Maldivian opposition warns against atoll sale to Saudi Arabia

Press TV- Members of the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) have warned of the serious consequences of Saudi Arabia’s plan to gain full control of an entire atoll in the South Asian island country.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud will pay a rare visit this month to six Asian countries, including Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Japan, China, and the Maldives.

MDP members warned on Friday that the decision by President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s government to “sell” Faafu, one of the 26 atolls, to Saudi Arabia would aggravate Wahhabism in the country.

Maldives is reportedly one of the highest per capita contributors of foreign militants to the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group, which has been wreaking havoc mainly in Syria and Iraq.

Wahhabism is the radical ideology dominating Saudi Arabia, freely preached by government-backed clerics there, and inspiring terrorists worldwide. Daesh and other Takfiri terror groups use the ideology to declare people of other faiths as “infidels” and then kill them.

An aerial view of Faafu Atoll’s Nilandhoo Island (file photo)

MDP member and former foreign minister, Ahmed Naseem, said the Maldivian government had not bothered to take people’s consent.

“In the old days, selling land, which is scarce in Maldives, to foreigners would have been seen as high treason punishable by death,” he said.

The Maldivian government passed a constitutional amendment in 2015, allowing foreigners to possess lands in the country.

Meanwhile, in a report, The Times of India described Maldives’ potential sale of the atoll to Saudi Arabia as “another security challenge” to India in its neighborhood.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with Maldives’ President Yameen Abdul Gayoom before a delegation-level meeting in New Delhi on April 13, 2016. (Photo by AP)

India has been unwilling to be seen as obtruding upon the internal affairs of Maldives. However, it may soon be required to take a position with Maldives’ presidential election likely next year, the report said.

Maldives remains the only country in India’s neighborhood that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has refrained from visiting.