Apologize if anyone got offended: MP Saleem

Parliament Member of Hoarafushi constituency and chair of Parliament’s Committee on Environment and Climate Change, Ahmed Saleem | Photo: Majlis

Malé, Maldives – Member of Parliament for Hoarafushi constituency Ahmed Saleem, has apologized to those who had been offended by his degrading remarks on the Maldivian Civil Servants.

In a tweet he posted, MP Saleem said that he had highlighted their critical role in building the nation if anyone had listened to his speech in parliament and that if anyone had been offended that he apologizes to it.

Speaking at the Parliament on Wednesday regarding a bill to amend the Civil Service Act, Saleem said that those working in Civil Service “cannot talk about and write about what ever they want” and “should shut up from the moment the work contract is signed, until in the grave.”

The person working in Civil Service is someone who has to live by a certain limit, certain code of conduct and a certain discipline. Can’t write what ever they want. Can’t say what ever they want. The individual is a faceless person according to experts. The individual is a voiceless person. The person has to shut up from the moment the work contract is signed, util in the grave. Can’t write what ever they want on Facebook. Can’t talk whatever they want where ever they want. That’s a professional person. 

The moment they sign their Civil Service agreements, they are consenting that they have no issue with the freedom of speech they are granted by the constitution being taken away. The individual agrees to this. They are people who know extra information about the office. More than what the general public would know. The privilege is there. With that, there are standards to which they should abide by.

How many Civil Servants among us are able to uphold the value of their profession? Even this morning I received a post on Facebook by a Civil Servant, supporting a specific political candidate. They cannot! With such things happening again and again, it ends up diminishing the confidence regarding the services of the government.

Ahmed Saleem, Member of the Parliament, Hoarafushi constituency, Maldives

With this, a social media uproar has taken over the Maldives with a tsunami of criticism aimed towards Saleem. Many argue that much like any other member of the public, those working in Civil Service too, shall be able to exercise their freedom of speech. Others questioned in anger, whether those working in Civil Service are indeed “servants” and are not deserving of basic human rights.

More posts aimed at Saleem on social media exclaimed that Saleem himself was elected with the votes of those working in Civil Service and that even his salary is being paid by the tax money of those working in the institution.

In response to Saleem’s comments, Maldives Health Professional’s Union issued a statement saying that “The freedom of speech granted for Maldivians by the constitution of the country cannot be narrowed down under any circumstance.”