Monday, November 19, 2018
Maldives News Bulletin, 06-07-2008
Issue No: 1159

President's Office instructs Government offices to decrease trips abroad

29th June: The President's Office has requested the Government offices to decrease the number of trips abroad this year.

According to a statement issued by the President's Office last Thursday, decreasing official trips abroad was one of the measures being taken to cut Government expenses. The statement said that only events abroad that Maldives was absolutely required to participate in or were funded by foreign sources would be exempt during the course of the year and even on these two occasions only the minimum amount of required personnel should go on the trips.

The new steps were being taken to cut Government expenditures since the rise in oil prices in the world market was adversely affecting market prices and the economy, the statement said.


STO, Medical Association team up for blood donation camp

29th June: State Trading Organization (STO) and the Maldives Medical Association (MMA) have joined forces and began a Donate Blood Campaign on Saturday.

The Scientific Secretary of MMA Dr. Aseel Jameel said that the aim of the blood donation camp was to donate blood to the Thalassemia Centre and Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital and to also create awareness about donating blood among the public.

"Donating blood is something that Maldives really needs," he said.

Jameel said that the camp was a one-day event that anyone who wished to donate blood could do so. In addition, those who wished to register as a blood donor could do so and arrangements had been made to donate blood via IGMH.

According to STO, noting down the names of those who wished to donate blood had begun last Tuesday and that 686 people had signed on. 170 people had donated blood in a similar campaign held last year by STO and MMA.


The Chairman of the Japan-Maldives Parliamentarian League calls on the President

29th June: The Chairman of the Japan-Maldives Parliamentarian League, Mr. Hosei Norota, called on the President last night.

In the meeting held at the Presidential Palace, the President noted the close relations existing between the Maldives and Japan and said that the formation of the Parliamentarian League will further strengthen these ties in future. He also said that the inauguration of the Maldivian Embassy in Tokyo has paved the way to further strengthen the bilateral ties.

The President noted the continued support and assistance of the Japanese government for the development of the country, especially their support and assistance to the education and environment sector. He also said that the passing of the new Constitution by the People's Majlis is a major step forward in his Reform Agenda. The President further said that the ratification process will be completed as soon as possible.

Speaking at the meeting, Mr. Norota highlighted the success of the President's Reform Agenda, and applauded the President for the initiatives taken via the Reform Agenda. He congratulated the President on the passing of the new Constitution by the Special Majlis. Mr. Norota also congratulated the President for Maldives' National Football Team winning the Trophy and Gold Medal at the SAFF Championship 2008.

The meeting was attended by the Minister for Presidential Affairs, Mr. Mohamed Hussain, Japanese Ambassador to the Maldives, Mr. Kiyoshi Araki, the Deputy Minister of President's Office, Dr. Hala Hameed, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms Dhunya Maumoon and the Executive Director at the Presidential Palace, Mr. Ismail Faiz.


The Maldives Once Again to Lead Discussion on Climate Change and Human Rights

29th June: A one day special event organized by the Permanent Mission of the Maldives in close collaboration with the UN Economic and Social Council is scheduled to be held at the United Nations in New York on 2 July 2008. This special event titled, 'Human Dimension of Global Climate Change: Addressing the Economic Social and Human Rights Implications", will be chaired by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, H. E. Mr. Abdulla Shahid, and will bring together distinguished speakers from the academic and diplomatic fields, including the World Bank, UNEP and IFRC.  Drawing the links between climate change and human rights has recently been a high priority initiative of the Maldives, and this event is a continuation of the efforts of the Maldives to give international precedence to climate change issues. This event is also aimed at building international momentum to the issues drawn on previously by the President of the Republic of Maldives, H. E. Mr. Maumoon Abdul Gayoom at different international fora and most recently at the Global Humanitarian Forum in Geneva. 

This important event aims to draw attention to the plight of developing countries, especially Least Developed Countries (LDC) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) most vulnerable to changes in the global climate. Climate change is now recognized as one of the greatest global challenges, threatening the homes and livelihoods of thousands of people across the world.

