Corruption and scam calls during an election are nothing new, even in a small country such as the Maldives. Even in previous elections held in the country, there are always talks regarding calls that offer money in exchange for votes for a political party that the callers are aiming to win.
While election rigging, corruption and scam calls are nothing new to any country that conducts elections to choose the next president, as the Maldives is looking to host the second round of voting for the Presidential election, it appears that the scam calls are now targeting school students who might be first-time voters.
An official from the Ministry of Education has now confirmed that there is a disconcerting case of suspicious calls seeking students' national ID card information, raising concerns about potential election-related scams. These calls and messages have been specifically targeting secondary school students, prompting a swift response from schools and authorities.
Under the guise of conducting surveys, individuals behind these calls and messages have sought to gather sensitive personal information, particularly the national ID card details of students. Some schools have taken proactive measures by alerting parents through Viber groups, cautioning them not to disclose any ID card information in response to such communications. This coordinated effort aims to protect students and their families from falling victim to fraudulent schemes during a critical time in the nation's political calendar.
The ongoing presidential election in the Maldives has added an extra layer of significance to this situation. The first round of the election concluded on Saturday, September 9, with the runoff polls scheduled for September 30. While elections are a crucial democratic process, they can also be susceptible to various forms of corruption and illicit activities.
Corruption during elections is a global concern, and the Maldives is not immune to such challenges. Various forms of electoral misconduct, including vote-buying, intimidation, and misinformation campaigns, have been observed in elections around the world. These activities can undermine the integrity of the electoral process and erode public trust in democracy.
As the Maldives progresses through its election season, it is essential for citizens to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities or attempts to manipulate the electoral process. Additionally, authorities must continue their efforts to safeguard the electoral system's transparency and fairness, ensuring that the will of the people is genuinely reflected in the election results.
While the nation exercises its democratic rights in choosing its leaders, it is equally important to protect the integrity of the electoral process, uphold ethical standards, and safeguard the personal information of citizens, especially the vulnerable student population, from potential exploitation by unscrupulous individuals.