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Maldives News Bulletin, 09-11-2008
Issue No: 1176

The President says that the transition work was undergoing very well


2nd Nov:
The President says that the transition of powers to the new government to be formed on 11 November was undergoing very well. The President made this statement at the Cabinet meeting held at the President's Office, today.
The President also said that he was pleased with the way the work of the Transition Committee was going and that he had received full cooperation from the President-elect Mr. Nasheed.
At today's Cabinet meeting, the Members deliberated on the work that needed to be done before the government changes.
The Members of the Cabinet also expressed pleasure at the way the transition work was undergoing and noted the importance President Gayoom gives for a smooth transition.

 

The President says that the courage displayed by the people on 3 November 1988 show their steadfastness in defending our nation's independece and Islamic values


3rd Nov:
The President has said that the courage displayed by the people on 3 November 1988 showed their steadfastness in defending our nation's independence and Islamic values. He made this statement in his message on the occasion of Victory Day, which is being commemorated across the country today.
The President also said that albeit the 20 years that have passed since the terrorist attack on 3 November 1988, the people of Maldives have not forgotten the frightful events of that day.
The President said that the November 3rd mercenary attack and previous attempts at destroying the country's independence were due to treason of a few treacherous Maldivians. He said that there were important lessons to be learned today from such experiences, and that the most important lesson was that unity is the key for national security.
The President, in the message, noted and thanked the people and Government of India, for the speedy and decisive aid provided to the Maldives by India.

 

The President ratifies the Bill on Maldives Media Council


4th Nov:
The President has today ratified the Bill on Maldives Media Council, which was passed by the People's Majlis on 27th October, in its 8th sitting of the 3rd session. Following ratification, the Bill has been published in the Government Gazette.
The objective of the Maldives Media Council shall be to establish and preserve the freedom of media in the Maldives; to keep under review matters contravening this freedom and taking remedial measures; to build up a code of practice and a code of conduct for the people working in the media; to ensure people working in the media behave responsibly and ethically; and to conduct inquiries into complaints filed with the Council concerning abuse of rights.

 

The President says that the Government had tried to facilitate the achievement of the objecitves of the Human Rights Commission


5th Nov:
President Gayoom has said that the Government had tried to facilitate the achievement of the objectives of the Human Rights Commission. The President made this statement at a meeting with the members of the Human Rights Commission, held this morning at the President's Office.
The President said that the true beneficiaries of the achievement of the objectives of the Human Rights Commission would be the people of the Maldives. Noting that the establishment of the Human Rights Commission was an important aspect of the reform programme, President thanked the Commission for efforts to protect the human rights in the Maldives.
Speaking at the meeting, President of the Human Rights Commission, Mr. Ahmed Saleem said that it was President Gayoom who had established the Human Rights Commission and granted legal authority to the Commission. He also said that a lot of work had been done to improve the human rights and thanked the President for facilitating the work.
The Deputy President of the Human Rights Commission, Mr. Mohamed Zahir noted the developmental achievements made by the country during President Gayoom's presidency.
The meeting was attended by Dr. Ahmed Shareef, Executive Secretary to the President and Dr. Hala Hameed, Deputy Minister at the President's Office.

 

President Gayoom calls on the people to stregthen their belief in Islam and to strengthen the unity among us


7th Nov:
President Gayoom has called on the people to strengthen their belief in Islam and to strengthen the unity among us. The President made this statement in an interview to the variety showheyanbo, aired by the Television Maldives every Friday.
The President also called on the people to continue in the righteous path of Islam and to protect the sovereignty of the Maldives. Further, he said that if we remained truthful to these values, it would lead to the peace and prosperity of the country.
Reconfirming that he would remain in the country, President Gayoom said that he would continue to provide his sincere services to the people of the Maldives.
When questioned whether he could, in the future, be seen as a person advocating democracy, President Gayoom said that he strongly believed in democracy and that he had worked to introduce democracy to the Maldives ever since he assumed Office.
In response to the question, what his hopes were for the people of the Maldives, President Gayoom said that he wanted country to remain as a hundred percent Muslim country, and the peace, progress and prosperity of the country would reach greater heights.

