In the face of mounting criticism, the ruling People’s National Congress (PNC) has issued a statement asserting that contentious remarks made by PNC member Ahmed Shareef Abdul Rahman Yoosuf were expressed in a personal capacity.

The party dismissed accusations made by the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) as unfounded and emphasised that individual opinions do not necessarily reflect the party’s position. The PNC further highlighted President Mohamed Muizzu’s policy of conducting political activities within the parameters of democratic principles and encouraging political participation for all.

The controversy revolves around Yoosuf’s alleged remarks at a campaign rally on Hinnavaru Island, Lhaviyani Atoll. He called on the government to exert its influence over employees of the Maldives Industrial Fisheries Company Ltd. (MIFCO) who do not align with the government’s stance.

Yoosuf also urged Fisheries Minister Ahmed Shiyam to request President Muizzu take punitive action against civil servants and employees of state-owned enterprises who do not support the incumbent president or PNC candidates.

These contentious remarks sparked widespread criticism on social media platforms, with critics arguing that such threats against state employees violate the law. Calls have been made for the Elections Commission (EC) to exercise its constitutional mandate and investigate these comments.

In response to the controversy, the MDP issued a statement, calling on the electoral body and other relevant agencies to investigate Yoosuf’s comments and take appropriate action.

The MDP has also been accusing the Muizzu administration of misusing state resources for its parliamentary campaign. The party alleges that President Muizzu’s recent visits to the islands, ostensibly carried out under the guise of official duties, are political rallies aimed at bolstering the prospects of his PNC in the forthcoming parliamentary elections. The administration denies the allegations.

Ahmed Easa, the Kendhikulhudhoo lawmaker and spokesperson for the MDP’s parliamentary campaign, alleged that President Muizzu had squandered MVR 100 million of state resources on these visits, characterising these actions as a misuse of state resources and taxpayer funds for personal gain.