Ministry of Environment and Energy reveals hundred-day roadmap and energy data publication

Ministry of Environment and Energy has launched a road map for the first hundred days of President Abdulla Yameen’s administration, joining several other government institutions that revealed similar plans.

Environment and energy minister Thoriq Ibrahim said the implementation of some projects related to waste management, land erosion, water, sanitation and energy and preparatory works for more projects will commence within the first 100-days.

He said an effort will be made to strengthen the legal framework and it’s enforcement. To achieve this goal, implementation of waste regulation and emissions standard regulation will begin while the Environment Police is also expected to start working within this period.

According to the ministry, the Environment Police Unit formed through a memorandum of understanding with Maldives Police Service will investigate violation of environment and biodiversity laws.

The “Maldives Energy Outlook for Inhabited Islands 2013”, a compilation of electricity data of Maldives’ inhabited islands was also revealed at the ceremony held to announce the road-map. While this is the first publication of energy statistics, the ministry plans to publish this data annually in the future.

In a foreword to the document the minister highlighted the importance of having a consolidated national energy database and regular publication of such information at island and national level.

The publication states that 481,577metric ton of fuel was imported to meet energy demands of the country in 2012; out of which 10,019metric ton was cooking gas, 337,531metric ton was diesel, 38,008metric ton was petrol and 96,019metric ton was aviation gas. And 39 percent of the diesel imported was used to generate electricity in inhabited islands, making it the biggest consumer of imported fuel. It states that 49.4 percent (247.17 Gwh/year) of electricity generated in the country are consumed in the congested capital Male’ City.

Maldives Energy Outlook for Inhabited Islands 2013 is available for download here.


Court did not share Elections Commission security information, says police

Data and technical information provided by the Supreme Court to a police forensic team during the Jumhooree Party’s case against the Elections Commission (EC) could not have been used to access the commission’s web servers, the Maldives Police Service has said.

Police said in a press release yesterday (October 21) that the forensic team offered technical assistance sought by the court to examine the evidence of alleged electoral fraud.

The police team were provided a printed list of the marked voters register and the access logs for the EC’s ballot progress report system (BPRS), which contained the IP addresses of those who had accessed the server, along with date and time.

“This is not information that could be used to penetrate any web site or web server,” police said, adding that the Supreme Court did not share any data from the EC aside from the BPRS logs.

“As sufficient time was not available to analyse the aforementioned logs and because the Elections Commission did not provide technical information concerning the BPRS, this service’s forensic team was unable to conduct a technical analysis,” the press release stated.

The police statement concluded with an appeal to all state institutions to protect and securely maintain “online systems containing information related to Maldivian citizens” while offering assurances that police would provide any assistance requested to ensure protection of such systems.

The police statement follows remarks by EC Chair Fuwad Thowfeek on state broadcaster Television Maldives (TVM) on Saturday night claiming that the commission’s data was being “destroyed” after technical information and logs were submitted to the Supreme Court.

“Previously, access to the system was very restricted to very few people, not just anybody could access it. But now the system is open. Now we are seeing people accessing and changing our database. No one had the opportunity to access the system in the annulled first round of presidential elections. People are destroying our data,” Thowfeek had said.

“So we cannot give the kind of certainty they [political parties] want, NCIT [National Centre for Information Technology] cannot give that kind of assurance now either. Earlier, they said they could not notice any external access in the annulled first round of election. They have not said anything yet [about the revote]. But I am certain, I know that if they check now, they will find there are ways for people to access the database. Because we see changes that should not take place happening to our data.”

Securing the IT system

The NCIT meanwhile said in a press statement on Sunday (October 20) that the centre’s staff have been working with the EC to secure the commission’s database and IT system following the Supreme Court judgment annulling the September 7 election.

In point 16 of the guidelines imposed on the EC by the Supreme Court verdict on October 7, the EC was ordered to reform their IT system in accordance with the “professional opinion” of the NCIT and other relevant state institutions.

Following consultations with the EC on October 8, the NCIT recommended immediate measures concerning “the most sensitive problems”, which the EC promptly implemented, the press release stated.

As interruptions to the EC systems could occur during the process, NCIT officials were allowed to establish a mechanism ensuring security on October 18 after the voter registry was printed – one day before the re-scheduled vote was due to take place.

The NCIT did note, however, that as the mechanism was set up on October 18, the centre was unable ensure external parties did not access the EC server and database before that date.

The NICT press release stressed that it had not sought any usernames or passwords required to access the EC systems and database during the process of securing the servers, adding that this information was not required to implement the recommended security measures.

“Therefore, if anyone apart from those authorised by Elections [Commission] accessed the system and database, it has to be further investigated,” the NCIT stated.

Following Thowfeek’s remarks on TVM, the press release stated, the NCIT had asked the EC to share relevant information concerning the alleged security breach, but was yet to receive a response.


The police press statement meanwhile revealed that on August 14 it was alerted to information from the Department of National Registration’s (DNR’s) ID card database, along with the names of registered political party members, being published on a website (

Police discovered that the information was taken from an EC web server ( as the server’s home page was hacked, the press release explained.

However, when the security breach was brought to the attention of the EC, police said that the commission allegedly denied the incident took place and refused to provide cooperation to the police investigation.

The site was blocked by the Communication Authority of Maldives (CAM) on August 20 upon request by the police, after which it was taken down with foreign assistance, police revealed.