 

Info Tech maintaining software despite contract expiry - Audit Report

4th Nov: Ministry of Higher Education, Employment and Social Security continues to receive services from Info Tech Maldives for the maintenance of the ministry's software despite the expiry of the contract agreement signed with the company , ministry's Audit Report published by the Auditor General states.

The Audit Report published by the Auditor General on the 27 of October states that under the agreement signed between the ministry and Info Tech on 1997 a software was specially developed by Info Tech for ministry's use and that the contract expired on 2001.
The Audit Report highlighted that despite various modifications to the software, no records of such details are available either with ministry or Info Tech. Although the software was developed at a considerable cost it is incapable of accurately maintains the ministry's statistics and that no records of the upgrades and the expenses incurred are available from both parties. Further the software is controlled not by the ministry but by Info Tech and the Info Tech personnel tasked with maintaining the system access the ministry's system and database externally. Further the Audit Report highlights that ministry pays a monthly fee of Rf. 6,775 to Info Tech Pvt. Ltd for the maintenance of software and the printer used in labor section of the ministry with any agreement or contract. Further the report noted that no action has been taken to train ministry's staff provided for under the terms of the agreement reached with the ministry in 1997 by Info Tech.

 

Interruptions to mobile network due work to expand coverage: Dhiraagu

4th Nov: The mobile network of Dhiraagu, the national telecom service provider, was interrupted on Sunday night due to technical difficulties experienced during ongoing work to expand the network coverage. Speaking to Miadhu Daily, the company's Manager Marketing, Communications and Public Relations Mohamed Mirushan Hassan said that interruptions were only to mobile network services and that the interruptions were due to technical difficulties experienced during the company's ongoing efforts to expand the mobile coverage. He further revealed that the problem was solved within one and half hour.

"The problem occurred during work carried out to expand coverage, we are currently upgrading mobile network, the problem occurred only to mobile calls, all our land lines were unaffected, internet and other services were not interrupted nor was international call service, we would like to offer our sincere apologies to our valued customers for the inconvenience" Mirushan said.

On 9 August Dhiraagu prepaid services were also interrupted. According to the company the interruptions then were caused due to prepaid software problems.

Dhiraagu is the most popular national telecom service provider in the country with more than 300,000 customes.

 

24 brands of biscuits from Malaysia contains Melamine


4th Nov:
Maldives Food and Drug Authority (MFDA) have revealed 24 different brands of biscuits produced in Malaysia shows the presence of toxic chemical melamine.

Director General of MFDA Moosa Anwar speaking to Miadhu Daily informed that in addition to Munchies Company, biscuits by two other companies also contain the toxic chemical melamine at dangerous levels. He said this has been revealed by Malaysian Food Safety and Quality Division. He said this time melamine was discovered in 24 different biscuits in Huang Company and Kiang Company. Earlier melamine was discovered from biscuits produced by Munchies Company of Malaysia.

He said some of these products are available in the market and that a concerned government agency has been instructed to prevent any import of these products. He further said work is currently under way to remove these products from the shops. He further said the authority was informed of the presence of the chemical melamine in the products yesterday.

According to MFDA the products which contain melamine are Soda Biscuits, lemon puffs, Butter creams, Baby Fish, Health Cracker, Family Cracker, Coca Pup, Orange Sandwich, Animal Shape Biscuit, Mini Pup Biscuit, Cigarette Shaped Biscuit, Cream Chocolate Biscuit, from Huangun Company as well as Assorted Biscuits, Chicken Egg Sandwich, Germ Biscuits, Iced Germ Biscuits, Marie Big Biscuits, ABC Biscuits, Tasty Crackers, Zoological Biscuits, Swiss cheese crackers, and Health Puff Biscuits of Kianguang.

 

1652 complaints filed: NECB


5th Nov:
National Elections Complaints Bureau (NECB) has revealed that the bureau received 1652 complaints regarding election irregularities during the second round of presidential elections held on the 28 of October 2008.

Abdulla Saeed of National Elections Bureau briefing the media on Monday afternoon said that 1473 complaints are on issues regarding voter registrations.

Saeed said the majority of the complaints are regarding voter registration and that most of the complaints were over inconsistencies in the eligible voter lists used by election officials at polling stations. He also noted the problem was not restricted to Male' but same issue was filed from atolls as well.

