August 30, 2018: Muizz and his wife stand behind President Yameen during the Sinamale bridge opening ceremony. Dhauru File Photo

Muizz threatens to cancel 'non-beneficial' foreign pacts

Muizz assured on Thursday that his government would not sign an agreement that would not benefit the people.

31 August 2023

By Mohamed Muzayyin Nazim

Opposition PPM-PNC presidential candidate Dr Mohammed Muizzu on Thursday threatened to terminate agreements with foreign countries and expel foreign companies if they are not beneficial to Maldives and its people. 

Muizz, who has previously expressed concern over the non-disclosure of the Thilamale Bridge project agreement with India's Afcons, made the remarks while speaking at his campaign rally in B. Eydhafushi on Thursday.

"We will look at the agreements that are not disclosed. We will study what is in the agreement and fix anything that does not benefit the people," he said, referring to the agreements and projects signed by the government with India.

"By changing it to benefit the people, all the projects that benefit the people will be continued. But even then, for example, if the agreement is not in any way worth it, we'll do the same with them as we did with GMR."

The first MDP government handed over the development and operation of the Velana International Airport (VIA) to India's GMR.

The government of President Mohamed Waheed, who came to power after then President Mohamed Nasheed's rule came to an abrupt end in 2012, terminated the agreement with GMR. Muizz was serving as the housing minister at the time. 

Muizz assured on Thursday that his government would not sign an agreement that would not benefit the people.

Muizz said at the rally:

  • The withdrawal of Indian troops from Maldives will begin from the first day of his government; it will be achieved through the beautiful principles of diplomacy

  • The presence of any country's troops in Maldives is unacceptable; foreign policy will be shaped accordingly

"This country is an independent and sovereign country. We will not allow [or] agree to do anything that undermines the independence of the country," he said.

Yameen's 'visionary thinking', relationship with China

The most important project started during the five-year rule of former President Abdulla Yameen, during which Muizz continued as the housing minister, was the Sinamale Bridge. The bridge, which was awarded to a Chinese company with Chinese loans and assistance, had turned five on Thursday.

On the occasion, Muizz said the opening of the bridge was a very "historic moment".

"This exact hour of August 30 in 2018. That is the time when the so called impossible bridge project was completed and opened," he said, standing on the podium at 9:30 p.m on Thursday.

Muizz, who was next to Yameen at the opening ceremony five years ago, recalled the memories.

Muizz said the historic moment lit up with fireworks showed the strength of the policy of a visionary leader.

“It marked the end of a strong struggle for the future of the country, for the sake of its people, with strong enthusiasm and determination to take it to new heights,” he said.

"The people are benefiting from it today. That is the leadership this country needs today."

Muizz said China had not done anything to undermine Maldives's independence during the Yameen government.

"President Yameen's government maintained very close relations with China. That is, in the best interest of this country. That country did not cross our boundaries. They did not meddle with our freedom,” Muizz said, praising the relationship with China and noting that it will continue in his government.

"The country has grown [because of that relationship]. So, that close relationship will remain that way”.