Government-aligned Jumhooree Party (JP) presidential candidate and business magnate MP Gasim Ibrahim has pledged to establish a faculty of the National University in each atoll of the Maldives.
According to newspaper Haveeru, Gasim said at a campaign rally on the island of Thinadhoo in Gaaf Dhaal atoll last night (June 23) that he would upgrade the National University faculty in the island and open a Villa College campus should he be elected president in September.
Gasim is the chairman of the Villa Group of businesses, which includes resorts, a domestic airline, a cement packing factory, gas providers and retail outlets. Gasim is also the owner of private broadcaster Villa Television (VTV), which airs extensive coverage of the JP leader’s presidential campaign.
Speaking in Thinadhoo, Gasim meanwhile pledged developing the island’s hospital to match the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) in the capital Male’ as well as building an indoor sports center and an artificial beach.
He also pledged to upgrade the regional airport in Kaadedhoo to an international airport, after which additional resorts and city hotels would be developed in the southern atoll.
A Villa gas and cement factory would also be opened in the atoll in his presidency, the MP for Alif Dhaal Maamigili reportedly said.
The inter-atoll ferry service established by the previous government would function reliably under a JP government, he added, and would be overseen by island councils with government subsidies.
Among Gasim’s other pledges made during campaign visits to islands include building an international dock yard in Haa Alif atoll, expanding the previous government’s Aasandha universal health insurance scheme to allow Maldivians to receive medical treatment for free in India and Sri Lanka and establishing Villa College campuses across the country.