The original Dhivehi article, by reporter Ismail Naseer, was published on the Mihaaru.com website on 1 March, 2017.
The following is a loose translation:
Saying the projects of this government are being conducted in a very transparent manner, President Yameen made fun of the opposition at a PPM event held Wednesday. While appearing in an apparently happy mood, and even smiling at times, he said that people can see not only two sides but six sides of the projects undertaken by his government. To reiterate his statement, he said: if you look at the building being constructed for IGMH, you will see six sides and also, if you look at the bridge between Malé and Hulhumalé, you will see not only two sides but six sides.
If this is mockery, or said in any other meaning, the policy which reveals two sides, according to President Yameen, is a real problem of this government. The truth is, it’s not revealing both sides – most things done by this government are done in a manner which will not show what is underneath. I am going to talk about one such issue.
Currently, the most talked about subject is the [alleged] selling of Faafu Atoll. What we have is an equation to solve. What is visible are two facts. One is that the Constitution was suddenly changed to allow foreign ownership of land in the Maldives and, during that time, when the change was made, a lot of Maldivian delegations and senior government officials visited Saudi Arabia. The other fact is President Yameen has revealed that a mega project is coming to Faafu Atoll. So, when we compose the equation with these two facts or components, the answer or total comes as: Faafu Atoll is being sold to Saudi. When the equation was formulated this way, another fact that gives strength to this is the very close, exceptional, relationship that has developed between Saudi and the Maldives, and also that the Saudi Ambassador has become more visible and is giving out various aid and assistance, and holding various functions inviting the media. Also, within the three years of Yameen’s government, he hasn’t met any other leader as much as he has met the Saudi King. And again, they will hold a meeting next month. Also, this this the second time the King is visiting Maldives in these three years.
The selling of Faafu Atoll comes as an answer because of these facts. It is for certain that people are spreading stories about this based on these facts. The issue is something else: the Government is not revealing what they are undertaking. No senior official of the government wants to comment about this. When such a mega project comes to the Maldives, if that is something that will bring happiness to the public, there is no reason not to disclose this happy news. If they continue to stay tight-lipped, there is room for suspicion that there is something else going on underneath. If selling Faafu Atol,l or if an island or lagoon or, any other part of that atoll, will not be sold, the time has come now to disclose it. If the policy is as transparent as the President says, it is now time to reveal the facts on this. If the government continues to ignore, then the natives of Faafu will remain terrified.
If there is no truth, then steps need to be taken to stop the spread of rumors, and that responsibility lies with the Government. If a project is planned for Faafu Atoll, then swiftly disclose the details, and there are many reasons for that.
The main reason is: Faafu Atoll belongs to the people of Faafu Atoll. The second reason is: many others have also invested in the atoll. The other reason is that many people have planned their entire lives with Faafu as their future, and this, their right, needs to be protected. These are the three main reasons the public has to be informed of the plans by the government on this issue. If a freehold land owned by the public is being sold to a foreigner, it is a serious issue. Even if that is Saudi Arabia, or America, or China, or India, or Sri Lanka, this remains so.
It is time to stop pulling the tongues of the public on the matter of Faafu Atoll. When the deal is done and when some others come and place markers on a property they have been living on, it is unknown how things will deteriorate. What is known is that the issue of Faafu Atoll cannot only be a political issue. it is likely that more serious things may happen in conjunction with this. That is why the Government has to disclose the plans they have made for Faafu Atoll. If they have planned anything, they have to give details of the plans and there is no reason to withhold such information. Sincerity has to be brought forward.
When members of the public are concerned and talking all sorts of stories, disclosing the information will not negatively impact the Government. And that is also what a transparent policy is all about.
Original Dhivehi Source: Mihaaru