President’s Office Spokesperson “stands by” comments against GMR, Indian High Commissioner

President’s Office Spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza confirmed that he stands by his controversial comments made against Indian High Commissioner D M Mulay last week.

Speaking at a rally on November 9 calling for the government to “reclaim” Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA) from Indian infrastructure giant GMR, Riza described Mulay as a “traitor and enemy of the Maldives and the Maldivian people”.

The remarks have since been widely reported by Indian media, sparking a diplomatic row and forcing the President’s Office to issue a statement distancing itself from the comments.

Riza also spoke at a rally last Friday, characterising the Indian media coverage of his remarks as a “success” and urging participants to persevere “until GMR leaves this country.”

Riza told Minivan News that the comments were made in his “personal capacity” rather than his “official capacity”, adding: “The comments were my personal opinion and I still stand by them.”

Members of parliament expressed concern over the remarks made by Riza, leading to a debate on the matter last Tuesday (November 13).

During the debate, MPs of the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) condemned the comments claiming they were made against diplomatic protocol and could affect bilateral relations with India.

Meanwhile, MDP MP Eva Abdulla alleged that the remarks made by Riza were not those of his own but were rather under “direct orders” from President Mohamed Waheed Hassan.

The majority of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MPs attempted to defend Riza, and tried to switch the focus to High Commissioner Mulay.

In an apparent contradiction to its comments in parliament, the PPM on November 12 issued a statement dissociating the party from the “slanderous” allegations made against Mulay.

Meanwhile, PPM MP Abdul Azeez Jamaal Aboobakr defended Riza, stating that a person’s freedom cannot be limited because of his employment, and that Riza too had his freedom of speech.

Aboobakr also highlighted that Riza had at the beginning of Friday’s speech said that he was going to make the remarks not in his official capacity as the spokesperson, but in an individual capacity.

More recently the Indian Government has expressed concern over the “continuing political instability” of the Maldives.

A statement released by the Indian Government on November 17 also showed concern about the “anti-Indian protests” being staged in the country.

President Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik yesterday told Indian News Agency, Press Trust of India (PTI) that India need not be concerned with affairs in the Maldives.

Speaking about the GMR contract signed under the previous government, Waheed told PTI: “The agreement [to lease INIA to GMR] was signed by the previous government, and the circumstances leading to the stamping of the deal were questionable. Hence, this is not a problem that we have with GMR, but with a bad agreement.

“We have to pay GMR 1.5 million US dollars per month under the current arrangement of the agreement in operation, and that is beyond our capacity.”

The government’s financial liability in the airport deal – its most recent bill for the third quarter was US$2.2 million – is the result a of a civil court case filed by the now ruling-coalition Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP), during the Nasheed administration, which blocked GMR from levying an airport development charge (ADC) as stipulated in its concession agreement.

The Civil Court ruled in the DQP’s favour. Opting to honour the contract, the Nasheed administration instructed the company to deduct the ADC from its concession fees while it sought to appeal the matter.

The new government – which includes the DQP – inherited the problem following the downfall of Nasheed’s government on February 7. In the first quarter of 2012 the government received US$525,355 of an expected US$8.7 million, after the deduction of the ADC. That was followed by a US$1.5 million bill for the second quarter, after the ADC payable eclipsed the revenue due the government.

Combined with the third quarter payment due, the government now owes the airport developer US$3.7 million.

GMR has previously offered to compromise by exempting Maldivian nationals from paying the ADC, but claimed not to have received a response from the new government.

Protests continuing

Meanwhile political groups in the Maldives continue to stage protests against the GMR contract. The Indian infrastructure giant hasa said it is flexible about discussing issues within the framework of the agreement with the Maldives government.

A senior official of GMR told the Hindu Business Line: “We remain flexible within the framework of concession agreement…If they want to scrap the agreement, [in that case] we are finished.

“We have already invested more than $200 million. Our banks are watching. It is impossible for us to scrap and sit back.”

Meanwhile, the Maldives government has been asked by India to ensure the safety and security of its nationals in Maldives and “Indian interests” in the country in view of the ongoing anti-India demonstrations.

The anti-GMR campaign, from which Riza’s comments stem from, has been increasing pressure on the government to annul the agreement.

Adhaalath Party President Sheikh Imran Abdulla – a leading figure in the anti-GMR activities – gave the government a six-day ultimatum to cancel the contract.

Despite the initial date having passed without any official conclusion, Sheikh Imran, speaking at the artificial beach on Friday (November 16) night, said: “The Maldivian President has heard our plea, [He] has said that he heeds and respects it, [He] needs some time to arrange a few things.

“Hence to give [him] some time even if the previously issued ultimatum is up. The work is being done in this manner. Hence to give some space and stay put.”

In light of this information, Sheikh Imran has said that the ultimatum has now been extended to November 30, adding: “Our patience will wear out at some point, after that point we will go for direct action. After November 30, we will go for direct action. We will not stay still.”