The event's panel includes the Lead Social Development Specialist of the World Bank, Mr. Andrew Norton who will present a statement on "understanding the social dimension of climate change," the Executive Director of UNEP, Mr. Achim Steiner who will discuss the "role of UN in addressing the social and economic impacts of climate change, "Director of Environmental Law at Pace University, USA, Professor Nicholas Robinson whose presentation will be on "human rights and climate change," and Senior Representative on Tsunami Operation at IFRC, Mr. Jerry Talbot will give a statement on the "humanitarian experience of natural disasters".

The Maldives is one of the most vulnerable countries, and has called into question the future of sustainable development and human survival unless urgent international action is taken immediately.  The November 2007 Conference that led to the establishment of the Male' Declaration on the Human Dimension of Global Climate Change, and the subsequent UN Resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council in March 2008, formally recognized the relationship between human rights and climate change, and is a testament to the efforts of the Maldives to gain international support to its cause.

This New York event will seek to shed light, in a holistic manner, on the social and human impact of climate change. It will also offer an opportunity for an exchange of views on how this important dimension of the climate change effect could be considered in the post-Bali negotiations and heighten the moral and ethical imperative to take decisive action.


The Mission Chief of International Monetary Fund (IMF), calls on the President

29th June: The Mission Chief of International Monetary Fund (IMF), Mr. Nissanke Weerasinghe, called on the President this afternoon.

In the meeting held at the President's Office, Mr. Weerasinghe briefed the President on the mission's report on the current status of the Maldives economy. He also briefed the President on the recommendations of the mission to improve and stabilize the country's economy.

Speaking at the meeting, the President thanked the IMF's contribution to the country's development. He further spoke of the rise in fuel and food costs globally and noted that majority of the goods consumed in the country are imported from other countries and that a lot of measures have to be taken to reduce the effects of the rise in the price of fuel.

During the meeting, Mr. Weerasinghe noted the barriers faced by the Maldivian Government in providing sufficient educational opportunities and health care in the Atolls. He congratulated the President on the passing of the new Constitution by the Special Majlis.

The meeting was attended by the Minister for Presidential Affairs, Mr. Mohamed Hussain, Governor of Maldives Monetary Authority, Mr. Abdulla Jihad and the Deputy Minister of President's Office, Dr. Hala Hameed.


Equal Media Coverage Agreement Signed

1st July: A special Agreement furnishing equal rights, and equal access to the State media was signed between the Ministry of Legal Reform, Information and Arts and all the political parties in the Maldives yesterday. The signing ceremony was held at the Voice of Maldives radio station.

Under the Agreement, all political parties are entitled to equal media coverage ahead of this year's presidential elections. The Agreement is one of a number of steps being taken by the Government to ensure free and fair vote in the elections, which is expected to take place before the 10th of October. It is hoped that equal media coverage to all political parties will ensure that the electorate receives a balanced and comprehensive understanding of the different candidates for the election and their policy platforms.

Speaking at the ceremony, the Minister of Legal Reform, Information and Arts, Honorable Mr. Nasheed said that 'equality ' referred to in the Agreement meant that press conferences, rallies, or any other event organized by the political parties will be covered equally by Television Maldives (TVM) and the Voice of Maldives (VOM), the main public broadcasters for television and radio respectively.

The Minister also noted that the Agreement facilitates the purchase of airtime, for announcements, campaign advertisements, and political broadcasts. Furthermore, the Agreement provides guidelines on the extent to which political news, political activities and political interviews will be covered and aired on state media.

The Agreement comes into force 7 days after signing. Moreover, all parts referring to the forthcoming presidential election shall cease to be valid once the presidential elections are over. The rest of the Agreement shall cease to be valid when an agreement is reached to annul the Agreement or when the State media is reformed under the new constitution.


The Agreement covers State media only. Over recent years, the Maldives has witnessed the establishment of a wide range of independent media outlets including broadcasters and newspapers. These outlets will further add to the richness of debate ahead of the polls.



The President establishes a Pay Advisory Board and appoints members

1st July: The President today established a Pay Advisory Board and appointed members to the new Board.

The "Pay Advisory Board" has been established to review and make recommendations to the Ministry of Finance and Treasury on the structure and policy issues of pay of all the employees of the Government, public companies and employees of independent institutions.

Members were appointed to the Board from six different sectors, namely; Civil Service Commission, Judicial Services Commission, Public Service Division, Ministry of Finance and Treasury, Ministry of Higher Education, Employment and Social Security and Maldives National Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The Chairman of the Board is the Minister of State for Finance and Treasury, Mr. Rilwan Shareef and the Secretariat of the Pay Advisory Board will be managed by the Ministry of Finance and Treasury.


