Multiple 'misunderstandings': Blunders or excuses?

Housing Ministry recently revealed the social housing flats developed in Phase II of reclaimed suburbs Hulhumale will be handed over to its rightful recipients next month. The news brought much joy to the hundreds of people living in Male' city on rent, or in tight congested spaces, especially amid a pandemic. The thought of not having to pay extravagant rent for apartments within a few months and instead moving to a place that would eventually become their own kindled hope in the disheartened hearts of those who lost employment or were forced to move back to their hometowns due to the economic downturn that followed the pandemic. Many a people took to social media to express their elation.

However, the ministry recalled the announcement made by then-housing minister Aminath Athifa, and shattered the hopes and dreams of 7,000 families just as abruptly. As per the statement released by the ministry, the now-resigned minister told the parliament that the flats would be handed over in July 'due to a misunderstanding'. However, the ministry has not apologised to the public for the slipup, even though several people have expressed their anger and disappointment on the matter, and directed criticism at the government.

“When they [the current administration] came to us asking for votes, was it by mistake that they vowed to give us flats?," questioned a reader on the comments section of a local paper.

"What will the government do next under the guise of a 'misunderstanding'? Is it right to cause such a heartache? I will not vote for this administration even by mistake,” another individual expressed on Twitter.

The housing issue is the most prevalent issue in the Maldives that is linked to the interest of several people. Many are aware of the government's incapability to address the issue. The issue has become worse after the economic downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The complaints are numerous.

"After receiving the news of flats, we made several plans and had several discussions among the whole family. If we do not have to pay the currently high rent, it will save us a lot of money, and there will be much ease in life. It is really pitiful that such a confusion has occurred”, said an individual speaking to AVAS.

This is not the first time a senior official of the government in such a responsible position made such a blunder. Recently, a termination chit was sent to an employee working at Port Limited of Addu City stating that the employee criticised the government. However, the termination turned out to be due to an 'administrative error' according to the Managing Director of MPL.

If clearly stating that an employee had flouted the code of conduct and criticized two presidents as well as several other details as his 'reason for termination' is an administrative error, one would wonder just what other 'misapparehensions' are lined up, and what the 'errors' would end up costing the people of the country.