According to Saeed, after reviewing the 1473 complaints, opportunity will be provided to 1146 voters to cast their votes and that 372 who also raised complaints are denied voting due failure to complete registration formalities on time.

Hussain Shiraj of the Bureau revealed that in addition to registration issues some 179 complaints were also filed. He explained that of the 179 cases, 107 were from islands which are not normally inhabited and that 55 cases were received via telephone. Shiraj further said out of the 179 cases, 129 has been reviewed and that the Bureau was currently considering 50 complaints.

 

MTPB holds road shows in South East Asian countries


6th Nov:
Maldives Tourism Promotion Board (MTPB) in collaboration with the Maldives tourism industry has held road shows in Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Singapore, according to MTPB press release. The road shows were held on 17 to 20 October.

According to MTPB the main objective the road shows are to diversify further into South East Asian market. This new approach of promoting the Maldives as a destination for South East Asian visitors will further enhance the existing business collaboration and pave way for new business ties. South East Asia is a promising market in consideration of easy access to Maldives and a growing affluent population. MTPB said that this was first time that the Board had organized a road show targeting South East Asian market.

According to MTPB the road shows mainly targeted to the travel trade and media. Maldivian event in Kuala Lumpur was attended by over 50 participants, while Bangkok event welcomed over 130 participants and Singapore event was attended by over 70 participants. The attendees included travel agents, tour operators, airlines companies and the media. Presentation about the Maldives as tourist destination was given to the participants by Maldives Tourism Promotion Board. In addition, industry participants gave presentations on their products. During each of these events a raffle was held and winner won a holiday for two in Maldives with complements of Adaaran, MTPB said.

Last year Maldives welcomed a total of 675,889 visitors. Asian market represented 144,363 visitors which is 23.3% of the market share.

 

Biggest hurdle, Planning Minister - Majlis Report


6th Nov:
The biggest obstacle to government proposed reconstruction and development programs aimed at improving the quality of life of the 2004 tsunami victims is the Planning and National Development Ministry , according to a Majlis committee report.

The report, produced by the Majlis adhoc committee tasked with advising the government on matters relating to tsunami reconstruction programs, was submitted to the Majlis yesterday morning at its 9 th sitting of the third session of 2008.

When the floor was opened for discussion, 18 members spoke on the subject and the chairperson of the Committee Thaa atoll MP Hassan Afeef addressed the Majlis to provide answers to the queries raised during the debate by members.

According to committee report the biggest obstacle to the implementation of government proposed reconstruction and development programs aimed at improving the quality of life of 2004 tsunami victims is lack of cooperation on part of planning and national development minister Hamdhoon Hameed as indicated by the members of the ministerial committee set up by the government to oversee the development efforts. As such the committee recommended relieving the minister and assigning various government ministries to complete the projects.

The report highlighted the government failed to seek advice from the Majlis committee on various issues related to tsunami reconstruction and that some of the government proposed developmental projects were not implemented.

The report also noted that while providing housing for tsunami victims' government had discriminated tsunami victims supporting opposition parties. The report said the victims supporting the opposition were completely ignored while houses provided for tsunami victims supporting the government.

Further the committee report noted that while complaints of each and every tsunami victim of the islands visited were taken in to account, the committee were unable to meet the victims individually on some islands.

The committee report also said the committee met with senior government officials involved in tsunami reconstruction programs, members of the government instituted ministerial committee to discuss findings of the committee during their recent visit to the tsunami devastated islands.

At the beginning of the sitting, Majlis also announced the first reading of the Bill to afford former presidents same security, protections and benefits as serving presidents, bill on amendment to the Family Act and bill on amendment to the Civil Service Act. The second reading of these bills has been scheduled for 17th November 2008 at the 11th sitting of the Majlis. The three bills were proposed by the Mulaka Atoll MP Aneesa Ahmed.

At yesterday's sitting Majlis also announced the first reading of the bill on amendment to the Prosecutor General Act and bill on amendment to the Judicial Services Commission Act. The second reading is to be continued on the 17th November 2008 at the 11th sitting.

Yesterday's sitting, attended by 33 Members was chaired by the Speaker of the People's Majlis Mohamed Shihab.

