UNMC REACTS: HUSTINGS 2018

The heat is on when the elections are finally here! But first, let’s look at the thoughts of the people from last week’s hustings…

 

On Awareness of the Hustings and Candidates

Did you attend the SA hustings? If yes, why? If no, why not?

Yes, I attended the hustings as I am a member of the elections committee. It is required for all EC members to be present at the hustings in order to help the Vice Chair to facilitate the hustings smoothly.

Saajit Irfahn, Member of the Election Committee

Yes, I attended the hustings. It’s because I want to participate in the upcoming elections and I’d like to make sure that my vote goes to a person that has the right credibility to be an SA executive.

Krishan Kandiah, FAM Year 2

Yes, a friend dragged me along. But also because I wanted to know who I should vote for.

Thevarraj Sellayan, FIB

Yes, I was interested in seeing the candidates in person and introducing and elaborating their manifesto points.

Sarah Soe, Activities Officer

At first I had not planned on attending it, but then I realised I wanted to vote for the most qualified and capable candidate so I went to hear what they had to say.

Aishath, Econs Year 1, Spectator

I’ve seen 2 to 3 elections and the participation rate each year is decreasing. Several posts were uncontested, and less people are interested in the hustings too.

Vissvanathram, FAM Year 2, Spectator

The Voters’ Perception Survey (Source: UNMC IGNITE Facebook page)

I think the Voter’s Perception Survey is a good initiative, yet lately many students are reluctant to run in the elections.

Hisham, Home Student Officer

 

Are you aware of what goes on during the hustings? Do you think sufficient information is provided for the students to vote?

Yes, as a member of the EC we are required to know the function and purpose of the hustings. Moreover, we pay close attention to what the candidates present to the audience and how they behave as we would like to make sure candidates are complying with the rules. Yeah I do think students get sufficient info to vote because before the hustings itself the Vice Chair sent out emails containing links to manifestos and instructions on voting.

Saajit Irfahn, Member of the Election Committee

Yes, I am aware of what goes on during the hustings. The information is available only if you know how to access it. To put it in context, asking questions gets you answers.

Krishan Kandiah, FAM Year 2

Yes, I’m aware and I think the right amount of information is given.

Thevarraj Sellayan, FIB

Quite aware. I believe sufficient information is provided, however, I fear that it isn’t reaching enough students.

Sarah Soe, Activities Officer

I went for it thinking it might be a waste of time, but it turned out to be really informative and eventful. I learnt a lot about the candidates and I intend to attend the next one.

Aishath, Econs Year 1, Spectator

The candidates can give speeches, but talk is cheap. We will have to see if they can live up to what they claim to be able to accomplish. However, the hustings should give students enough information to vote.

Vissvanathram, FAM Year 2, Spectator

I think students are sufficiently informed of the candidate’s plan and their manifesto but do not know the specific roles of each position. In terms of being aware of what the candidates plan to implement I think students have enough information.

Hisham, Home Student Officer

How much do you know about the candidates? What do you think about their manifestos and their ability to run for the position?

I don’t really know most of the candidates personally but based on hustings most of them seem rather friendly and approachable. Some of the manifestos are quite ambitious whereas some of manifestos covers things that are not jurisdiction of the portfolio they are running for, hence this makes me question their credibility of the running candidate. However, there were some candidates who gave rather simple and practical manifestos. Regarding the hustings, I felt most of candidates either just spoke or elaborated their manifestos, most of them didn’t have concrete plans to back the points on their manifestos and nobody did something dynamic or out of the box.

Saajit Irfahn, Member of the Election Committee

Some personally, some on the surface. Most manifestos are ambitious and they may have the ability to take up the position. However, a lot of candidates do not know that approval from upper management is required for the SA to function and for any major change to take place.

Krishan Kandiah, FAM Year 2

I only knew about the candidates after attending the hustings. Prior to that, I’ve seen them around but never heard of them. I think both candidates running for president have got feasible manifestos although one showed more ability to run for the position than the other.

Thevarraj Sellayan, FIB

I know some of the candidates while others are quite new to me. I think the manifestos this year are decent enough, whether it is feasible or not is another story, but they have a lot of ambition. Several positions I see either candidates running the post, which is a good thing, however, there are other positions that I fear would be left for R.O.N. as the candidates show the inability to perform, in terms of their manifesto, and their confidence.

Sarah Soe, Activities Officer

 I know Lamath through the Maldivian Society and Am is in my class but I don’t personally know either of them.

Aishath, Econs Year 1, Spectator

I think most of the candidates had a pretty good manifesto except the VP who did not seem to know what his official duties were. Maybe a quick questionnaire should be implemented before candidates partake in elections.

Vissvanathram, FAM Year 2, Spectator

Candidates for Home Officer

I know the Home Officer candidates and some of the others as well. Being an SA exec is a big responsibility and this year most of the candidates do not hold positions in Clubs and Societies. As a result, they might not have concrete leadership skills.

Hisham, Home Student Officer

 

On the New Voting System, IRV

What do you think about the new voting system? Do you believe this system would help in electing the best candidate or would the older system do the same justice?

Instant Run of Voting was implemented by the EC this year so that it could allow for a better representation of candidates in the SA as a candidate who wins must achieve 51% majority. Moreover, IRVs allow for candidates of similar social circles to run as its allows people to rank their preference of candidates rather than just pick one candidate hence this would allow friends, people of same nationality to run for positions and prevent the votes from splitting. In short to see the full benefit of IRVs we need to see an election where each position has at least 3-4 candidates running, sadly this isn’t the case here.

