Male, Sep 27 (AP/UNB) — Maldives President Yameen Abdul Gayoom is working on how to stay in power despite having conceded defeat in this week's election, the opposition alliance said Wednesday.
Joint opposition spokesman Ahmed Mahloof told The Associated Press that government officials say Yameen is planning to complain to the Maldives Election Commission about the conduct of the vote and pressure the commission to delay releasing the final results, due Sunday. Mahloof said Yameen is also trying to get police officers loyal to him to prepare intelligence reports saying the election was flawed.
"It's serious. After conceding the election he is trying to play dirty," Mahloof said of Yameen.
Provisional results released Monday showed joint opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih decisively defeated Yameen with about 58 percent of the vote in Sunday's election.
Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Hussain Shihab noted that Yameen had conceded the election in a speech Monday. He said Yameen accepted the results and pledged to ensure a smooth transition when his term ends Nov. 17. However, Shihab did not comment on whether Yameen's stance has changed since then.
The election outcome surprised many given opposition warnings that the voting could be rigged. The European Union didn't send election observers because the Maldives failed to meet conditions for monitoring, and few foreign media were allowed into the country to cover the vote. The U.S., which earlier threatened sanctions if the elections were not free and fair, urged calm while the election results were being finalized.
Maldives became a multiparty democracy in 2008 after decades of autocratic rule.
However, after Yameen became president in 2013 the country lost many of its democratic gains. He jailed almost all of his political opponents following allegedly flawed trials and forced some into exile. Yameen also consolidated power by exerting control over the courts, bureaucracy, police and the military.
New Delhi, Sep 26 (AP/UNB) — India's top court has upheld the government's policy of issuing a 12-digit identification number to every Indian, but says it can't be made mandatory for services such as bank accounts, cellphone connections or school admissions.
The Supreme Court says the government can use it for tax purposes and providing benefits under welfare schemes like subsidized food items and cooking gas.
However, the court said Wednesday that private organizations can't ask for it because of privacy concerns.
The Indian government has enrolled more than 90 percent of the country's 1.3 billion people since it launched the scheme in 2010 linking fingerprints, iris scans and photos of citizens to the unique 12-digit number.
Banks, mobile operators and the government itself started to require identification numbers to access various services.
New York, Sep 26 (AP/UNB)— South Korean President Moon Jae-in pushed back Tuesday against widespread skepticism about the sincerity of Kim Jong Un's vows to give up his nuclear bombs, saying that the current round of diplomacy with North Korea is "completely different" than the many failed deals that have frustrated past negotiators.
Moon, fresh off a dramatic summit in Pyongyang last week with Kim that saw more promises from the North Korean leader to dismantle his weapons programs, is at the U.N. General Assembly this week, meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump and other world leaders to explain and, to some extent, defend his efforts to bring peace to the famously hostile Korean Peninsula.
He told an audience at the Council on Foreign Relations think tank in New York that it was "only natural that we have plenty of suspicions regarding the true motivations" of Kim. It was, after all, only last year that a series of increasingly powerful North Korean weapons tests, including the nation's sixth nuclear test explosion, and the tough reaction by Trump had many worrying about war. Some critics believe that tough sanctions and pressure, rather than engagement and concessions, stand a better chance of ridding the North of its nukes.
"It's completely different this time around," Moon said, speaking through an interpreter. What's changed this time is that, unlike past efforts that collapsed when the countries tried to implement deals that had been made at the working level, this one has Trump and Kim making the decisions and then driving their lieutenants to follow through.
"This was a promise made in front of the whole world" by Trump and Kim, Moon said. "For this reason, I believe the promise will be kept."
Moon says North Korea will eventually give up its nuclear weapons in return for security guarantees from the United States, which the North has always claimed is intent on destroying the ruling Kim family's grip on power. Pyongyang also wants an end to what it calls U.S. hostility and normalized ties between Washington and Pyongyang.
