Presidential hopefuls differ on GMR: The Hindu

“Both the hopefuls in the Presidential race in Maldives said that they would welcome and encourage foreign direct investment, but differed on the issue of the ousted Male airport operator GMR,” writes R. K. Radhakrishnan for the Hindu newspaper.

“Former President Mohamed Nasheed and former President Maumoon Gayoom’s half-brother, Yaameen Abdulla, are pitted against each other in a second round run-off, scheduled for September 28. The first round, held on September 7, did not throw up a clear winner. To win, a candidate has to garner over 50 per cent of the votes.

Asked if he would invite GMR to come back to manage the Ibrahim Nasir International airport, Nasheed said: ‘We have always been saying that the contract has to be reinstated. Of course it has to go through procedures.’

The Nasheed Government had earlier granted the contract to GMR–MAHB (Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad) to operate the airport.

After he resigned under controversial circumstances on February 7, 2012, the next government, headed by Mohamed Waheed, terminated the contract, claiming it was invalid from the beginning. GMR had slapped a $1.4-billion compensation claim against the Maldives Government in an arbitration that is now underway in Singapore. Yaameen said that the contract was not done properly.

‘Foreign investment and GMR are two different issues. We welcome foreign investment. In the case of GMR, the law was not followed,’ he said, when asked about FDI in general and GMR in particular.

President Mohamed Waheed’s secretary Masood Imad too was of the view that the airport issue should be treated as closed. ‘GMR can come into Maldives with some other project. The Male’ airport is too much an emotional issue,’ he said.

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