The President says that the victory of the National Football Team in the SAFF Championship is a great national achievement

1st July: The President last night said that the winning of the SAFF Championship by the National Football Team is not only an achievement for sports, but also a remarkable national achievement. The President made this statement while speaking at a function held at the Artificial Beach by Henveyru "Bodu Fungan'du" friends, to mark the victory of the National Football Team in the SAFF Championship.

 In his speech, the President said that the players of the National Football Team are now at a high performance level and encouraged the team to maintain this form. Further, he said that to excel in the field of sports, players should maintain a good lifestyle, high standards of discipline and avoid all bad habits. 

The President also said that the National Football Team's victory is a great honor and prestige to the country. He noted that the citizens and governments of all countries give great importance to football and that it is not a surprise that the Government and people of the Maldives have given such an interest and importance to football. Further, he said that this victory is the effort of many people and he appreciated their work and thanked them and the people of the Maldives for their great support.

At the function, the President was presented with a plaque by Mr. Mohamed Ali Janah on behalf of the "Bodu Fungan'du" friends, in appreciation of his support to the national team and the priority he has given to the tournament. A shield of honor was also awarded to the National Football Team. This shield was presented by Mr. Kan'dhi Hassan fulhu.


Geoinformatic and Planning Ministry signs Agreement

2nd July: An agreement has been reached between Planning Ministry and Geoinformatic International to take digital capture all areas of Maldives. The agreement was signed at a ceremony held at the Planning Ministry yesterday.

Planning Ministry informs that the agreement on behalf of Maldives was signed by Hamdhoon Hameed, the Minister of Planning and National Development and on behalf of Geoinformatic International by the company's Managing Director Sudharuman Siripala.

According to Planning Ministry, the ceremony was attended by Minister of Construction and Public Infrastructure Mohamed Mauroof Jameel, Minister for Housing and Urban Development Ibrahim Rafeeq, Director at Digital Globe Incorporation Abey Mital and Permanent Secretary of Planning Ministry Rashida Ali.

Planning Ministry informed that the pictures taken under the agreement, in addition to being utilized for amending the Map of Maldives, will also be used to establish a geographic information system, special planning of Maldives and also to prepare Regional and Urban Plan. Further the pictures will also be utilized by other government agencies in their projects.

Planning Ministry also informs that the digital pictures will also be used to monitor reefs, vegetations beach erosion as well as other environmental changes. Ministry also said that the pictures will prove useful in preparation of environment impact assessment reports of large infrastructure projects.

Ministry also informed that as per the agreement all areas of the country will be digitally covered for a fee of US $ 480,000 payable in 4 installments.

Geoinformatic International Pvt. Ltd is the company which is representing Digital Globe Incorporation in this region.


High-Level Delegation from the United States of America Visits the Maldives

 2nd July: A high-level delegation from the United States of America has paid an official visit to the Maldives. The Delegation comprising Mr. Evan Feigenbaum, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the US Department of State, Mr. James Moor, deputy Chief of Mission at the United States Embassy, and Miss. Amy Trimble, Political Officer was welcomed by Mr. Abdullah Hameed, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs earlier today.

Mr. Hameed thanked the United States of America for their unrelenting support for the development of the Maldives and expressed that the two nations have long shared friendly relations with each other. Mr. Hameed noted in particular the swift response of the United States Government in reaction to the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004 and the explosion at the Sultan Park in the Maldives last September of 2007; the Deputy Minister also expressed his gratitude for the United States Government's assistance in strengthening the security and counter-terrorism efforts of the Maldives.

On the request of the US Delegation on areas where the United States can provide further assistance, Mr. Hameed responded that three key areas required significant external assistance for the Maldives to overcome the challenges of growing extremism, increasing fear of home-grown terrorism, and rising levels of drug abuse.

The Deputy Minister also briefed the visiting Delegation on the democratic transition currently taking place and conveyed that this was a promising time for the Maldives. Moreover, he expressed that the country has passed a new Constitution, and a new Equal Media Agreement which allows opposition parties to gain equal coverage on state media. In addition, he said that the Maldives is now in preparation for its upcoming democratic Presidential elections.

