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To Invest Or Not: GMR Fiasco At Hands Of Yameen & Friends Leave Indian Investors Nervous, Non-Committal

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At the lavish Ashoka Palace in the Indian capital New Delhi, visuals of clear turquoise water, white beaches, exciting under-water experience and boduberu dance set the mood for the delegates of over 400 companies who were here to attend the third edition of Maldives Investment Forum on Tuesday.

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Government in its keynote address tried to recapture the confidence of Indian investors as apprehension was running high due to the abrupt termination of international contract with GMR Infrastructure Ltd.

Government said they were ready to promote a transparent, hassle-free and liberal trading and investment environment and will welcome investment from India with open arms. ” The government is committed to change its legal framework to allow trade and investment to diversify economy and there has been massive progress on the infrastructure front,” Vice President Abdulla Jihad said.

“I want to assure all potential investors that Maldives is open for business. It is open 24 hours,” he added.

Even though the delegates looked impressed and were confident about the potential of doing business in the Maldives, the GMR fiasco held them back from committing immediately.

“No doubt, the Maldives looks like a dream destination for doing business. But, I would like to know more about the legal and bilateral aspects before we move forward,” said a delegate while looking at his info kit on investing in the Maldives

Another delegate who was here to explore the possibilities of investing in telecom services said, “It is very important to have a set up where we can feel secure about investing money in a certain project. Let’s see how it rolls.”

The concern over providing a conductive environment to do business in the Maldives also appeared in Indian newspapers. A leading Indian business paper Mint wrote, “The memory of the Maldives government abruptly terminating a India-Malaysia joint venture for modernising the Male airport in 2012 saw Indian industry seeking greater predictability and protection for investments in the Maldives… The cancellation of the deal had soured ties between India and the Maldives.”

Last month, GMR won a lawsuit over termination of contract to run Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA).  In a major embarrassment, government was ordered to pay USD 250 million to Indian infrastructural company GMR by a 3-member Singaporean Arbitration Tribunal in its final order.

The third edition of the investment forum was held in partnership with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) to seek investments in infrastructural development, airport expansion and various other sectors to boost job creation in the country.

Jihad also announced that the country will sign its first free trade agreement early next year to boost trade and cooperation with other countries.

“It is investment, both foreign and domestic that has transformed our economy and elevated to current position. On the strength of our past achievements, the government is looking into new investments and is actively seeking foreign direct investment as it is one of the fundamental driving forces of Government policies,” he added.

The annual Maldives Investment Forum was held in Singapore in 2014 and in Beijing last year. The next edition of the forum will be held in Doha, Qatar.

Maldives To Blast Coral Reef Even As It Attends COP22 To ‘Save The Climate’

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At a time when 197 representatives  — including the Maldives– have gathered at 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP22) in Morocco to discuss climate change, government’s decision to blast coral reef of Addu City using dynamite has received flak from the opposition and people of the country triggering online campaign against it.

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The Environment Protect Agency on Wednesday asked the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to approve the use of dynamite to blast the reef project to dredge the channel between the islands of Meedhoo and Ismahelahera states.

The EIA had earlier recommended the government to seek alternatives saying the use dynamite can be dangerous and should not be used.

The main-opposition Maldivian Democratic Party criticising government for “reneging” on its international commitments said that the action will cause “irreversible damage”. The party also urged government to respect its international commitments.

“Disregarding the EIA recommendations, it is deeply worrying the Minister of Environment has instructed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to approve the use of dynamite to blast the reef in Meedhoo…. It is deeply troubling the Maldives government is engaged in activities that will further cause irreversible damage.”” MDP said in the statement issued on Saturday.

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Ahmed Saleem at COP22


Maldivians took Twitter to run an online campaign to bring the attention of the ongoing COP22 where Ahmed Saleem is currently representing the Maldives and Alliance of Small Island States (AIOSIS).


According to Act on Environment Protection using dynamite for blasting coral reefs is an offence punishable by huge fees.

The practice of blasting coral reefs was discontinued by former President Maumoon Gayoom in the Maldives due to its negative impact on the environment.

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More than 60% of coral in reefs in the Maldives has been hit by “bleaching” as the world is gripped by record temperatures in 2016 due a strong “El Nino” phenomenon, the Guardian reported in August. The Maldives which is just 4 feet above sea level contains around 3% of the world’s coral reefs and is considered particularly at risk due climate change and sea level rises.

Shoko Noda, UNDP Representative of Maldives had also tweeted asking for action on climate change ahead of COP22.

