then declared that he was leaving the group and asked MP Ibrahim Falah to remove him.
Falah, the parliamentary group’s deputy leader, was named among the four-member liaison committee along with MPs Dr Abdulla Khaleel, the PPM’s secretary general, MP Ali Arif, and MP Muaz Mohamed Rasheed. The ministerial committee includes Economic Development Minister Mohamed Saeed, Housing Minister Dr Mohamed Muizz, and President’s Office State Minister Mohamed Mujthaz.
The incident came in the wake of the apparent collapse of Yameen’s previously unassailable pro-government majority in parliament. On Monday, ten PPM MPs joined the opposition to move a no-confidence motion against the speaker with 45 signatures from the 85-member house.
According to previous leaks from the PPM MPs’ Viber group, dissent and disunity have been growing within the parliamentary group with several openly criticising government policies.
Wednesday’s leaks were meanwhile widely reported and its authenticity has not been disputed. The screenshots were also widely shared on social media with the president’s plea to be removed from the chat group drawing ridicule and quickly becoming a meme among Maldivians.
I love how he tried to get out for less than a minute, couldn't figure it out, and just ordered it to happen. 🙌🏽
— Aryj (@Arrryj) July 6, 2017
Maldives is the only country where the current president is held hostage on a chat app.
— Musal (@FoniLunbo) July 5, 2017
Need a Falah in my life to remove me from awkward and unwanted situations #FalahPlz
— Mariyam Shafa Rameez (@ShafaRameez) July 5, 2017
Pz remove me
It's pain m going through 😂🎶
— Khadhy (@Khadhdhie) July 5, 2017
Plzzz remove me 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/tTRRSDS7L5
— Mariee 🎈 (@mariee0911) July 5, 2017