This analysis is related to the population and the culture of Maldives. Everything that makes up this country is discussed in this analysis. What makes Maldives who they are, from culture backgrounds, history of how they have been ruled, languages, populations, culture, religion, trade details of what the country does to make everything come together.
This analysis even describes into detail how the country, was formed, what islands border Maldives, even transportation to getting around the country, from local individuals to tourists. This country has so many dynamic attributes that makes it what it is today. Maldives work ethics are even aligned with most United Nation countries. Maldives, natural resources are very distinguished of what they use, and feed on, and what grows on their land, depending on their geographical settings. Maldives social institutions are very influential and strict in family households, and in social outings as well. Men and Women ethical roles in the household are much the same as western and eastern cultures, but men suffer a lot with this.
The Maldives is a country full of history and soul. During this cultural analysis, the history, geography, social institutions, religion and aesthetics, living conditions, language, and negotiation styles will be evaluated and discussed.
Foreign Country’s Relevant History
Maldives was ruled by kings all the time, and occasionally queens were allowed to rule. Besides their specific ruling, Maldives has a very unique and very important positioning in their location, where they reside. Maldives had routes of the Indian Ocean. Maldives nearest neighbors, that also helped in trading purposes, cultural, and economic ties, are Sri Lanka, and India. The Maldives provided the main source of cowrie shells, which are, and were used as an exchange of money, which is similar to coin money, and other forms of money as well. They used this type of currency throughout Asia and parts of the East African coast.
Maldives is located south of Sri lanka and India on the Indian Ocean. Without knowing what the country is surrounded by, you would never be able to find it on the map, it is very small. Maldives is a member of the United Nations, as well as an independent country. The country is surrounded by water, and every island is disconnected from others, due to the water. The Maldives has a year-round hot tropical climate, with many rainfalls, and hot humid climates. The southwest part of maldives carries the most wind and rain, especially in the months of June and July. The temperature rarely falls below 77 degrees fahrenheit.
The topography of maldives is very important in their geographical setting. They have flat series of coral atolls, which are ring round shaped. These corals usually form over old rotted volcanos. Surrounded by the coral reefs, there are sand bars close by. Maldives is full of coral reefs, sand bars, wetlands.
The social dynamics of the Maldives incorporates the characteristics of their Muslim religion and traditional family roles. The family is considered the basic unit of society. Roughly 80 percent of the Maldivian households consist of a single nuclear family composed of a married couple and their children rather than an extended family. Specific to the maldives is that unmarried adults remain with relatives instead of moving out on their own or obtaining roommates, such as done in eastern and western cultures. Though the main religion in the Maldives is Muslim women have traditionally fairly high status. Such as, women do not accept their husband’s last name but maintain their maiden name, are not forced to wear a veil, and have the right to the inheritance of property. Though women do not wear veils or remain strictly secluded, they are separated from males in public places such as stadiums and mosques and have limited participation/ presence in government. Males are considered head of the household and descent is patrilineal.
Marriages in the Maldives are not arranged but must be between Muslims. The law states that the legal age for marriage is eighteen and that sex before marriage is illegal and a very punishable offense. This is broken by about half of the women, and is usually seen in women married at the age of 15. The law allows a man to have up to four wives at any given time, as long as his is financially responsible and supportive. This is not very common for Maldivians. Sadly, the Maldives has a high divorce rate as the law makes it easy for both men and women to apply for divorce. During a census, it was found that about fifty percent of the females over thirty had been married more than four times.
Within the home and in society, women face little discrimination in basic aspects of life (education, health, and survival) but women are not considered equal to men and the development of a more inclusive society is not expected. For women are allowed to work, but is limited to low level jobs, women are expected to participate in a more traditional role as the caregiver and household management. Whereas men are expected to provide for his family, be the decision maker, and maintain traditional family roles. In recent years, there has been a surge of resistance against traditional roles and men have struggled with this breakdown. Unemployment is high in young men, leading them to feel alienated from society. Leading more and more young men to participation in gangs, drug use, and violence (El-Horr & Rohini, 2016). The Maldives are experiencing a change in male and female roles in family and society, but it seems to be at a standstill as public support is declining.