UNDP Maldives also called for action on climate change saying that livelihoods and economy in the Maldives depend on natural resources.

It’s U-Turn: Ex-HM Umar Naseer Dubs Mohamed Nasheed’s Terror Conviction ‘Unlawful’

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In  a bid to attack President Abdulla Yameen, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s loyalist Umar Naseer. in an apparent u-turn. said that conviction of former President Mohamed Nasheed was “unlawful” fueling speculations of coalition between the two to counter the dictatorial regime.

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Former Home Minister Umar taking a strong position on PPM’s fifth anniversary said Nasheed’s arrest of judge “was not an act of terrorism,” Maldives Independent reported.

His u-turn on rival Nasheed followed Maumoon’s decision to withdraw support from Yameen-led government alleging authoritarianism and corruption.

Umar who had previously been at loggerheads with Nasheed on various occasions said, “I do not want Mohamed Nasheed to return to the presidency. But justice is justice. He abducted a judge. He abducted the judge as the commander-in-chief. That is not terrorism. That is unlawful arrest. The sentence for that is between two to three years in jail. We are advocating for justice.”

PPM Falls Apart On Its 5th Anniversary But Twitter Is Excited About The Cake

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PPM’s fifth anniversary cake took center stage on Thursday even as ex-President Maummon Abdul Gayoom withdrew support from President Abdulla Yameen-led government.

The cake, which was earlier reported to have spoiled by police forces, was later cut by Maumoon with his wife Nasreena.

As the PPM Crisis took unprecedented turn on Thursday, Twitter could not stop obsessing about the cake to take dig at the Gayoom brothers.

Gayoom Brothers’ Rivalry Rips PPM Apart; Yameen Govt Set To Fall As Maumoon Withdraws Support?

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After over a six-month family feud, former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom withdrew his support from his half-brother Abdulla Yameen-led government with immediate effect followed by Supreme Court verdict that upheld the High Court’s decision to make later the head of the party.

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The rift between the brothers that led to division of party into two factions escalated on Thursday during the fifth anniversary celebration of PPM when Maumoon was stopped by security forces from attending the event at the party’s office.

Three tweets followed by the incident within three hours apparently opened Pandora’s box of Maumoon’s resentment wherein he finally announced withdrawing his support from the ruling government.

The announcement was made following this tweet:

Later Thursday night, Head office of PPM under Maumoon’s faction was found chained allegedly by supporters of Yameen, however, police did not confirm who the culprit was, Sun Online reported.

Maumoon, meanwhile alleged that some of the properties of PPM was also stolen.

Earlier on Thursday, eight MPs from ruling party had joined Maumoon’s faction and said that they will work independently defying Yameen’s diktat in national interest.

It is yet to be ascertained if Yameen would be able to prove majority on the floor of People’s Majlis.

MDP Cries Foul Over Election Commission’s Removal Of MPs Eva Abdulla And Ibrahim Mohamed Solih

in News/Politics by

In a deteriorating political climate in the Maldives, the Election Commission has struck off nearly half of the Maldivian Democratic Party’s members from its registry after the parliament approved a law requiring all political party members to submit their fingerprint records.

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Some 18,803 members were removed, reducing the main opposition party’s membership to 27,805 members.

The Election Commission on Thursday, effectively removed MDP MPs, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and Eva Abdulla from the Party’s membership list. MP Ibu Solih is a founding member of the MDP, and is also the Party’s Parliamentary Group Leader. MP Ibu Solih is currently serving his fifth term in Parliament, whereas MP Eva Abdulla is serving her second.

The Election Commission, whose independence has been compromised since the appointment of individuals politically aligned to the Yameen Government, began their insidious meddling with Party membership lists in July 2014.

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MDP MP Eva Abdulla is the first women to be elected to the governing council of the Maldives first democratic party.

A fingerprinted form for political party membership was first introduced by a regulation in 2010, and by law in 2013. Then in July 2014, the elections commission gave all parties a six-month deadline to re-register all members whose fingerprints were not on file.

Other parties affected by the law include the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party, the Jumhooree Party and the Adhaalath Party. The ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives, which emerged as a breakaway faction of the DRP in 2011, will not be affected.

The PPM, with 37,633 members, is now the largest political party in the country.

The DRP lost nearly 10,000 members, and now has only 3,966 registered members. The JP’s membership was reduced by 3000, while some 1000 members were taken off the AP’s registry.

The JP now has 10,989 members, and the AP has 9,009.

