As public discontent simmers over the allocation of the first 4,000 flats under the Gedhoruveriya housing scheme, President-elect Dr Mohamed Muizzu has called for a suspension of the handover process. With his administration set to take office in a matter of days, the president-elect’s spokesperson, Mohamed Firuzul Abdulla Khaleel, echoed the urgency of this pause during a recent press briefing.

This development follows a series of events where public grievances reached a fever pitch after the Ministry of National Planning, Housing, and Infrastructure (MNPHI) published the list of flat recipients. Suspicions of collusion and irregularities in the awarding mechanism spurred the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to direct a freeze on the issuance of these flats pending an investigation.

Khaleel highlighted the diminishing public confidence in the flat allocation process and cautioned against hurried actions in the final days of the transition. He underscored the incoming government’s commitment to rectifying any discrepancies and ensuring that the process is transparent and fair. This stance supports the ACC’s advice and resonates with the president-elect’s appeal to halt the handover of agreements or flats.

Reiterating the president-elect’s promise, Firuzul assured that the new administration would address any violations of regulations discovered during the evaluation process. He affirmed that while the current applications would not be cancelled, due action would be taken against any malpractices found.

The call to action comes on the heels of published lists in the Government Gazette, where recipients of the two and three-bedroom flats were required to have scores of 73 and 76 points, respectively. This scoring system has been at the heart of public outcry, with allegations that the system favoured certain individuals, including those with connections to the government and their family members.

The latest move by the president-elect to delay the handover appears to be a measure to prevent further escalation of the situation and to safeguard the integrity of the housing scheme. With the ACC’s investigation underway, the new administration’s approach to handling this situation will likely set the tone for the government’s future dealings with social housing projects.