Education expenditures make up 4.3% of GDP for the Maldives and is 26th in world ranking (CIA). In the Maldives primary education is available to everyone both male and female. Though only males are eligible to access secondary and higher education. The lack of education available to women is based on the belief about women’s mobility in society and primacy of household roles over others (El-Horr & Rohini, 2016). Literacy rates are defined as age 15 and over can read and write, 99.8% of males are literate where 98.8% of females are considered literate (CIA,2018). The role of education in society places a high need for primary education, a need for literacy, and basic math to survive for both men and women. It is expected for men to continue education through secondary education into higher education or applying for a trade as society considers men to be the main provider for the household.
The Republic of the Maldives is a constitutional presidential republic government. The government is considered a constitutional democracy consisted of six parties for presidential elections and three branches of government. The three branches of government include: executive, legislative, and judicial. The six political parties include: Adhaalath (Justice) Party or AP [Sheikh Imran ABDULLA], Maldives Development Alliance or MDA [Ahmed Shiyam MOHAMED], Maldivian Democratic Party or MDP [Hassan LATHEEF, chairperson], Progressive Party of Maldives or PPM [Abdulla YAMEEN], Progressive Party of Maldives or PPM – Gayoom faction [Maumoon Abdul GAYOOM], Republican (Jumhooree) Party or JP [Qasim IBRAHIM] (CIA,2018).
The Republic of the Maldives branches of government are very similar to the United States as each branch performs checks and balances of power. This is important in maintaining a fair democracy. The Executive branch consists of the President or Chief of State, President Ibrahim Mohamed SOLIH who was elected into office September 23rd of 2018, and Vice President Abdulla JIHAD, who was elected June 21st of 2016, and the cabinet. The President is considered both the Chief of State and head of government. The Presidency is directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in two rounds of voting, if needed, for a five year term (CIA,2018). Presidents are eligible for two terms in office. The cabinet is appointed by the President but needs to be approved by Parliament first.
The Legislative branch consists of the unicameral Parliament or People’s Majilis (CIA,2018). Compared to the United States Legislative branch, the Maldives only has one house. The People’s Majilis contains 85 seats for members who are directly elected in single-seat constituencies, through simple majority vote (CIA,2018). These members will serve five year terms and there is no restriction on the amount of repeat terms.
The Judicial branch consists of the highest court Supreme Court and subordinate courts: high court; criminal, civil, family, juvenile, drug court and magistrate courts on each of the inhabited islands (CIA,2018). The legal system for the Maldives is considered Islamic law, with influences of English common law in primarily commercial matters. “Supreme Court judges appointed by the president in consultation with the Judicial Service Commission – a separate 10-member body of selected high government officials and the public – and upon confirmation by voting members of the People’s Majlis; judges serve until mandatory retirement at age 70” (CIA,2018). As of February the Supreme Court only has four judges presiding as the chief justice and one other justice were arrested and imprisoned for terrorism following former President Yameen’s declaration of State of Emergency.
The current state of stability for the government seems to be under scrutiny as in February of 2018 the Maldives entered into a State of Emergency. Due to a showdown within the country’s Supreme Court- the court lifted criminal convictions against nine of the Presidents opponents. In March, the state of emergency was lifted after 45 days. During that time former President, Yameen’s half brother and 2 Supreme Court judges were arrested and charged with terrorism in attempt to overthrow the government. The government seems to be in distress and its system of check and balances are not stable or balanced as the President has more power to bend at his will. Following the election of President Solih, there is hope that he will correct Yameen’s wrongs and bring order back.
