New communications act in Maldives

Posted on January 26, 2009  /  3 Comments

The Telecom Authority of the Maldives was functioning under a presidential decree all this time. The Law which had been drafted, is now moving under the new administration:

The Civil Aviation Minister Jameel who announced that the bill was being sent for legal review at a press conference said that the country is now at a stage where such legislation is urgently required. The bill covers all aspects of postal services, telecommunications and info communications including licensing, establishing standards and implementation.

The Minister also stated that the government will establish a Communications Authority of Maldives for the purposes of regulating and implementing the Communications Act.


  1. Hi Prof,

    I cant see the bill seeing the light of day this side of June, because Majlis or Parliament is only now starting to debate two crucial election bills that are required to hold general elections under the new constitution.

    The elections were fixed (by the new constitution) for around Feb 15 with new parliament taking oaths by March 1. That is followed by atoll elections (local council polls) slated for June.

    The current transition parliament ceases to exist by Feb 28. There are no signs that elections will be held before that, the election chief warned on Sunday.

    The Supreme Court has already ruled ( that the current parliament is a transition one, and its term ends on Feb 28. Anything that the current parliament does after that is null and void.

    So it is interesting to see if and when the communication bills are passed — that they are valid within the new constitution.

    The way out is a referrendum. The people will have to decide whether they agree to a new parliament (which is born rather late and is a breach of the new constitution) or not. Before parliament gets down to routine business.

    I suspect nothing concrete (other than election sops) will get past Majlis, till local polls are done and the ruling party secures a firm footing across the atolls administration.

    That’s sadly the truth of a test tube democracy, still finding its feet in the backwaters of the Indian Ocean.

  2. My recollection is that that decree allowing the TAM is valid only for one year from the date the new Constitution took effect. So, if the above assessment is correct, TAM will cease to exist as a legal body very soon.

  3. Yes thats true.

    I hear today that general elections could be pushed back to April.

    The same parliament, that worked overtime to pass the constitution and put out the Enabling Act (which gave TAM 79 other state institutions a one-year extension till formal laws were put into place) is now dragging its feet for political reasons.

    There appears to be no sense of urgency to push policy under the new government, unless its for political sweetners.

    Maldives is heading for a constitutional crisis. They have to resolve that first, before tackling economic and social issues.

    For some strange reason, politicians, policymakers and public are divided on the interpretation of the new constitution. They keep telling themselves that the country is not heading for a constitutional void — though the Supreme Court and some civic-minded lawyers keeps reminding them of it.

    The situation is understanable. The country voted in an activist, who was backed by a rainbow coalition that is already straining to stay intact. The head of state in turn, goes in and stuffs cabinet and all levels of government with political activists aligned to the ruling party – MDP.

    Naturally, there is no space for academics and professionals to have a say in the way the country is run. The government’s coalition partners themselves have pointed this out.