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Maldives News Bulletin, 20-10-2008
Issue No: 1173

The Cabinet discusses measures to be taken to alleviate any negative impacts that may arise due to credit crunch in the current global financial market

12th Oct: The Cabinet today discussed on the measures to be taken to alleviate any negative economic impacts that the country might face due to the credit crunch in the current global financial market.

The members of the Cabinet deliberated on various steps that could be taken to reduce the difficulties that the people might face due to this global economic situation.

At today's meeting, it was decided to prepare a technical study on this problem and to propose ways of reducing any negative impacts. The Cabinet advised the President to appoint Minister of Finance and Treasury, Mr. Abdulla Jihad to lead this technical team.

The President also welcomed to the Cabinet, Mr. Abdulla Yameen, Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation. Mr. Yameen is also the President of the People's Alliance.

 

The President ratifies the bill on the first amendment of the "Employment Act"

14th Oct: The President has last night ratified the bill on the first amendment of the ‘Employment Act' which was passed by the People's Majlis in its first sitting of its third session, on 6 October. Following ratification, the Bill has been published in the Government Gazette.

 

The President declares 28th and 29th October as public holidays

15th Oct: The President has declared that the 28th and 29th October as public holidays. The two days were declared as public holidays following a request from the Elections Commission regarding the second round of the presidential election and also because many employees are involved in the elections activities.

 

President meets German Red Cross chief

15th Oct: President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has met with Dr. Rudolf Seiters, President of the German Red Cross, according to a statement issued by the president's office. The meeting was held at the President's Office yesterday. 

Speaking at the meeting, President Gayoom thanked the German Red Cross for their assistance and support in the post tsunami relief efforts. 

The German Red Cross had helped construct health posts in 9 islands; health centers in 2 islands; health posts in 5 islands; and health centers, Atoll hospitals and regional hospitals in 8 islands.

President Gayoom briefed Dr. Seiters on the various projects undertaken by the Government for the reconstruction of houses for tsunami victims. President also highlighted the government's efforts to construct safe islands to protect the people from such natural calamities. 

During the meeting, Dr. Seiters noted the support the German Red Cross received from the Government of Maldives. Further, he said that the Maldives had close relations with Germany and that the many German tourists who visit the Maldives help further strengthen this relationship. 

Dr. Seiters also briefed the President on his visit to Dhuvaafaru Island. He noted that the work of the island was going well. 

The meeting was attended by the Minister of Health Ilyas Ibrahim; Executive Secretary to the President, Dr. Ahmed Shareef; Deputy Minister at the President's Office, Dr. Hala Hameed; Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Sheena Moosa; Head of International Services of the German Red Cross, Dr. Johannes Richert; and the first Head of Delegation of the German Red Cross to the Maldives, Gunther Geiger. 

 

Labor Relations Authority established

15th Oct: A Labor Relations Authority has been established by the Ministry of Higher Education Employment and Social Services on the 7 of this month. 

The Authority is established to increase the public awareness on Maldives Employment Law and Rules and Regulations formed under the employment law as well as to monitor whether the employers and employees follow the provisions of the Employment Law. 

Further the Authority will also provide mediation services for disputes arising between employees and employer. 

Employment ministry further said the ministry's website provide a detailed listing of powers and responsibilities of the authorities staff. 

President Gayoom ratified the Employment Act on 26 May 2008. The Maldives' Employment Act, no. 2/2008, states the basic regulations relating to employment, the rights and responsibilities of the employers and the employees. According to this Act, a Labor Relations Authority, an Employment Tribunal and an Advisory Board on wages of employees will be established. 

President Gayoom on Tuesday night ratified the bill on the first amendment of the ‘Employment Act' passed by the People's Majlis in its first sitting of its third session on 6 October. 

 

Majlis endorse name proposed for Anti-Corruption Commission

15th Oct: The People's Majlis has endorsed the name of Ali Rasheed Umar of Aadhileege proposed by President Gayoom for the Anti-Corruption Commission at the 4th sitting of the 3rd session held yesterday morning. 

When the name was put to vote, it was passed with 28 out of 29 members in attendance voting in favor. Majlis also considered the report submitted by the ad-hoc committee elected to review the name proposed for the member of Anti-Corruption Commission. 10 Members including the Chair person of the committee Male' Atoll Member Maria Ahmed Didi also debated on the subject. 

The report submitted by the ad hoc committee states that name of Ali Rasheed Umar of M. Aadhilh'leege was proposed by President Gayoom as per article 4 of the Anti Corruption Act for the Anti Corruption Committee to be established under article 289 of the constitution. Further the report declared that Ali Rasheed Umar fulfilled the requirements stipulated in article 5 of the Anti Corruption Act. 