Moreover, police found out that an automatic virus was downloaded to computers of persons visiting the page on the EC’s website that detailed the number of registered members of political parties.

Following the discovery, police met with EC Chair Thowfeek and other officials on August 19 to discuss the security issues and to share the findings.

“At the meeting, the commission’s technical staff said the Elections Commission’s web servers were constantly attacked and that they were blocking the IP addresses of the attackers,” police said.

While the EC was requested to provide the noted IP addresses, the police statement said that the information has yet to be sent.

Speaking at a press conference last night (October 21), Thowfeek said that NCIT officials were working ceaselessly with the EC IT staff but had not yet completed a full report on the security issues.

The NCIT has offered assurances that the EC servers and database would be secured before preparations were underway for the presidential election scheduled for November 9, Thowfeek said.

“We are proceeding with the assurance of the technical staff,” he said.


Maldives voters will shun PPM, MDP for “national stability” of coalition government: GIP

President Dr Mohamed Waheed’s Gaumee Ithihaad Party (GIP) has claimed voters will shun the country’s two largest political parties during September’s elections in favour of the “national stability” offered by a coalition representing the current government.

The comments were made as discussions continued this week between the GIP and the leaders of three other government-aligned parties in order to outline the direction of a recently formed coalition that will back President Waheed in the upcoming elections.  The president’s party has maintained that the coalition backing Waheed was not expected to deviate much from the policies of the current government.

Earlier this week, the government-aligned Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) announced it would be joining the religious conservative Adhaalath Party and the Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) in a coalition backing President Waheed’s re-election. The DRP is the largest party in terms of MP numbers to so far back President Waheed, whose own GIP party currently has no political representation in parliament.

However, former Maldives President and founder of the government-aligned Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) Maumoon Abdul Gayoom today told local media that Dr Waheed’s coalition presented no threat to the election bid of its own candidate MP Abdulla Yameen.

The PPM – the country’s second largest party in terms of number of MPs – back in March elected MP Yameen to stand as its presidential candidate and has continued to reject calls to join a coalition against the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party ahead of the elections. Yameen is Gayoom’s half brother.

Stabilisation measures

GIP Spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza told Minivan News today that he believed the country’s voters were “quite happy” with the stabilisation measures taken by President Waheed’s current coalition government. He added therefore that it was his belief the electorate would favour ensuring the stability of the nation by backing the president and his supporters rather than supporting the MDP or PPM.

Asked whether the president’s coalition would be able to win the election against the MDP and PPM, respectively the majority and minority leaders in parliament, Riza claimed national support was dwindling for the two parties.

“Even at its peak, the MDP could not get more than 25 percent of the vote,” he said. “The PPM on the other hand is backed by supporters of [former President] Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, not Yameen. The majority of [PPM supporters] favour joining the coalition.

Abbas added that the coalition had yet to choose a candidate to stand as President Waheed’s running mate, although discussions between leaders of the PPM, DQP and the Adhaalath Party were continuing today.

“I’m not aware of what these decisions are about, but all three parties have shown they agree on one thing – their support for President Waheed,” he said.

Abbas added that after agreeing to back the president, it would be “easy” for the coalition to outline a combined manifesto ahead of the elections due to their experience of working together – along with the PPM and MP Gasim Ibrahim’s Jumhoree Party (JP) – in the current government since the controversial transfer of power on February 7, 2012.

“These parties are already working in a coalition with this government and have been setting the national agenda for the last two years,” he said. “In terms of policy, I don’t think we will see a significant deviation from the economic policies and development programs we have already seen. People care more about the stability of a nation than any political party.”

Responding to Riza’s comments, the PPM today questioned the political strength of the three party’s currently backing President’s Waheed, while also dismissing the effectiveness of coalitions in the Maldives dating to the country’s first multi-party elections in 2008.

PPM MP Ahmed Nihan said that even if the president continued to extend his coalition to all other political parties in the country, the elections will remain a contest between the rival ideologies of former President Mohamed Nasheed -represnted by the MDP – and former President Gayoom – represented by the PPM.

“Just 48 hours ago we concluded a meeting in Addu Atoll, one of the largest areas in the country outside of Male’. Given the numbers of people we met there, it is clear there are only two parties,” he said.

Nihan added that while the PPM would continue to support President Waheed as part of the present coalition government up to September’s elections, it would not be looking to join any coalition ahead of voting.

“Originally in the first round of the 2008 elections, former President Gayoom failed to obtain enough votes to get re-elected. As we know, Nashed then formed a coalition to win the election in the second round,” he said. “What we saw then was after 20 days, JP Leader Gasim Ibrahim resigned without much reason from the government. This has put a big question mark over the strength of coalitions.”

Nihan added that DQP Leader Dr Hassan Saeed, the present Special Advisor to President Waheed, has previously expressed “unconditional support” for the MDP and Nasheed following the 2008 presidential elections.  Yet he noted that the DQP, under Dr Saeed, went on to become one of the most vocal opponents of the Nasheed administration.

Nihan claimed that as a result of the country’s previous experience of coalition government, he believed there would be little appetite among voters for a power sharing government ahead of September’s vote.

MDP candidate former President Nasheed has also declared his party has ruled out forming a coalition during the elections, criticising the effectiveness of power sharing in Maldivian politics.