The MDP and the DRP challenged the order at the civil court, arguing that the requirement cannot be applied retroactively, a view the attorney general has supported.

The case moved onto the High Court, which granted an injunction on the Election Commission’s order. In reaction to the injunction, the ruling party used its majority to circumvent the courts and passed an amendment to the Political Parties requiring all members to submit fingerprinted membership forms or be taken off the lists.

MPs Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and Eva Abdulla have submitted fingerprinted forms twice to the Election Commission only to be repeatedly rejected. Their forms were submitted prior to the deadline and following the second submission they were not informed of the cause of rejection.

MDP’s International Spokesperson, Hamid Abdul Gafoor said, “it is slightly suspicious how keen the EC were to inform Parliament of the removal of MDP MP Ibu Solih and MP Eva Abdulla when they and the Parliament have repeatedly refused to acknowledge the MDP’s requests to remove MP Moosa Manik as a member of the MDP’s Parliamentary Group. The EC’s actions continue to obstruct peaceful political activity, making a mockery of our constitution and the hopes for a free and fair election.”


Although the PPM claims the law is necessary to prevent fraud, MDP MPs said it was aimed at reducing the party’s membership, and cutting off its state funding, as the number of members in a party determines the size of the annual grant it receives from the state budget.

The elections commission has meanwhile withheld funding for all political parties citing leadership vacuums and mismanagement by some parties.

This comes at a time when there is growing disillusionment in the institutions of the Maldives, including the independence of the Election Commission.

In July, former President of the Elections Commission, , had said that the people of the  have lost confidence in the institution and that there was no need of introducing in the island nation.

 

The Maldives’ Story Of ‘Leave. Leaving… Left’ Commonwealth: All You Need To Know

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September 18

CHRI: The nations is sliding into a dictatorial system once again and the situation will soon push the island nation into the brink of violence and anarchy. Suspend, exclude and halt the current government.

September 23

CMAG: Deeply disappointed in lack of progress in the Maldives and now on a formal agenda and threat of suspension in March.

Ruling ‘Defamation Fame’ MP Jaufar Dawood: Commonwealth is ‘camel fart’. If we haven’t any advantage as a member of the Commonwealth, why shouldn’t we leave them?

September 25

Ruling Riyaz Rasheed: Now is the time for Maldives to leave Commonwealth. People’s Majlis would deliberate over the matter and make its decision when it re-opens.

September 27

Willy Mutunga: The country is facing severe democracy deficit.

October 6

Majlis reopens

October 13

Foreign Ministry: Maldives has decided to leave the Commonwealth.


October the 13- the day when President Abdulla Yameen-led government, taking forward its isolation policy and dictatorial behaviour, slayed 34-year-old tie with the Commonwealth. The government alleged that the group was deliberating “punitive actions” following the situation that led to ouster of former President Mohamed Nasheed in 2012. Foreign Ministry said it was “difficult, but inevitable” step as the 53-nation group has been treating the current government “unjustly and unfairly”.

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The development came weeks after the rhetoric from all the President’s men -who asked the government to flex its muscles – to leave the group after Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) put the Maldives on its formal and gave another six months time to work on the six-point threatening suspension from the group. That time, too, the ruling party MP Riyaz Rasheed indicated to “a group of individuals living in self-exile in UK” who were influencing the group’s decision.

The Foreign Ministry scuffling at the group further said that the Maldives was being used as an object for organisation’s own relevance.

(Maldives)… would be an easy object that can be used, especially in the name of democracy promotion, to increase the organisation’s own relevance and leverage in international politics

The decision to quit the Commonwealth created international furore within minutes with many expressing not just disappointment over it but also suggesting that consequential international isolation will adversely affect its citizens who are already fighting a long battle with human rights abuses, high-level corruption and crackdown on dissent.

One of the first reactions came from President Yameen’s half brother and former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom who has been at loggerheads with the former over a number of issues. said he was disappointed on leaving the group as he was the one who “led the country into Commonwealth”.

The 78-year-old President of Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) said he was disappointed on leaving the group as he was the one who “led the country into Commonwealth” and that “isolation will not solve problems”.

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Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said members of the Commonwealth will share his sadness worldwide.

I have received news that the Maldives Government has today decided to leave the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth family at large – its member governments and its peoples worldwide – will share my sadness and disappointment at this decision.

British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and Maldives James Dauris said that he was saddened by the decision.

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Former President Nasheed took social networking site Facebook to express his anger and said:

Removing the Maldives from the Commonwealth is an act of desperation by a President who doesn’t like the truth and is unwilling to be held accountable for his authoritarianism.