With the endorsement of Ali Rasheed Umar , Majlis has now endorsed the 5 members which comprises the commission. People's Majlis in a previous sitting approved names of member of the former Anti Corruption Board Abdul Raheem Abdul Rahman, former member of the Anti Corruption Board Abdullah Adam, Gdh Thinadhoo Halaveli Abdullah Hilmy and S. Hithadhoo Ranfas Hassan Luthfy for appointment as members to the new independent Anti Corruption Commission to be established as required by the Constitution. 

Saud Ibrahim of R Innamaadhoo was not accepted by the Majlis. These names were proposed to the Majlis by President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom after calling for interested and qualified persons to apply for membership of the Commission. As per article 4 of the Anti Corruption Law the independent anti corruption commission comprises of 5 members.

 

Majlis endorse Fazeel Najeeb as next MMA Governor

15th Oct: People's Majlis has endorsed the Fazeel Najeeb of M. Fashala proposed for the Governor of Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) at the 4th sitting of the 3rd session held yesterday morning. 

When the floor was opened for discussion on the report submitted by the ad-hoc committee regarding the name proposed by the President for the Governor, 12 members and the chair of the committee Thaa atoll member Mohamed Shareef also spoke on the subject. When the name was put to vote 20 members out of 32 members in attendance voted in favor.11 members voted against while 1 member abstained. 

At yesterday sitting Majlis also considered the report submitted by ad hoc committee selected to securitize Fazeel Najeeb for suitability for the position. According to the reported submitted by the committee, in order to ascertain whether Fazeel Najeeb meets the required requirements specified in article 6 .6 (b) of Maldives Monetary Authority Act, Fazeel was interviewed by the committee. The report also noted Fazeel do not satisfy the requirements stipulated in article 6.6 (a) of Maldives Monetary Authority. 

Fazeel Najeeb held the post of Director international cooperation in the Ministry of Trade before proceeding to UK to pursue studies for a Ph D. in intellectual property law. He has earlier accomplished his first degree in economics and subsequently Masters Degree in international business law also in the UK. Najeeb's name was submitted to the Majlis on 21 August 2008. 

Fazeel who hails from the Southern island atoll of Fuahmulah enjoys a record of being a good and efficient administrator. He is the brother of Fuahmulah member of the Majlis who also held the post of Deputy Minister in the President's Office which he resigned in August to remain as a member of the Majlis to comply with the new Constitution. 

The post of Governor of MMA was held by Abdullah Juihad who was appointed the new Finance Minister on 15 July following former minister Gasim Ibrahim's resignation. President Gayoom proposed the name of former State Finance Minister Arif Hilmy for appointment of the MMA chief, but Arif declined the offer soon after. Nomination of MMA Governor and Deputy Governor has to be approved by the People's Majlis before the President appoint them to the posts. Aishath Zahira was recently appointed as the Deputy Governor of MMA. 

 

Fishing improving in the north - MIFCO

15th Oct: Maldives Industrial Fisheries Company (MIFCO) has announced that due to increased fish catch in the north of the country two additional collector vessels has been dispatched. 

MIFCO media coordinator Abdulla Maumoon speaking to Miadhu Daily informed that fishing in the north of the country has improved in last four days and that the four MIFCO vessels are unable to cope with the unexpected business and as a result 2 more vessels has been dispatched. 

Maumoon said despite improved fishing in the country's north, fishing in the south and the center atolls of the Maldives has not improved and as such fish catch is still not up to the expected levels. 

MIFCO media coordinator Abdulla Maumoon further said although fishing improves every now and then, the fishing which fishermen of the country used to enjoy are no longer seen.

 

Maldives youth are law abiding & useful citizens - Youth Minister

16th Oct: Minister of Youth and Sports Dr. Aishath Shiham has said it is the objective of the government and Dhivehi Rahyithunge Party (DRP) to make each and every youth of the country a useful and law abiding citizen. 

She made the statement in response to a question posed by Miadhu Daily at the daily news briefing held by DRP yesterday afternoon. 

Miadhu Daily asked Youth Minister what were the DRP's programs on youth and sports development as large number of youths with no interests in pursuing a higher education are taking up sports. Miadhu Daily informed the minister that sports are a special skill and that many talented youth are neglected and that various political parties are engaging many of such youth in their campaign activities on temporary basis. 

Minister Aishath Shiham expressed that she is unwilling to accept the notion that country's youth are being neglected and wasted. 

She said youth of today are highly educated group of people and has obtained a high rate of success in what ever field they may choose. She said the government is rewarding youth who achieves success in sports and various programs are carried out by the government to provide vocational training to youth who do not wish to take up higher studies. 

