Fayyaz Ismail, leader of the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), has issued a warning to the Mohamed Muizzu administration, stating that if the MDP were to secure a majority in the forthcoming parliamentary elections or win the subsequent presidential election, it would instigate comprehensive investigations into the Muizzu administration’s “unfair dismissals” of staff from state utility companies, namely the State Electric Company (STELCO) and FENAKA Corporation.

In an interview with local media outlet Adhadhu, Ismail declared that the MDP would prioritise investigations into the dismissal of staff members from state-owned utility companies. He alleged that the Muizzu administration is dismissing staff they perceive to be MDP supporters. “The issue arises when staff are dismissed based on their political allegiance rather than the expiration of their contracts,” Ismail stated.

Ismail cited the dismissal of utility company staff on Maalhos Island, Alifu Alifu Atoll, who were allegedly dismissed for receiving former Vice President Faisal Naseem during a visit to the island. Ahmed Latheef, the manager of the STELCO powerhouse in Maalhos, was dismissed from his post for greeting Naseem, Ismail stated. He added that the manager of the STELCO powerhouse in Maabaidhoo, Laamu Atoll, was sacked under similar circumstances.

“Disturbing incidents are happening within these companies. Staff in senior positions face demotion or dismissal based on unfounded accusations of supporting the MDP,” Ismail stated. The Muizzu administration has dismissed over 1,000 employees from STELCO and FENAKA Corporation to date, he estimated. In response to these dismissals, the MDP has decided to provide legal counsel to the dismissed staff.

The MDP notes that these mass layoffs, not due to underperformance or misconduct, but for having different political views, are serious violations of the fundamental rights of employees. The party perceives this as a calculated move on the political chessboard by the Muizzu administration in an attempt to tip the scales in their favour in the upcoming parliamentary vote and a manoeuvre designed to exert undue political influence.

“If we secure a parliamentary majority, and if there is a change in government, if we secure the presidency in 2028, our highest priority will be to investigate the actions of the managing directors of STELCO and FENAKA Corporation,” Ismail warned.

The former economic minister further stated that Parliament is already working to address these “unlawful dismissals.” He added that Parliament is the only barrier preventing Muizzu from veering away from the democratic principles.

Both the MDP and the ruling People’s National Congress (PNC) are vying for a majority in the upcoming parliamentary election on 21 April.