18 thoughts on “President’s Office Spokesperson “stands by” comments against GMR, Indian High Commissioner”

  1. Who is this crack pot jumping up and down on the GMR issue? This lose cannon should be going to school to learn some courtesy. I can ask Asif Riza to give him a sponsorship from the money he obtained from sales proceeds of the AAA Company's resort he sold to Sun Travels.

  2. Maldives soon will have no support or friends in the international community. Personal or official opinion the words came out of your mouth you fool !!

  3. The ants in Maldives are revolting............we Indian elephants should be really worried
    Do we really care what you losers think?

  4. Dr. Waheed thinks that he has become the leader of North Korea so that he can fool the whole world he cannot realize that we lie on a piece of dust alongside india kind of a parasite attached to india you fool you can't be destroying our grandchildren, childhood and their future All the politicians here are only hungry for money stupid idiots the country now is facing a very dangerous situation purposely created by the 30 years rulers

  5. Waheed is very clever to use Abbas Adil riza to add an extremist flavor to wat comes out of the presidents office. People need a little bit of fire and spice these days to keep things on the edge, agitate opponents and rally the crowd. With Abbas taking the hard line stance , Waheed can niche in a corner n afford to play the good cop role and deny that what's being said are his actual words and stand on matters controversial. Abbas seems to have established a character for himself in the political scene- as someone whom everyone likes to hate. Perhaps Waheed hopes the hatred being projected towards him by the people will to some extend rub off on Abbas. And hence why he allows to continue this ludicrous clown of a spokesmen to represent the most respectable (supposedly) office in the country.

  6. The masterminds behind this are none other than PPM! They are stirring all the commotion, and come out with press releases to make it look like they are the good guys.

    They will neutralise the JP axis, since DRP is no longer any real threat to them. MDP is the sole contender and with Nasheed embroiled in the Courts, that one looks quite safe too. You see, the chess game is advancing, at a definite pace now towards check mate! The sacrificial pawn is Waheed!

  7. The Maldivians reserve the right to have their opinions and air them wherever they wish. But being a spokesperson of President's office you need to learn what to speak, when to speak and where to speak. This guy needs to learn all this. How come buffoons like these get jobs of such importance. He just officially dragged Indian government in a dispute which was between Maldives Government and an Indian company.

  8. Have you never heard of something called "Ethical code"?
    When you are in the shoes of a MP you cannot have a MP view and a Personal view. You have to assume your responsibilities at all levels whether you are in office or on the streets.
    Why not a new concept of freedom then:Daytime a scholar and at night a prostitute!

  9. Boo hoo Abbas Adil Riza ... you are a dirty mouth rowdy activist, now you can only hold on to your job as presidents spokesperson by eating the vomit you spew against Indian Ambassador and creating hatred against India.

    BMW's Police should do a urine test on this guy, he looks intoxicated.

  10. Oh boy! I wonder what would happen when the Govt of India gets ticked off...I admire their patience but crossing the line is bound to have grave repurcussions financially, politically and geographically.

  11. we r very sam abt this maldives people dont know how to talk..and we forgate wht we r?if we r eating nice food coz of other country helping...we dont have any self product..and i m very doutfull abt all maldives men...they r totaly useless...

  12. we should make a law for MP's coz we want strong and nice country...first we have to sent this MP;s to pass talking reading..and relation..and marketing...

  13. india govt.has to take some action against this MP's,coz this the part of maldives Govt.without permission he cant give any speech in public..india has to stop some help until new Govt..

  14. I hope the Indian Embassy in Male has put this anti Indian lunatic on a no-visa-for-life list......difficult to believe this is a 'President's Office Spokesperson'!! anybody incharge there?
    Let us hope he doesn't need heart surgery or a kidney transplant anytime soon. Let us also hope his children do not require higher education in India.
    A message to all Maldivians:
    If you require medical treatment for yourself, higher education for your kids or wish to borrow even more money to pay government salaries............please leave us cowworshippers alone and ask your sunni brothers in Pakistan or Saudi Arabia.
    They share your beliefs and values.......WE DON'T!!

  15. What a shambles.Is this the government the people of the Maldives really want? Duh.Feels like the saloon scene in a Western - (without the alcohol of course.. oops). Let them slug it out amongst themselves in this mad self destruction. What do they think their big neighbor is going to do if they show they can't control themselves? For goodness sake. Time to lift your heads up from the sand (unless you were part of the drug bust covert op) and also time to keep your heads. This is such an insult to our intelligent and proud people.

  16. When Reeco alleged against Muley right in front of Anni, MDP was praising for the man ?

    What a double standard ? Anni is the man who is behind these things and i doubt that Anni might have given some money to Riza to say those words.

    Knowing that Riza can be bought so easily , Anni could spend few thousands from millions of money that he robbed in last three years.


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