 

EU congratulates Maldives on first multiparty presidential election

16th Oct: The European Union (EU) has welcomed the first multi-candidate presidential election in the Maldives, held on Wednesday 8 October 2008, Foreign Ministry has revealed. 

In a press statement released on Tuesday, EU congratulated the people of the Maldives for their patience as well as their positive engagement in the voting process. It also highlighted that the election was an 'important milestone in the ongoing democratic reform process', foreign ministry said. 

According to foreign ministry, the statement stated that 'the EU congratulates the people of the Maldives for the generally peaceful and disciplined atmosphere in which polling was conducted on 8 October, and is impressed by their very evident democratic commitment to the election process'. 

Whilst EU highlighted a number of technical challenges faced in the process, in specific, the restrictive timeline, it praised the Maldives and its people for upholding peace and harmony throughout Election Day and urged all relevant stakeholders to ensure that necessary preparations are made in time for the run-off election, to be held on 28 October. 

Speaking after the release of the statement, Foreign Minister, Abdulla Shahid expressed that the election was a defining moment in the country's Reform Agenda, and warmly welcomed the support of the EU, reverberating its call to address the procedural shortcomings of the first round of the historic election. 

The EU concluded its statement by reaffirming its commitment to the Maldives during this important period of time, noting that it 'stands ready to continue providing technical advice and assistance to the election authorities in supporting the continuing democratic transition', foreign ministry said. 

CSC appoints Responsible Officers to four govt. offices

16th Oct: Civil Service Commission (CSC) has appointed Responsible Officers to 4 government agencies in accordance with pertinent regulations. 

The four responsible officers appointed are Fareedha Yousuf of H Giulhilaashige as Responsible Officer of Department of National Registration, Ismail Zahir of M. Muraka as Responsible Officer to Male' Municipality, Hamid Fathulla of Ma Maafoleyge as Responsible officer to Department of Immigration and Emigration and Abdul Muhusin Moosa of Ma Ever Bright as Responsible Officer to Supreme Council on Islamic Affairs. 

The commission also revealed that Permanent Secretary will be the senior officer working under the Minister and will be responsible for the proper functioning as well as the management of the ministry. The Permanent Secretary will also offer advice and guidance to the Minister on the issues related to the management of the ministry as well as to assist the Minister in the matters that require to be reported to the People's Majlis. Further for all offices functioning under a government ministry Responsible Officers are to be assigned who are to be answerable to Permanent Secretary.

 

Opposition establishes joint parliamentary group

16th Oct: Opposition parties have established a Joint Parliamentary Group, MDP Alliance has revealed. 

At a news conference held by the MDP Alliance, Leader of Joint Parliamentary Group, Male' MP and Social Liberal Party (SLP) leader Ibrahim Ismail (Ibra) said that the group was established by the opposition parties with the common objective of bringing democratic reforms to the country. He said senior positions of the group were elected after discussions within the group and all parliamentarians forming the group are members of the MDP Alliance. 

Thaa MP and member of Jumhoory Party, a party which is now part of the opposition MDP Alliance, speaking at the news conference announced the key members of the joint parliamentary group. Male' MP and SLP leader Ibrahim Ismail was elected as Leader of the group, while Ga MP and Vice leader of Jumhoory Party Abdulla Jabir and MDP chairperson and MP for Male' atoll Maria Ahmed Didi was elected as Vice Leaders. 

Two Whips were elected; one is MDP Parliamentary Group Whip and MP for Laamu atoll Reeco Moosa Manik and the other is Thaa MP Mohamed Shareef. The group comprises of 17 parliamentarians.

MP for Lhaviani atoll Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said the objective of the opposition Joint Parliamentary Group is to prevent the government and ruling Dhivehi Rahyithunge Party (DRP) from controlling the Majlis and doing what ever they wanted and also to work for the benefit of the country. He said the result of the recent presidential poll taken on 8 October has indicated that 60 percent of the people favor a regime change. 

 

Bids opening ceremony for 3 islands held

16th Oct: Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation has opened the bid proposals submitted for three islands for the development of tourist resorts. According to the ministry the bid proposals submitted for Huvani of Noonu atoll, Mendhoo of Baa atoll and Lossa of Ga atoll were opened at a ceremony held yesterday at Moo Kai Hotel. 

Tourism ministry revealed that when the islands were put up for tender on 7 September 2008 under the government policy of expanding tourism to areas near inhabited islands in the atolls, some 55 parties bought the bid documents. However the ministry said as of yesterday only 37 parties' submitted proposals. In this regard, 17 parties' submitted proposals for Huvani of Noonu atoll, 16 parties' submitted proposals for Mendhoo of Baa atoll and four parties for Lossa of Ga atoll. 

