Maldives 'considering' complete ban of alcohol and pork

Hussain Fiyaz Moosa, Haveeru News Service
Dec 28, 2011 - 08:43 8 comments
  • Press Secretary and the President's Office Mohamed Zuhair speaks during the press conference held at the President's Office on December 27, 2011. HAVEERU PHOTO/ NASRULLA SOLIH

The government yesterday revealed its plan to completely ban alcohol and pork in the Maldives following the demands made by religious protestors on Friday.

The President's Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair told journalists that the government is considering imposing a nationwide ban on alcohol and pork in response to the demands made by religious protestors on Friday.

"As you are aware of, more than 400 locals are living in some large resorts whereas the population of an island consists of only 200-300. Therefore, the government is looking into ways to completely ban the sale of alcohol and pork throughout the Maldives," he said.

Five demands were put forward at the protest organised by the civil society coalition and opposition parties on Friday.

The demands include removing the SAARC monuments in Addu, condemning UN human rights chief Navi Pillay's comments about Islamic Sharia, not allowing Israeli airlines to operate flights, closing down the brothels in Male and a reversed decision on declaring areas of inhabited islands uninhabited in order to permit alcohol sales.

Zuhair said the government will close down massage parlours in the country as such places are suspected of being run as brothels.

"Those places are not operated with a special permission from the government, but the government has now begun inspecting and classifying those places," he said.

Zuhair noted that the government will not obstruct any decision made by Addu City Council to remove the SAARC monuments set up in Addu.

Referring to the demand made to President Mohamed Nasheed to condemn the comments made by UN human rights chief Navi Pillay in Maldives, Zuhair said no controversial statements were made during the "courtesy call" she paid to the President.

He said the parliament could only respond to the comments she made at the parliament on flogging of women convicted of extra-marital sex, as the government did not arrange her to speak at the parliament.

The Press Secretary further stressed that the businessmen involved in the tourism sector will have to play a major role in preventing Israeli national airline from commencing operations to the Maldives.

"When tourists want to come they will first book the resort before booking the airline and if the resorts cancel their bookings they will not come to the Maldives. The airline will stop operations because it cannot run the business if there won't be any passengers to travel," he said.

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