Mr. Hameed praised and expressed his gratitude to the Government of the United States for its support in the development of the Maldives. The Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Department of State in turn affirmed that the United States will continue to be a close friend and supportive partner of the Maldives.


Maldives Development Achievements Threatened by Climate Change: Foreign Minister Tells UN

2nd July: The Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Mr. Abdulla Shahid, yesterday warned the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) that climate change has the potential to undermine and reverse more than two decades of socio-economic development in the Maldives. Addressing Ministers from around the world during the High-Level Segment of the Substantive Session of the ECOSOC on "current challenges to poverty eradication and sustainable development", the Minister said: "The Maldives is currently swimming strongly towards the attainment of the Millennium Goals. Yet, if left unchecked, global warming will leave us treading water or, worse, will see us pushed backwards by the man-made current of rising global emissions". He therefore urged world leaders to urgently agree on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol as a key step towards promoting sustainable and just development. The speech represented the first time that the Maldives has delivered a Statement at ECOSOC.

After noting the Maldives' strong economic performance over the past twenty years, the Minister updated the Council on progress towards the Millennium Development Goals: "The Maldives is on course to meet all the Millennium Development Goals" he informed delegates. "We have already achieved the MDGs of halving extreme poverty and providing universal primary education, and are well on-track to achieve the MDG targets of reducing child mortality and improving maternal health. Ensuring environmental sustainability and achieving gender equality remain as key challenges".

"As a result of our rapid development, on 20 December 2004, the United Nations took the decision to officially graduate the Maldives from Least Developed Country (LDC) status. Our transition from LDC status will be completed on 1 January 2011".

The Minister went on to warn ECOSOC that these hard-won achievements are fundamentally threatened "by one challenge over which we have no control, which originates in countries far from the small fragile islands of my country, and which poses an existential threat to the future of the Maldives as a viable functioning State. I talk, of course, about the challenge of climate change.

Climate change is the greatest challenge facing the Maldives today. It threatens each and every development achievement accrued by the country over the past three and a half decades" he said.

The Minister urged the international community to therefore take urgent steps to confront global warming and thus to protect the country's socio-economic advances: "If we in the Maldives are to continue to take strides towards poverty eradication and sustainable development, we need the support of the entire international community. That support should not be restricted to the provision of aid and assistance, but should also involve a common commitment by States, led by the developed world, to avoid adopting measures or taking actions that knowingly undermine the ability of other States to pursue sustainable long-term development. To begin with, and as demanded by Lord Stern during his presentation to the Council yesterday, that commitment should include a redoubling of efforts to reach agreement in Copenhagen next year on an effective and equitable successor to the Kyoto Protocol. Only through such commitment and multilateral solidarity can we guarantee sustainable and just development for the Maldives and for other developing countries around the world".

During a short official visit to New York to participate in the High-Level Segment of ECOSOC, Minister Shahid will also chair a panel debate, organized by the Maldives Mission in New York, on the socio-economic impacts of climate change; as well as meet senior officials from the UN Secretariat to brief them on the adoption of the new Constitution by the People's Special Majlis and on preparations for the presidential elections. 


Seminar on Leadership in the Public Service in a Multi-Party Political system begins

2nd July: A seminar on Leadership in the Public Service in a Multi-Party Political system began today.

The two day seminar is organized jointly by the Public Service Division of the President's Office and the Public Service Training Institute with the assistance of the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Corporation.

The purpose of this seminar is to highlight the importance of effective leadership for public sector organizations in a multi-party political environment and develop senior executives with the necessary leadership skills and qualities to face the challenges that arise from the current reform process being experienced by the country.

The seminar was inaugurated by the Minister of Atolls Development Mr. Ahmed Thasmeen Ali. In his inaugural address, Minister Thasmeen highlighted responsibility that lie with the leadership of Public sector organizations. He stated that participants of the seminar who are either political leaders or civil service leaders currently occupying key positions in public sector organizations. He further stated the need for a strong bond between these types of leaders in order to work towards their common objective of national development.

Deputy Minister at the President's Office Dr. Isaam Mohamed who heads the Public Service Division delivered the welcome remarks at the opening ceremony of the seminar.


The Deputy Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs of State Department of the USA Calls on the President

2nd July: The Deputy Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs of State Department of the USA, Mr. Evan Feigenbaum, called on the President this afternoon at the President's Office.

