Male City Council on Tuesday requested the Information Commissioner’s Office and Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure to divulge information on how the government distributed flats from its first social housing project.
Over 15,000 people had applied to buy flats from the government’s first housing project in reclaimed suburb Hulhumale in 2014. The housing ministry had finally announced 661 applicants who are confirmed to receive flats last week. However, the ministry has withheld all personal information of the recipients or how points were allocated for applicants, revealing only the identification numbers of their application forms, which sparked public outrage as people called foul on flat distribution.
In a letter signed by Mayor Shifa Mohamed, the capital’s council told the housing ministry and Information Commissioner’s Office that circulating claims of flats being given to applicants who received fewer points over those applicants who received high marks are deeply concerning. As democratically elected councillors, Shifa stressed the importance of divulging such information to the council.
Mayor Shifa also requested the Information Commissioner’s Office to press upon the housing ministry to release the details on flat distribution to the public, under the Right to Information Act.
Amidst cries of injustice, Housing Minister Dr Mohamed Muizzu has firmly assured that the verification and distribution procedures were carried out fairly. He has repeatedly declared that the ministry decided to withhold information of recipients to protect the rights of both those who received flats and people who did not.
Meanwhile, a petition has been submitted to the parliament to probe the controversial flat distribution. Moreover, councillors and parliamentarians have attempted to meet with the housing minister to discuss concerns, but Dr Muizzu declined to see them. He had, however, met with two government representatives who also raised concerns regarding the issue.