Kim claims that since he has completed his nuclear arsenal, an assertion that analysts say is probably not yet true, he will now turn to boosting the conditions of his impoverished people. Skeptics say that North Korea wants to engage in long-running disarmament talks so it can offer up a series of small gestures in return for a stream of aid and concessions from outsiders.
Despite Moon's assertion that a leader-driven process will make this round of diplomacy different from the past, there has been more deadlock than progress since a Singapore summit in June between Trump and Kim.
At the time, North Korea demanded that Washington agree to a declaration on the formal end of the Korean War, which was stopped in 1953 with a ceasefire, not a peace treaty, before it makes significant disarmament moves. These would include providing a list of the contents of its nuclear arsenal. The United States wants that list before it will sign off on the war declaration.
Trump and Kim have both said they want to meet again soon, and Moon has been pushing for such a meeting as a way to unstick the diplomacy. There will be high expectations if such a summit comes off.
Moon said he understands the doubt about Kim's purported sincerity since the North Korean leader halted weapons tests in November and began reaching out to the South and Washington. For that reason he pushed to have large portions of the Pyongyang summit streamed live so that the world could see Kim and Moon together and "decide for themselves what kind of person Chairman Kim is."
"The Chairman Kim I experienced ... is young, but he is also candid," Moon said, with "great aspirations to achieve economic development" and a willingness to abandon his nuclear programs to achieve that goal.
Putrajaya, Sep 26 (AP/UNB) — The wife of Malaysian former Prime Minister Najib Razak has arrived at the anti-graft agency for questioning over the multibillion-dollar looting of a state investment fund.
Rosmah Mansor was summoned Wednesday for a second time in three months and could face criminal charges like her husband. Najib has pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of money laundering, corruption, abuse of power and criminal breach of trust over the scandal involving the 1MDB state fund and will face trial next year.
Rosmah didn't speak to reporters as she entered the agency's building, escorted by police and her lawyers. She came under the spotlight after police found hundreds of luxury handbags, jewelry and cash during raids on apartments linked to the family shortly after Najib's shocking electoral defeat.
London (Bernama), Sept 25 (UNB) - Malaysia must punish corrupt people but the problem has not reached such a stage that the corrupt should be sentenced to life in prison, says Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“They (corrupt individuals) might be jailed. How long they need to be jailed depends on the extent of the corruption, and I think different levels of corruption need different punishments,” he said at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies in London on Sept 25, reports The Star.
“But we have not reached the stage of having to sentence people for life,” he added.
Dr Mahathir made the remark in response to a question on whether he supported the death penalty for corrupt leaders after he had delivered a lecture on “The Challenge of Good Governance in the Muslim World”.
Those found guilty of corruption by the courts in Malaysia would be sent to jail, he said, adding that in some countries they actually shot corrupt people.
However, this would not solve the problem, he said.
In his lecture, Dr Mahathir said Muslim countries adopting the democratic system needed to spend more time trying to understand the workings of democracy.
“If you don't understand that in a democracy the vote is powerful, then you cannot have a democratic system,” he said, adding that such Muslim countries were much more comfortable with a monarchy.
In some Muslim countries, the transition to the democratic system was disastrous, he said.
“Every time they try a democratic system, there will be fighting among themselves and the countries can be almost destroyed,” he said.
In a democratic system, he said, people chose the government and supported the government for a period of time.
However, in some Muslim countries, people could not wait for the term to end and wanted to change immediately after the election, he said.
“(It’s) time for them to respect the vote and set up a government that uses power for the betterment of the country and people,” he said.
Dr Mahathir said the democratic system somehow worked in Malaysia because while the people were loyal to their royal rulers, they also wanted a democratic system.
“We (in Malaysia) don't like violence. We don't overthrow a government. The government changes by itself,” he said, drawing laughter from the floor.
Previously, in 1996, on his maiden visit to the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, Dr Mahathir delivered the memorable lecture entitled “Islam, the Misunderstood Religion”.
The centre, since its founding in 1985, has invited many leading figures to speak on matters related to the Islamic world.
At its new premises, the centre has a number of dedicated lecture spaces, including the Malaysia auditorium, to allow for further development of its programmes. – Bernama