During the meeting, President Gayoom and Mr. Feigenbaum discussed ways to further strengthen the close relations existing between the Maldives and the USA.

The President then briefed Mr. Feigenbaum on the progress of his Reform Agenda. He also noted the measures taken to protect and preserve the country's environment and highlighted on the efforts of raising the profile of climate change in the global arena.

The meeting was attended by the Minister for Presidential Affairs, Mr. Mohamed Hussain, the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Abdulla Hameed, Charge d' Affairs, Mr. James Moore, the Acting Political Chief of the Embassy of US in Colombo, Ms Amy Trimble and the Executive Director at the President's Office, Dr. Moosa Fathy.


The President inaugurates DhiTV Channel

2nd July: The President last night inaugurated DhiTV Channel, run by Broadcasting Maldives Pvt Ltd., at a ceremony held at Dharubaaruge. Speaking at the ceremony after inaugurating the channel, the President said that the establishment of DhiTV channel is the result of the hard work of talented Maldivian staff of DhiTV within a short period, and congratulated and thanked the founder of DhiTV, Mr. Chamaa Mohamed Moosa, the Chief Executive, Mr.Yoosuf Nawal, Directors Mr. Masood Ali, Mr. Ibrahim Khaleel and Mr. Hassan Maumoon, and all the staff of the channel.

In his speech, the President said that the founder of DhiTV, Mr.Champa Mohamed Moosa is a renowned and admired person, who plays an active role in the economic and business sectors of the country. The President also said that members of Mr. Moosa's family play an outstanding role in the development of the nation's economic sector.

The President also pointed that with the broadening of the media, it has focused mostly on sensational journalism, although we should not forget the basic roles of media in the society. While noting that constructive criticisms are beneficial the President said that such criticisms should be based on good principles.

At last night's ceremony the President was presented with a plaque by the founder of DhiTV, Mr. Mohamed Moosa. Video presentations about DhiTV and an introduction of DhiTV channel were also shown.


Exclusion of Maldivian Resort Workers, a huge Concern - HRCM

3th July: President of the Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM) Ahmed Saleem has said that it is not only a concern but a pity that Maldivian labor force working in the tourism industry has been excluded from the constitutional power to attain their basic rights at work given that the tourism industry is a major source the Maldivian economy survives on. He made the statement speaking at a meeting held with the representatives of Maldivian labor force working in the tourism industry.

A large number of people working in the tourism industry, via a signed petition, has filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission to protest their exclusion under section 3, (a) of the employment Act from the basic rights of employees stated under chapter four. This petition was handed over to the commission by 7 representative members at a meeting held last Tuesday.

In this meeting they had also talked at large about the problems the Maldivian labor force faced in their work environment, specifically highlighting the discrimination between expatriate and local employees, lack of job security, insufficient salaries, difficulty in performing religious rites such as praying and fasting during Ramadan, unfavorable living conditions, the dilemmas of taking leave and being deprived of service charges.

Speaking at the meeting Saleem said that the Commission was deeply concerned when the Majlis passed the Employment Bill excluding the Maldivian labor force working in the tourism industry despite Bill being proposed by the government to international standards. He further said that Maldivians working in tourists resorts , just like any other Maldivian working in any other sector, must be given the rights stated in the International Covenant on Economic , Social and Cultural Rights, and rights stated the in conventions prescribed by International Labor Organization, an organization which Maldives hopes to become a member of. Saleem also expressed that the Employment Bill must protect the rights of all workers with out any exceptions or discrimination.

President of HRCM called on the Majlis to amend the Employment Bill in order to protect the rights of the resort workers and expressed hope that the Majlis would pass the amendments as soon as possible.

At the meeting HRCM expressed that it is the responsibility of the tourism ministry to protect the rights of the resort workers. HRCM also expressed that tourism ministry must monitor and find out shortcomings to the full enjoyment of the rights of all resort workers and work more efficiently towards taking corrective action.

Before concluding the meeting HRCM assured the representatives all efforts will be made by the commission to obtain the full rights of the Maldivian resort workers.


