Parliament rejects the emergency motion submitted on Tuesday regarding leasing land to foreigners from Kaafu atoll Thilafushi for commercial use for 99 years.
Maduvvari MP Adam Shareef, in his petition, said that at a time when Maldivian business owners living in the Malé region are already facing a shortage of land, auctioning off land to foreigners for 99 years will have an adverse impact on the business community as well as the economy of the country.
However, the parliament did not pass the motion for debate. Only nine members voted to debate the motion, while a total of 36 members voted against it.
Housing Development Corporation (HDC) had announced on Thursday the lease of land from Thilafushi for industrial purposes on an auction basis. The notice states that while locals will be able to own land, if a foreigner or a foreign company wins the bid, the land will be leased out for 99 years.
Maldives National Party (MNP) had expressed their concern over this issue as well.
In a statement, the MNP said they were concerned that land from the Malé region designated for industrial purposes was being leased for 99 years to foreigners, considering that the area faces land shortages.
The decision will have a cascading effect on small and medium enterprises as they have to enter into competition with foreign business owners to acquire land, MNP had said.
According to HDC, land from Thilafushi will be sold for industrial purposes in phases through auction. The first to be sold is land in Thilafushi "Zone A". The land have been allocated from the most recently reclaimed area from Thilafushi. HDC, however, did not say how many land plots were being sold.