MFA advises Singaporeans to defer travel to the Maldives amid political crisis

Maldivian police standing guard near the headquarters of the opposition Maldives Democratic Party after a state of emergency was declared, on Feb 6, 2018.
Maldivian police standing guard near the headquarters of the opposition Maldives Democratic Party after a state of emergency was declared, on Feb 6, 2018.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has issued a travel advisory for Singaporeans travelling to the Maldives, advising them to defer travel to the country.

In its advisory, MFA noted that the government of the South Asian island nation has declared a state of emergency for 15 days from Feb 5.

"Security forces have been deployed in Male due to ongoing political developments," said MFA. "In view of the unstable situation in the Maldives, Singaporeans are advised to defer all non-essential travels to the Maldives until the situation stabilises."

MFA added that Singapore has no diplomatic representation in the Maldives, which constrains its ability to extend consular assistance in an emergency.

As for Singaporeans who are already in the Maldives, MFA strongly advised them to exercise vigilance and take all necessary precautions for their personal safety, including to monitor the news closely and heed the instructions of the local authorities.

"You should avoid protests and large public gatherings. You should also purchase comprehensive travel insurance and be familiar with the terms and coverage," said MFA.

It urged Singaporeans to eRegister with the ministry and to stay in touch with family and friends.

 

Those in need of consular assistance may contact the MFA Duty Office by e-mail at mfa_duty_officer@mfa.gov.sg or call the numbers +65 6379 8800/8855.

The Maldives plunged into crisis last week after the Supreme Court quashed terrorism convictions against nine leading opposition figures including the country's exiled, first democratically elected president, Mr Mohamed Nasheed.

Having defied the court ruling to release the detainees, President Abdulla Yameen declared an emergency on Monday and ordered security forces to seize control of the court and arrest the chief justice and another judge.

Maldives is a popular tourist destination - nearly 1.4 million foreigners visited the Maldives last year, up from 1.28 million the previous year.

Airlines such as Singapore Airlines, Scoot and AirAsia operate direct flights from Singapore to Maldives.