 Maldives Leads Panel on Development Implications of Climate Change

3 July;The Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Mr. Abdulla Shahid, yesterday chaired a panel debate on "The Human Dimension of Global Climate Change: Addressing the Economic, Social and Human Rights Implications" during an United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Side-Event organized by the Maldives Mission in New York. The panel featured presentations by senior representatives from the United Nations Environment Program, the World Bank, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Pace University, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Around 120 participants from governments, NGOs and academia then engaged in an interactive dialogue.

The Minister began by noting that "climate change is the single most important challenge facing mankind today. The consequences of global warming are being felt now by people all around our planet and impact on every aspect of human life including, of course, socio-economic development".

He impressed on participants the importance of humanizing climate change by focusing attention on the immediate impacts of the phenomenon on different facets of human life including socio-economic development and the enjoyment of human rights. In this regard, he informed delegates about the Government's "Human Dimension of Climate Change" initiative and the recent adoption, by the Human Rights Council, of a resolution on the human impact of climate change.    

The audience then heard presentations from the panelists who addressed a range of issues relating to climate change and its adverse implications on the social, economic and human rights dimensions. Mr. Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Program and Dr. Andrew Norton, Lead Social Development Specialist from the World Bank congratulated the Maldives' efforts in drawing world attention to the effects of climate change on small island developing states. In their respective presentations the two officials addressed the urgency of the threat of climate change and the short time-frame for finding a solution within the international system. Mr. Jerry Talbot from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, who was previously the Head of Delegation of the IFRC in Male', spoke on the humanitarian aspect of natural disasters and provided a comprehensive assessment of the vulnerabilities of the natural environment of the Maldives. This was followed by a presentation from distinguished Professor of Environmental Law, Professor Nicholas Robinson from Pace University who drew attention to the clear link between human rights, climate change and international justice. Today's discussion was summed up by the Permanent Observer of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Mr. Narinder Kakar.  

At the end of the presentation, Foreign Minister Shahid took questions and comments from the attendees who comprised of Ambassadors and the NGO community in the UN. During the interactive session Permanent Representatives from small island states such as Cape Verde, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Suriname commended the important and leading role played by the Maldives in promoting the human face of climate change.

This event was also attended by H. E. Mr. Ahmed Khaleel, Permanent Representative of the Maldives to the United Nations, New York, H. E. Mr. Abdul Ghafoor Mohamed, Permanent Representative of the Maldives to the United Nations Office in Geneva and H. E. Mr. Mohamed Maniku, Ambassador of the Maldives to the United States.


The President of Asian Shooting Confederation calls on President Gayoom

3rd July: The President of Asian Shooting Confederation, Sheikh Salman Al Sabah, called on President Gayoom this morning.

Speaking at the meeting, Sheikh Salman Al Sabah commended the activities carried out by the Shooting Association of Maldives and the progress of the Association. He further noted the close relations existing between the Maldives and Kuwait.

The President welcomed Sheikh Salman Al Sabah to the Maldives and thanked him for the kind remarks towards the Shooting Association of Maldives. Noting that Kuwait is a key contributor to the country's development, the President thanked the Emir and the government of Kuwait for the support and assistance provided for the country's development.

The meeting was attended by the Executive Secretary to the President, Dr. Ahmed Shareef, the President of Shooting Association of Maldives, Major General Mohamed Zahir, the Deputy Secretary General of Kuwait Shooting Federation, Dr. Nedhal Al Asem and the Executive Director of the President's Office, Dr. Moosa Fathy.


Elections Office begins project to link all vote centres

5th July: A polling station used in the 2005 elections. This year a network that will link all the polling stations will be established by the Elections Office.

Work on building a network connecting all the vote centres has been initiated by the Elections Office. The network will be operated by custom-designed software and will be used to ensure that no person votes more than once.

Assistant Director General Mohamed Tholaal said last Thursday that the software needed to link the voting networks was now in development.

"The procurement of the 500 laptops needed for the polling stations has now been announced via the Tender Evaluation Board," he said. "We aim to connect all the polling stations under one network."

Tholaal also said that the software will be able to recognize those eligible to vote and those who have already voted, making it impossible for one person to vote twice.

"Even now the biggest complaint is that a single person is voting multiple times," he said. "When the polling stations are linked using the software, it will automatically recognize those who have already voted when the voter gives his ID card number. If the person has already voted the system will reject him."

He said that the software was being developed in collaboration with Dhiraagu and that testing will commence by the end of the month.