Internationally acclaimed human rights watchdog Amnesty International suggested that instead of lashing out at international criticism, the country should address the situation.

Instead of complaining about unfair treatment, the Maldives government should look at engaging more constructively with the international community.

Former foreign minister Ahmed Shaheed told New York Times that isolation will bring more criticism to the country.

He is getting deeper and deeper into isolation. He would think he’s insulating himself from Commonwealth criticism, but he will receive more and more.

David White, the chief of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative called October the 13th as sad day.

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Other stakeholders- MPs, journalists, politicians and activists – took Twitter to express shock and disappointment.

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The government also received flak worldwide for severing ties with Iran to become a part of the league of Sunni nations to join Saudi Arabia in setting diplomatic agenda against the country.

President Yameen is also facing in-party isolation as most of his former cabinet ministers are either jailed, a part of rainbow coalition Maldivian United Opposition (MUO), have resigned citing differences. And, most importantly from his half-brother, mentor and party chief- Maumoon Gayoom.

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Meanwhile, Boris Johnson – the Brexit rival of Nasheed’s good friend David Cameron- who is currently the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom said:

(The UK will) continue to work with the Maldives Government to help strengthen democracy, particularly freedom of speech and the media and independence of the judiciary.

Govt’s Decision To Leave Commonwealth Creates International Furore, Ex-Prez Gayoom Hits Out Too

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Maldives decision to end the 34-year-old tie with the Commonwealth on Thursday has created international furore with many expressing disappointment over the decision and warning international isolation.

Former President and longest running dictator Maumoon Abdul Gayoom who “led the country into Commonwealth”  said isolation will not solve problems.

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British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and Maldives James Dauris said that he was saddened by the decision.

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Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said:

“I have received news that the Maldives Government has today decided to leave the Commonwealth.

“The Commonwealth family at large – its member governments and its peoples worldwide – will share my sadness and disappointment at this decision.

Former President Nasheed took social networking site Facebook to express his anger and said, “Removing the Maldives from the Commonwealth is an act of desperation by a President who doesn’t like the truth and is unwilling to be held accountable for his authoritarianism.”

Government left Commonwealth alleging punitive action by the 53-nation group following the situation that led to ouster of former President Mohamed Nasheed.

The foreign ministry calling the decision “difficult but inevitable” alleged unfair and unjust treatment by the group over it’s decision to put the country on formal agenda and threatening suspension after the government failed to resolve political crisis.

Here are some other reactions from Twitter:

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Fenaka Chairman Resigns After ACC Launches Probe Into Theft Of USD 1 M

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Chairman of Fenaka Corporation, Mohamed Nadheem has resigned after anti-graft watchdog Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) launched a probe into theft of USD 1 million from state coffers.

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Photo Courtesy: Fenaka

  • No official confirmation has been made in this regard and the reason for the same is stated to unclear
  • Nadheem is the husband of former President Maumoon Gayoom’s daughter Yumna Maumoon
  • The company is undergoing major changes in top management after the allegations of corruption
  • MVR 17 million issued by the corporation USD 1 million went missing in August this year
  • Former Managing Director of Fenaka Corporation, Ahmed Nimal was removed from his position on September 26

Nadheem in his resignation letter to Privatisation board said:

Since my appointment to the post on December 25, 2013 I have performed my duties sincerely, to the best of his abilities. He said that he worked with the aim of achieving goals, related to the company, outlined in the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) manifesto. With the help of the company’s board, I tried to make the 24-hour electricity pledge a reality. I worked for the betterment of the Maldivian people.

Prez Yameen Urges Second Term To Be Able To Pay Off Govt’s Debt

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President Abdulla Yameen who was in the island city of Fuvahmulah urged the residents to vote for him for a second presidential term so that he pay off the government’s external debt borrowed for infrastructural development on capital city Male.

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President met people protesting over subsidy cut on staple food of which 30 members were opposition supporters who demanded reversal of hike and his resignation.

Taking advantage of the situation, Yameen subtly slamming the opposition, asked people to vote for him for the second term saying that he would be able to pay off debt in his second term. He, however, did not say anything about the price hikes in his half-an-hour long speech.

“When they register such serious concerns over the repayment of this debt, it is clear that there in no one in their ranks who is capable of repayment,” he said as quoted by Maldives Independent. “This is why I believe I should get a second term so that we can pay off our debt.”

This was President’s first public appearance since August when the rumours of toppling him took the front seat.

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