The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) expresses deep concern over Government plans to effectively cede control of an entire atoll to a foreign government.
President Yameen recently announced plans to sell Faafu atoll to the government of Saudi Arabia, without any form of consultation with the people of Faafu or the Maldives. This has resulted in understandably public outrage. To date, no information on the proposed project has been shared with the public.
The MDP expresses serious concern that the Faafu plans – which would allow a foreign power to control one of the country’s 26 atolls – amount to creeping colonialism by the Saudi government.
The MDP parliamentary group also stated last week its intention to overturn a constitutional amendment passed in 2015 that allows foreign parties to own land in the Maldives. The national council of MDP has voted to reverse any contracts awarded to any party without due process.
Police warn Maldivians not to criticise Saudi King
The MDP further condemns the government and the police for effectively threatening legal action against Maldivians who oppose Saudi Arabia and the Saudi king.
In a flagrant violation of the Constitution and Maldivians’ fundamental rights to free expression, the police warned on Wednesday that anyone who acts in a manner that is “offensive to a foreign dignitary” would face action.
The MDP is also deeply concerned about the rapidly increasing radicalisation in the Maldives. Reportedly, over 200 Maldivians have traveled to Syria and Middle Eastern countries, supported by known terrorist groups including ISIS.
King Salman is due to arrive in Male in mid March. Faafu residents have vowed to protest the Monarch’s visit. President Yameen has renewed attacks on the opposition in a cowardly attempt to hide public sentiment against the sale of Faafu Atoll during the King’s visit.
The MDP’s campaign office was raided by police shortly after President Yameen met the police heads on Wednesday. The MDP believes the government is facilitating a land grab by a foreign power, and trying to close down all debate and scrutiny over the issue.