The Maldives currently do not have personal income taxes, though bank profits and business profits are taxed by the government. Tourism has such a high impact on the Maldives economy, it makes sense to enact a tax on the tourism sector. A goods and services tax on the tourism sector, and a general goods and services tax came into effect in 2011 under the Business Profit Tax Act. A non-resident owner or charterer of a ship or aircraft may be exempt from the tax if the Commissioner General of Taxation of Maldives is satisfied that a reciprocal treatment for business profit tax or any other similar tax is granted by the taxpayer’s country of residence to a Maldivian-resident taxpayer. For business importing goods or products into the Maldives, can use the Business Profit Act to their advantage if they are sure they will be able to provide taxes elsewhere, potentially in production. The Maldives have also only signed one double taxation avoidance treaty, that is limited to a multilateral agreement between members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). This agreement is to combat against double taxation in trade and mutual assistance in tax matters.
The role of local government is important to each atoll or island. Local government is divided administratively into 20 districts or atoll headed by a government-appointed verin, or chief. The chief acts as a District Officer. On each inhabited island an Khatib, or headman, also government-appointed, carries out orders of the government under the supervision of the atoll chief. The Khatib would be considered the law enforcement in the Maldives. Due to the geographical spread of the Maldives it is important to have strong, secure local governments in place to enforce the rulings of the government.
As of now, the Maldives do not have any legislation enacted to protect Intellectual Property Rights. To combat this there is sufficient trademark protection offered by the government (Selvam, 2018). The Maldives is experiencing economic growth and in order to protect the country and government there has been a recent push to create legislation for Intellectual Property Rights. The creation of such legislation allows for economic growth and opportunity for locals to protect their goods and services and increase jobs available.
Business potential is high for the Maldives as the islands do not supply the country with many resources so imports are high. Business is conducted in the morning, and maintains an informal business attitude (World Travel Guide, 2018). This includes dress attire, most business is conducted in short sleeved shirts and tie with lightweight pants. It is important to note that office hours are Sunday- Thursday 7:30 am – 2:30 pm and Friday and Saturday are official rest days. The best way to stay in contact is through phone, internet, and media.
Religion and Aesthetics
In the Maldives, Islam is the official and enforced religion. Every citizen of this country must be a Muslim. Maldivians classify as Sunni Muslims and have practiced Islam since the twelfth century. This practice is a requirement for citizenship of the country. The practice of any other faith is considered forbidden and is a punishable offense. The Government of the Maldives is dedicated to protecting and preserving the true Islamic values. Religious freedom is not something currently seen or predicted to happen in the future. Visitors of this country are the only exceptions to the religious rule. They may practice whatever religion they prefer as long as it is in private and not seen.
The most important and valued day of the week for Muslims is Friday, therefore Maldivians can be found in mosques around 12:30pm and the various offices and shops will close around 11am to allow time. During a normal day in the Maldives, prayer sessions are held as many as 5 times. The towns and villages have a recording that plays for the citizens to ensure they are praying when required and announce the time. Again, the offices and shops will close for about 15 minutes after each call.
Another common practice for Muslims and Maldivians is Ramadan. During the ninth month and daylight hours, fasting occurs for the citizens. Restaurants will not even be open during this time. Even when not fasting, pork products and alcohol cannot be consumed by Maldivians. The law prohibits importation of these products unless for tourists and visitors at resorts. It is even considered against the law if someone offers a citizen of the Maldives alcohol. You can find Maldivians wearing charms and chanting spells to defend against evil spirits. These spirits are called Jinns and the belief in them is widespread across the Maldives.
Christianity is pretty much the only other religion or belief that has any influence on the citizen of the Maldives. The public practice of Christianity if not prohibited and there are many cases of the authorities detaining and arresting Christians. Some of the Christians were in prison for up to four months. The government usually catches them by conducting unannounced home searches. They will confiscated any possessions that relate to the practice of other religions. The government will force anyone imprisoned for religious reasons to read the Koran as well as practice their daily prayers.
The communities of the Maldives are close and tight knit. This is because of the strict religious beliefs, unity, and the common adherence to the faith. The communities are very involved in supporting each other and spending time together. This has even helped to keep drug and crime rates low.