Saajit Irfahn, Member of the Election Committee

The new system is as good as the old one.

Krishan Kandiah, FAM Year 2

This is my first time voting, hence I’m not familiar with the past voting system and I’m not aware of how the new voting system works.

Thevarraj Sellayan, FIB

I think the new voting system would help a lot in different ways. I believe it promotes the idea to voters that despite voting #1 for your favourite candidate, your vote won’t go to waste if that candidate isn’t chosen. Hence, your vote isn’t wasted! I believe the system would help and work, however, as this system requires 3 or more candidates, it hardly applies this time around, which is disappointing.

Sarah Soe, Activities Officer

 I know of it but not in depth. All I know is that you can rank the candidates based on your preference.

Aishath, Econs Year 1, Spectator

I recall reading it through the email sent to everyone but I am not exactly familiar with it.

Vissvanathram, FAM Year 2, Spectator

I actually prefer the new voting system. When students are allowed to rank their preference, they can better express who they really want to receive the position.

Hisham, Home Student Officer

 

On the Decrease in Candidates and Voting in Hustings 2018

What are your thoughts on the low number of candidates that are running in this election? Do we need to create more awareness on the SA amongst the students?

This comes back to IRVs again, we hoped that IRVs would encourage more candidates to run this time which was not the case. Honestly speaking the EC and I were hoping for a good number of candidates to run as more competition is always healthy. Regarding awareness, a lot of efforts were made, for instance this was the longest nominations period which spanned over 2 weeks yet not many people ran. Also, this year EC added banners and buntings, made a pack to inform students about the roles of each of the positions, and we posted marketing materials on social media. Despite all these efforts there were low number of candidates. I personally feel this could have been because most students were already in a holiday mood due to CNY holidays hence their minds weren’t really focused on other things possibly. Moreover, as compared to past years I feel the drive for students to run for SA positions has dropped gradually. So, I think efforts need to be made to bring back that drive and enthusiasm to run.

Saajit Irfahn, Member of the Election Committee

I think it is a good message to upper management for them to start prioritizing the students instead of making poor decisions that do not contribute to anyone’s convenience. Yes, more awareness is required. People need to start asking questions and not expect everything to be spoon fed.

Krishan Kandiah, FAM Year 2

I believe there’s enough awareness regarding the SA amongst the students and the low number of candidates may be the result of students giving up on the SA as they’re not satisfied with the changes made and/or feel like no change is being made.

Thevarraj Sellayan, FIB

Like I’ve said earlier, it’s disappointing. I think the problem isn’t raising awareness but several negative issues cause students to fall out from the SA. One of them, there’s the idea that change is difficult, and it is! However, being part of the SA is being responsible for 4500+ students into finding out why things aren’t feasible or what can be done. I believe if we were to raise awareness on anything, it would be what the SA does and what each officers’ portfolio consists of.

Sarah Soe, Activities Officer

In your opinion, would the rest of the student body who did not bother going for the hustings vote?

I think they would. Students can make their decision based on the candidate’s manifestos or simply because they personally know them.

Aishath, Econs Year 1, Spectator

Probably not the whole campus but students will vote. However, they might not vote seriously.

Vissvanathram, FAM Year 2, Spectator

I think not all of the students would vote and many of them are not aware of what the SA does.

Hisham, Home Student Officer

On the Controversies during Hustings 2018

What do you think of the controversies that came up throughout the hustings?

As with any elections there will always be some controversy. The EC made as much effort as possible to keep it to a minimum, and during hustings the Vice Chair did his level best to ensure the hustings were chaired in a very fair manner. Sadly, despite all the efforts made still some controversies sprung. From an ex-candidate’s point of view, I can tell you this. Once you are there on that stage in front with all the eyes watching you, there will be some tension felt which clouds your judgement leading you to say the wrong things and I feel that’s the case for some of candidates who got caught in the controversies. Sadly, its human error. However, there were some candidates who got stuck in controversy due to their complacent attitude towards the post they were running for which eventually led to their fall and caused people to question their credibility and integrity.

Saajit Irfahn, Member of the Election Committee

Controversies, to me, are just there to hide the real truth. It’s there to spice up the situation and keep the general public entertained when the real problem is shunned aside. The student body does not understand how the SA operates, the problems they face, the various portfolios that make up the executive committee and the influence students possess towards upper management’s decision making.

Krishan Kandiah, FAM Year 2

No comment.

Thevarraj Sellayan, FIB

There were several and I could go into detail of each and every single controversy, but I don’t know which ones more important to address than the next. One thing I must say though that if students still believe that being an SA Executive means “getting paid to do nothing” then I would advise them to approach an officer and enquiring about their workload OR be part of a network, any one would do. Then repeat try to repeat that statement.

Sarah Soe, Activities Officer

 The most memorable part of the event was when Am got questioned by Celine, the School Representative of School of Economics. I was shocked to hear Celine’s allegations and Am’s response to them.

Aishath, Econs Year 1, Spectator

To me the part where the VP candidate gets grilled stands out the most. People make mistakes, but I think candidates running for positions should be accountable.

Vissvanathram, FAM Year 2, Spectator

I think the VP candidate brought the most controversy during the hustings. He does not have enough information about how the SA functions.

Hisham, Home Student Officer

Written and interviewed by Suchitra and Charmaine Phong

"They say that great minds think alike, but also fools seldom differ"

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