At the ceremony held at Moo Kai Hotel, rent proposed by bidders for 10 year period was displayed. Further the ministry said all proposals have been handed over to a select committee for evaluation. Among the areas considered in the bid evaluation process is proposed rent, health insurance schemes proposed for staff and strategies and planning to employ and sustain local staffs. 

 

President calls for expansion of food production

17th Oct: President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has called on the people to further expand and develop the agricultural food production in the Maldives, especially at a time when global food shortages might be imminent. President Gayoom made the call in his message to the nation on the occasion of World Food Day, which was observed yesterday. 

Noting that progress is being made in the agricultural sector, the President stressed the importance of building human resources and adopting new technology. Further, he highlighted that the people in the islands faced many difficulties in cultivating and marketing their crops, and called to resolve to overcome those difficulties, in order to achieve our goals. 

Referring to this year's World Food Day theme which is, "World Food Security: the Challenges of Climate Change and Bioenergy", the President noted that this was a very important theme for the Maldives. 

President Gayoom further highlighted the risks that we might face in our food production, due to the negative effects of climate change on our small, low lying islands. In this regard, the President said that it was our national responsibility to take precautionary measures necessary to overcome such risks and urged the people to pay more attention to this matter.

 

UN welcomes the spirit of popular participation in the elections

17th Oct: The United Nations (UN) office in the Maldives has 'welcomed the spirit of popular participation' in the historic first multi-party presidential election held on Wednesday 8 October 2008. 

In a press statement released on Wednesday 15 October, UN praised the election process and the peaceful manner in which it proceeded, and expressed hope that the challenges faced in the first round would be effectively addressed in the second round. 

"The UN hopes that the challenges that arose in the first round, notably the issues with the voter registry can be addressed effectively in the second round" UN highlighted. 

The UN also urged all stakeholders to ensure that the remaining steps of this historic process are conducted peacefully and in a manner that guarantees all Maldivians their right to a free, fair and genuine election, and, affirmed that the UN would continue to monitor the process closely. 

In a statement issued earlier the European Union (EU) also has welcomed the first multi-candidate presidential election of the Maldives. 

The EU press statement congratulated the people of the Maldives for their patience as well as their positive engagement in the voting process. It highlighted that this election was an 'important milestone in the ongoing democratic reform process'. 

'The EU congratulates the people of the Maldives for the generally peaceful and disciplined atmosphere in which polling was conducted on 8 October, and is impressed by their very evident democratic commitment to the election process'. 

EU highlighted a number of technical challenges faced in the process, in specific, the restrictive timeline and urged all relevant stakeholders to ensure that necessary preparations are made in time for the run-off election , to be held on 28 October . 

Foreign Ministry informed that Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdulla Shahid, speaking after the release of the UN statement, conveyed his gratitude to both EU and UN for its support to the election process. The Minister also acknowledged the strong collaboration between the Maldives and the UN and EU, and expressed hope that both parties would continue to serve its valuable and supportive role in sustaining development in the Maldives. 

 

Work underway to facilitate voting for safari boat employees - EC

17th Oct: Interim Election Commission (EC) has revealed that in order to provide opportunity for Maldivians working on Safari boats to execute their voting rights in the presidential runoff elections slated for Tuesday 28 October 2008, owners and operators of such vessels has been asked to intimate a convenient island the boats to reach. 

The Commission also informed the owners and operators of Safari boats have been asked to provide a list of all Maldivians of voting age before 2330 hours on Saturday 18 October 2008. 

The opportunity is now open to all voters intending to outside their Native Island or previously registered island for the first round of voting, to register themselves at their intended voting island. In this regard the interim election Commission has announced that the registration opportunity will be open till Saturday 18 October and requests for registration will not be accepted after the deadline. 

Election Commission has revealed that the commission was working on establishing additional polling stations abroad for the runoff elections in addition to the polling stations established in the first round of elections. In this regard the commission informed it was working on establishing polling stations in Bangalore / India. Over 300 Maldivians residing in Bangalore has submitted a petition to the Election Commission on Friday 10 October, asking for a polling station. 

In the first round of elections four polling stations were established in neighboring countries for Maldivian Diasporas to cast their vote. There were located in Trivandrum/ India; Colombo, Sri Lanka; Singapore; and Kuala Lumpur/Malaysia.

 

Anti Corruption Commission established

17th Oct: President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has yesterday established the Anti-Corruption Commission and appointed five members to the Commission.

The five members are: Abdul Raheem Abdul Rahma , Abdulla Adam, Abdulla Hilmy, Hassan Luthfy and Ali Rasheed

The five members were appointed by President Gayoom in accordance with Article 200(b) of the Constitution, after members were approved by the People's Majlis. 

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