Qasim Ibrahim, the leader of Jumhooree Party; a partner of the ruling coalition; has made statements that may be construed as a warning that voters who did not support the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) could be refused access to Aasandha, the state-funded public health scheme.
Qasim made these comments speaking at a campaign event held in Foakaidhoo (Shaviyani Atoll) to gain support for Mohamed "Rado" Rasheed, the MDP's candidate for the recently-vacated Komandoo parliamentary seat. He said that the person giving out Aasandha support would "love the MDP, be loyal to the MDP, love the current government, and be faithful to President Solih".
"How can you be so sure, then, that you would fulfill all the requirements for Aasandha support so easily?" he said. "Do you think that 'this-and-that' wouldn't be done and that you would not be passed off?"
Therefore, said Qasim, there was nothing to be won by "slapping the MDP in the face". Even now, he said, the government was running projects worth "several millions" at Komandoo, and that there were several more projects to come. Therefore, the people of the constituency should demonstrate that they were with the government by electing the MDP's candidate "by a large margin".
Qasim devoted much time to praising President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and his sincerity. He said that President Solih would be displeased to see support for the government decline at this point in time.
Qasim has not been attending Majlis sessions since the outbreak of COVID-19 after he was classified as being at high risk. Many have criticised Qasim's decision to travel to Komandoo, while continuing to shirk his duties at Majlis, especially as the Maldives faces a possible fourth wave of the pandemic; roughly a thousand people are tested positive for the virus per day. Others have claimed that Qasim had been forced by the government to travel.
Villa Pvt Ltd, Qasim's company, is currently in the process of leasing two uninhabited islands.