Annulling GMR agreement “only option for reclaiming airport”: Dr Hassan Saeed

The only option for “reclaiming the airport from GMR” is to invalidate or cancel the concession agreement with the Indian infrastructure giant, argues Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) Leader and Special Advisor to the President, Dr Hassan Saeed, in a new book (Dhivehi) released on Monday.

The book, titled: “Loss and challenges of the long-term leasing of Male’ international airport to GMR” was launched at a ceremony on Monday at the government-aligned private broadcaster DhiTV by Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed, deputy leader of the DQP.

The booklet covers various issues surrounding the concession agreement awarding management and development of the international airport to a consortium of GMR Infrastructure Limited and Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB), alleged purported national security threats, economic and financial damages and undue advantages for the consortium.

Speaking at the book launching ceremony, Home Minister Jameel said it was the duty of the most capable people in the country to step forward and help “liberate” the nation from “grave problems” during the current “difficult times”.

Jameel claimed the former DQP presidential candidate’s book would reveal a number of facts that the Maldivian people were unaware of before the signing of the agreement.

The Home Minister added that he hoped ongoing efforts by the coalition of parties supporting the current government would yield results.

Dr Hassan Saeed was not responding to calls by Minivan News at time of press.

In his book, Saeed laid out three choices for the government: continuing the agreement in its current form, resolving disputes through dialogue or invalidating the agreement.

The DQP leader contended that cancelling the agreement and nationalising the airport would be the beneficial course of action for the nation.

“There is little hope that GMR would implement changes brought to the agreement through dialogue,” Saeed wrote. “GMR will change what is written in the agreement in black and white any time it pleases. For example, although the agreement states that 27 percent of from oil revenue must be paid to the state, it has been changed. GMR knows very well the skill to change the minds of the government of the day and its senior officials.”

Saeed further claimed that the concession agreement posed dangers to national security, in addition to being contrary to public interest and violating the constitution, the Public Finance Act and the Companies Act.

If the airport was not nationalised in the near future, since all parties in the ruling coalition opposed the deal, Saeed argued that the presidential election in 2013 would become “a referendum” on annulling the agreement.

Saeed claimed that GMR would donate large sums of money to parties in favour of keeping the agreement in place.

Conceding that cancelling the agreement would strain relations with India, Saeed contended that the move would be beneficial in the long-term to both countries.

Saeed compared cancelling the deal to “taking bitter medicine to cure a disease” or “amputating an organ to stop the spread of cancer.”

The book also likened GMR to the Indian Borah traders expelled from the Maldives by former President Ibrahim Nasir.

IFC role

Meanwhile, in June this year, a delegation from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) – a member of the World Bank group and the largest global institution focused on the private sector in developing countries – met with senior government officials to address concerns over the concession agreement.

On the bidding process, which was organised by the IFC and “evaluated based on the payment of an upfront fee as well as annual concession fees as a percentage of gross revenues to the government”, a document by the organisation explained that, “Each bidder was required to demonstrate that it had the requisite experience in developing, designing, constructing, operating, and financing airports of a similar size.

“The technical solutions proposed by the bidders were also expected to consider the specific conditions on Hulhulé Island,  including its physical and environmental constraints, and the coordination required between conventional aviation activities, seaplanes, and motor boats.

“The cornerstone of the project was the construction of a new passenger terminal expected to meet LEED silver criteria and to be carbonneutral—i.e., to minimize energy consumption and carbon emissions through the use of energy-efficiency and renewable-energy technologies, and minimize water consumption. The bidders were also asked to make specific, predefined improvements to the existing airport infrastructure, and to manage all core airport services, including the provision of fuel—a historically established role at Malé airport.”

However, in early September, the government accused the IFC of negligence during the bidding process for INIA – allegations there were rejected by the organisation amidst continued calls from government-aligned parties to renationalise the airport.

Both the government and GMR are presently involved in an arbitration case in Singapore over the airport development.

Previous publications

In August, Dr Hassan Saeed released a book in English entitled, “Democracy betrayed: behind the mask of the island President”.

Speaking to local media at the book’s launch at the studios of private broadcaster Villa Television (VTV), DQP Secretary General Abdullah Ameen said the book detailed reasons why former President Nasheed had to resign on February 7.

Ameen added that the reasons mentioned in the book included the controversial detention of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed and allegations that Nasheed wished to “destroy the values of Islam” in the country.