 

MFDA initiates work on draft food safety law


7th Nov:
Maldives Food and Drug Authority (MFDA) have commenced work on a draft food safety law. MFDA said the draft law will comply with international standards.

MFDA Director General Moosa Anwar speaking to Miadhu Daily said that work is now underway to draft a food safety law with the assistance of World Health Organization.

According to Moosa Anwar the draft work is assisted by WHO expert Chandha age 82 years who has 40 years experience in drafting food safety laws. Anwar further said Chanda is the architect of the Indian food safety law.

A workshop was held yesterday by the Health Ministry to consult with various concerned government agencies on preparing the first draft of the food safety law. The workshop also discussed amendments to the existing law on food safety. Moosa Anwar said the current law was formed in 1978 and does not reflect the advancements and changes to food industry as a whole.

He further said draft law will be ready by early next year and will be submitted to the parliament for consideration and endorsement.

He revealed that when the new law is ratified regulations formed under the existing law will be amended.

 

HDC opens bidding for development of Marina & hotel


8th Nov:
Hulhumale' Development Corporation Ltd. (HDC) has announced bidding for the lease of land to develop a Marina inclusive of an 80 bed Hotel in the lagoon of Hulhumale', for the second time.

The bidding opened on Wednesday, involves reclamation of part of the area in the western lagoon of Hulhumale' to develop the hotel and provision of berthing and other complementary services relevant to the Marina.

HDC says that corporation firmly believes that considering the strength of the Maldives tourism industry and the expanding safari tourism, the project offers great potential for tourism investors both local and foreign. HDC further said bidding cab be participated by both local and foreign investors. The lease period for the project is 25 years and the successful bidder is expected to complete the project within 30 months from the date of signing the lease agreement with HDC.

HDC said bid documents will be available from HDC main office in Hulhumale' from Thursday, 06th November 2008 to Tuesday, 16th December 2008. All interested parties wishing to purchase bidding documents are required to submit an application form available from the company's main office and the company website.

The purchase price of the bidding documents for foreign bidders is United States Dollars One Thousand and One Hundred (US$ 1,100). For Maldivian bidders or legal entities registered in Maldives with one hundred percent (100%) Maldivian ownership the purchase price is Rf Twelve Thousand (MRF 12,000).

Deadline for the submission of the bidding documents is before 13:00 hrs of Monday, 22nd December 2008. Bid opening will be held on the same day at 13:15 hrs.

An area of 150,000 square meters of the western lagoon of Hulhumale' is allocated for the project. Out of this approximately 40,000 square meters shall be reclaimed and the remainder would accommodate berthing facilities for at least 60 yachts / safari boats. The reclaimed area shall be utilized to house the Eighty Bed Hotel plus other ancillary services such as fuel refilling, water supply, cyber café, souvenir shops, etc. An equal investment opportunity for the project is open to both local and foreign individuals, partnerships and companies.

 

HRCM says new govt responsible to unite people


8th Nov:
President of Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM) Ahmed Saleem has sated that it is the responsibility of the new government to bring the people of the nation together for more peace and harmony. Saleem made the statement speaking at a news conference held at the Human Rights Commission on the 2 November.

Saleem stated that it was disheartening to see the negative campaigning that took place during the last few days of the campaigning for the presidential runoff elections, and such attempts have the potential to divide the people and can cause disharmony. He further said and it is important to set honorable standards for all future campaigning.

Saleem also expressed his gratitude to all institutions and individuals who took the responsibility to ensure that the 2008 Presidential elections was a peaceful event.

In this regard he especially thanked the Elections Commission, Political Parties and its supporters, civil society and the Police and National Defense force.

HRCM also stated the significance of entrusting the work of Human Rights Coordinating to a relevant government ministry in the new cabinet to strengthen human rights in the country as well as the importance of establishing standard procedures ensuring job security for those individuals in political positions during the process of reallocating and appointing new staff and when designating the new cabinet. The Commission also stated that efforts should be made to minimize gender disparity in newly constituted independent bodies and the cabinet as the country needs more equal representation in its administration.

Also speaking at the press briefing the vice president of the commission Mohamed Zahid said that Maldives has depicted an exemplary model of democracy in the presidential elections. And he stressed on the importance of not undermining the role of a strong progressive opposition party which plays a key role in the functioning of a modern democracy.

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