The Daily Panic

This Week in Maldives: November 20

Because I skipped a week, and yet Maldives continues to rapidly spiral down the drain pipe, this week I look at the budget, and the miraculous redemption of all Gasims. These are short takes on the headlines of the week gone by.

Both US and Maldives headed by economists, says MP Nihan

PPM parliamentary majority group leader and actual (sometimes-) grey haired adult Ahmed Nihan posted this on twitter after the Trump win:

It is becoming increasingly clear to me that MP Ahmed Nihan doesn’t know what the term ‘economist’ means. 

If you’re reading this, Nihan, an ‘economist’ does not mean someone who has a lot of money.  An economist is a person who can plot out and describe the complex relation between the entire GDP and, say, a banana.

(Oh relax. Nihan can’t read.)

Finance minister presents MVR 26.7 billion budget for 2017

The finance minister, whose name I forgot by the time I switched the browser tab, has forecast a revenue of MVR 21 billion – about two thirds of which would be generated from taxes.

The taxes include something called a ‘congestion tax’. It is a strange tax to levy for a government that has a stated policy of depopulating remote atolls, and moving everyone to this already overcrowded piece of land.

It does not, however, include an income tax. Because that would mean rich people would have to pay. 🙁

The budget also earmarks funds for what is probably the world’s most expensive 25 storey building, and four domestic airports – none of which are in Maafannu, so I can’t get behind it.

Another interesting tidbit from the budget: we now pay 8.5 billion in recurring expenditure on salaries for civil servants and state employees. This figure will no doubt add to the frustration I feel next time I walk into a government office.

Environment agency under fire for approving plan to blast reefs

To be fair, this is apparently a project initiated by the environmental hero President Nasheed’s government. But I am told that there are more polite ways to dredge a channel through a reef than exploding it with dynamite.

Today’s challenge: Look up again and try not to picture a certain Presidential speedboat in this image. You lose.

An EPA source apparently told the media that they had “no choice” but to approve the dynamite blasts, because the Environment Ministry insisted.

Because that’s how independent institutions work.

Ex-defence minister charged with terrorism

Jesus Christ, I thought, when I first read this headline. Does it always have to be terrorism?  Surely, there’s got to be more than one provision in the entire penal code that the regime can use to go after political opponents?

But then I read the article. In this case, Ameen Faisal has been charged with terrorism for detaining then MP, and current presidential nuisance Abdulla Yameen himself.

Yeah. Sorry, Mr Faisal. That’s, like, super terrorism.

Yameen did not win elections; PPM’s ideology and principles did, says Gayoom

Strange. I could have sworn it read ‘Abdulla Yameen’ and not ‘PPM’s ideology and principles’ on the ballot. I’m fairly certain the constitution doesn’t even allow abstract ideas and organizations to run for the Presidency.

That’s just a minor nitpick though.

It was indeed PPM’s ideology and principles – so marvelously upheld by the SC and police throughout the 2013 elections – which ultimately installed the guy in power. It is also PPM’s principles and ideology that’s keeping him there today.

Again, I’m not sure what Gayoom is complaining about.

Whistleblower released after detention exceeds jail sentence

With his unwavering courage and integrity, whisteblower Gasim Abdul Kareem has finally made many Maldivians proud to be Maldivians.

He has also finally provided a reason for other Gasims to be proud of being Gasims.

Too long has Seytu besmirched the Gasim name. For too long has one man made Gasim synonymous with greed, corruption, fickleness and some embarrassing Laura-ness.

No more. From this day, thanks to this anti-corruption hero, Gasims can once again walk proudly with their heads held high.

As a Yameen, I can empathize.

Gasim Ibrahim denies role in no-confidence motion against speaker

What did I tell you? Fickle sonofabitch*mumble**grumble*

Ex-pres Nasheed protests against Heathrow Airport expansion

Ingireysi vilaathuge airport ingireysinnah, he purportedly said in an excited moment. </3

Menk pledges aid in curbing religious extremism in Maldives

Mufti Menk is an oddball. This African mufti is annoyingly happy all the time, and advises people to be helpful and humble on social media.

His sermons are peppered with jokes, and he possesses a pleasant smiling demeanour – unlike our regular Maldivian mullahs who seem to constantly be raging mad at the world for some unknown reason.

How does someone so seemingly jovial and good-humoured get a preaching license? I had no choice but to google this.

After a few online searches, I am now convinced that he indeed almost flunked Mullah school for being far too pleasant – but was redeemed at the last minute when called homosexuals “filthy” and “worse than animals”.

Although he probably said that too with a winning smile.

Maldives pays $271m in damages to India’s GMR

There were actual celebratory comments by regime apologists over this announcement. “We can make this money back in the long term”, they insisted.

Yeah. I suppose we could.

But see, if we didn’t have to pay the $271 million, and didn’t have to borrow $800 million on top of that, we’d still have all of that money AND the money we were going to make in the future anyway.

And we wouldn’t be $800 million in debt.

But what do I know. I’m no economist.

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