In the months leading up to the controversial transfer of power on February 7, the DQP published a pamphlet titled ‘President Nasheed’s devious plot to destroy the Islamic faith of Maldivians’.

In an interview with UK’s the Guardian newspaper recently, Saeed said the charges were justified. “You look at his behaviour, his actions, you have to come to that conclusion,” Saeed said.

The Nasheed administration had slammed the publication at the time for containing “extremist, bigoted and hate-filled rhetoric”. The pamphlet and religious-based allegations also led to successive attempts by the Nasheed administration to arrest two senior members of the party and sparked a debate on freedom of expression and hate speech in the Maldives.

Saeed was also a co-author of the book Freedom of Religion, Apostasy and Islam, which discussed the issue of apostasy in Islam and stirred controversy during the 2008 presidential election.


10 thoughts on “Annulling GMR agreement “only option for reclaiming airport”: Dr Hassan Saeed”

  1. The second-to-last paragraph should read " the Nasheed administration to arrest the Deputy Leader and a senior member of the party whose released was ordered during a remand hearing by a judge who was later arrested and detained by the military under orders from the Nasheed-regime leading to the 22-day protests which culminated in Nasheed's resignation from the presidency only after which the Judge was released from detention'.

    You're welcome Minivan :D.

  2. How much did Hassan investigate to publish these claims? Hassan should do thorough investigation and give a clear picture of what the airport achieved in the last 10 years, how the company has been developing and what the country is losing now. Facts of the past and analytical report for future of the airport company are what we need. Guys don’t buy craps from cheap politician. Airport was leased based on financial facts and the economic situation in the country.

  3. GMR go home .... SBI Go home ... Mullay go home ... UNDP go away ... Cable n Wireless go home ... HSBC go home ... Sri Lankan go home ... Habib Bank go home ... Boa hudhu shafeeg go home ... Traders Go home ... Abul Barakaath Go home ... son-in-law bondhu go home ... John Keels go home ... Islamic Bank go home ... Monalals go home .... Thai consulate go home .... Delmas Go home .. Singapore Airlines go home ... Jameel go to Fuvahmulak ... Hassan go to Addu ... Waheed go to America ... Imran go to Kauba.... Shaheem go to Jabal al Rahman ... Nazim go to Suvaruge (evves sharuthakaa nulaa) ..... why cant all these idiots just leave us Maldivians alone and just GO HOME .... home sweet home

  4. This coming from someone like Hassan Saeed who has so much vested interests in kicking GMR out of here, really doesn't lend any credibility to the book or what he has to say. Agree with Ibra. For a supposedly intellectual guy, Hassan Saeed comes across as rather shallow and narrow minded in his analysis of the Nasheed administration. While he certainly would not want to praise Nasheed for any achievements, he has to base his arguments on facts and not on bed time stories told by Jameela, like the stupid pamphlet that the duo published.

  5. Anyone can write a pile of poo like this. Saeed may fool his mates into thinking that he's an intellectual heavy weight, but the guy seriously needs a reality check.

    Saeed, would you care to publish a serious piece of research in a peer reviewed journal? When was the last time you were able to do that?

  6. Hassan Saeed appears to be getting too smart for his own good. First he admits the events of 7th February to be not just a coup, but a unique coup, perhaps because its the first of its kind.

    And afterwards tries to explain what he really meant. Am waiting for his book on how to bring a unique coup. He seems to be writing a book for every political episode in Maldives, so am hopeful that there will be one for a unique coup.

  7. Kaley thee dhen kaakutha???

    I am sure you would not have proper A'levels even. Not to mention O'level.

    Nasheed ah advice dhin iruves furatha media ah kaley copy fonuvee. Hahahahahah.

  8. Hassan Saeed, your party does not have the legal amount of members to be considered a political party. In political terms you are nobody. What you have to say about politics in Maldives therefore do not carry any weight.

  9. Surely Dr Hassan Saeed could also bring the mighty Boskalis to reclaim the airport? Can't he see how successfully Gulhi Falhu and other reclamation projects have been done? Do pay some attention to recent history!

    I hope Dr Saeed takes my recommendation very seriously because reclaiming the airport is a very serious matter!

  10. This Hassam Saeed fella needs serious help.
    Hair-brained, Salafiyyaa trained fella wouldn't have a clue as to how NPV or irr works. What can he talk about the financial evaluation of a project? This fella thinks he can reach Sidrathul Munthaha with a whole lot of camel excreta!!


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