GMR had 77 % stake in project; Malaysia’s MAHB 23 p.c.
Malaysia, which was at the receiving end of Maldives’ decision to cancel the Male airport project along with the Indian company GMR, has sought quick implementation of the Singapore court order that includes compensation and damages.
Like India, Malaysia also feels that the Maldives government should not mix two different issues — pure assessment of contract and legal steps taken and other political reasons behind the contract termination. The Malaysian Foreign Minister’s “take away was more or less the same understanding that we have that there were two separate issues and we would rather have two issues not confused or converged,” External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid told journalists about his meeting with his Malaysian counterpart Anifa Bin Aman on the sidelines of the India-ASEAN summit. The convergence of views by both countries on quick compensation comes a couple of days after Maldivian Attorney General Azima Shukoor said Male could seek compensation from GMR because “we terminated the agreement on the grounds of void ab initio [void from the outset], therefore we will begin the negotiation on the position that the government of Maldives does not require to pay back anything.” This appeared to run counter to Maldives President Mohd. Waheed stating to The Hindu that this was up to the arbitration to decide. GMR had 77 per cent stake in the project to upgrade and operate the airport and the Malaysian government-owned MAHB the remaining 23 per cent. GMR has sought a compensation of $800 millions for the sudden cancellation of the project that was awarded by the previous government. Malaysia has come away with a letter from the Maldives authorities that quality of performance was not the reason for the cancellation of the contract, Mr. Khurshid said adding India had conveyed to Maldives that if there were political reasons behind the termination, they should be contained and not allowed to “spill over” in the bilateral ties.