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Maldives under Majlis rule 1954-1957
Compiled from various sources including Ibrahim Shihab's 'The Reign of Sultan Mohamed Fareed, a historical perspective' and the writings of Abdul Hakeem Hussein Manik
2009



In March 1954, the son of the deceased Abdul Majeed, Mohamed Fareed becomes king of Maldives at the age of 53. Ibrahim Ali Didi is appointed prime minister.

The Ministry of Education is created by the majlis, and the voting age (for men only) is lowered from 25 to 21 years.

In July, the majlis rescinds many of the laws passed by Mohamed Ameen including the ban on tobacco imports and the chopping of hands as punishment.

The first budget submitted to the majlis in November. The debt to Ceylon is now less than Rf500,000.

1955 Ibrahim Nasir, Mohamed Zaki, Ahmed Did (Maajehige) and Kolige Umar Manik are appointed to cabinet.

In July, the Majlis decides the new Maldivian government has no responsibility for any crimes committed by Mohamed Ameen's government.

1956 Ceylon P.M. Bandaranaike refuses to allow the British to keep their military bases in Trincomalee and Katunayake. The British complete a full survey of a proposed military project on Addu atoll.

In June, Ibrahim Nasir becomes minister for public order and safety.

In December, without consulting the majlis or cabinet, King Mohamed Fareed and Prime Minister Ibrahim Ali Didi sign a initial agreement with British to accept 2,000 pounds for a 100 year lease for an airfield in Gan island on Addu, and a radio communications station in Hithadhoo island on the same atoll.

Soon afterwards, British representative Cruikshank arrives in Male' and promises the British are going to help the Maldivian economy. He promises to motorise the main government ship and to provide investment in the fishing industry. Cruishank begins a serious investigation of the economic state of Maldives and he counts the number of printed banknotes.

Ibrahim Mohamed Didi leads the opposition to any sharing of economic information with the British, but Ibrahim Ali Didi wants to co-operate fully with them. Ibrahim Mohamed Didi has been ill, and when he leaves for treatment in Ceylon, Ibrahim Nasir becomes treasurer and deputy police minister.

1957 The British begin construction of a military base on Gan island in Addu atoll, southern Maldives, before the Maldivian majlis has ratified the agreement. The company Richard Costain Ltd moves heavy machinery into Addu. Male' cabinet ministers defy Ibrahim Ali Didi and refuse to sign the agreement with the British High Commissioner. The estimated cost of project is two million pounds, and the two year contract had been awarded to Richard Costain Ltd. In March, Ceylon P.M. Bandaranaike, half joking, claims Maldives may be considered a dependency of Ceylon. However, the Ceylon Constitution Order in Council specifically excludes Maldives as a dependency of Ceylon.

In Male', the ministry of education announces that some Arabic letters are being dropped from the Thaana alphabet and replaced with new Dhivehi consonants.

Allan Villiers' account of visit to Male' appears in National Geographic. The capital has no regular steamship or air links. King Mohamed Fareed has a small automobile and there are two light trucks for handing cargo. A motorship in Male' harbour is commanded by a former German submarine commander. In Dhoonidhoo island near Male', there is a 'spacious bungalow, a hard tennis court (put there Villiers was told, by the staff of a Royal Air Force radio station during WW2), and the remains of an American amphibian aircraft.'

During October, an epidemic of Asian flu affects over fifty percent of the 800-900 Gan islanders awaiting permanent resettlement to make way for the new base.

Ibrahim Ali Didi faces hostile reception on Addu from hundreds of Gan islanders when he tells them they cannot move to their preferred new island of Gan in Huvadhu atoll. They learn they must resettle in adjacent Feydhoo and Maradhoo. Island women refuse to allow Ibrahim Ali Didi to land on Feydhoo and pelt him with water, stones and coconut husks.

Ibrahim Ali Didi resigns after a Male' mob surrounds his house in December, and the majlis nominates thirty-one year old Ibrahim Nasir as the new chief minister.





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