Monday, September 1, 2008

Rags to riches and finally Theemuge?

"Those who say I have a selfish motive to become president are right: I want the job to solve the difficulties people face today." –Gasim Ibrahim

In many a fairytale, the hero starts in humble beginnings and ends in riches… and of course a palace. But even the legendary narrator Hans Anderson will find it difficult to match the real life story of Gasim Ibrahim. The meteoric rise of the Maamigili boy from the job of a farm-help in an uninhabited island to the dizzy heights of his current position as the chairman of Villa Group will be a story that will continue to inspire generations of island boys.

If fortune changes men, then Gasim remains an illustrious exception to this rule. Despite his legendary wealth Gasim leads a fairly simple life and is arguably the most approachable tycoon in the Maldives. His humble days appear to be etched indelibly into his psyche.

"Those who say I have a selfish motive to become president are right: I want to deliver the things that people demand. I want the job to solve the difficulties people face today," Gasim told supporters during the official launching of his election campaign. Such a statement would normally be discarded as political hyperbole. But coming from Gasim Ibrahim, one must give it at least the benefit of doubt. After all, it has always been Gasim's lifelong mission to help people. Who has not heard of Villa scholarships and Villa welfare?

Gasim says his early days of suffering in Male implanted in him a strong desire to help people and improve their conditions. Here again one must give the benefit of doubt to Gasim that he may be telling the truth, because after all, the man has actually spent millions to help improve people's lives.

Some of Gasim's election promises appear to be extensions of the philanthropic work that he has been personally pursuing: the university and the hospitals. Along with this he also promised another welfare scheme –building 1000 flats a year in Hulhumale. This of course is a logistically impossible target, and it will be interesting to watch how Gasim deals with this promise if he gets elected.

Gasim's economic policies include a Mrf 1.5 billion fund to provide low interest loans, introduction of new taxes, establishing four economic zones, and oil exploration. While enhanced taxation will be crucial to implement Gasim's social programs, his ability to raise the level of taxation will remain questionable, given the composition of his core team, which includes some businessmen with doubtful reputations.

Only time will tell whether Gasim achieves his motive. With the election barely a month away, he is racing against time to establish sufficient party presence in the islands to put up a credible campaign. One thing is certain though. Anyone who knows Gasim will testify that the last thing on Gasim's mind is to occupy Theemuge and live like an Arab Sheikh.


Mohamed Naahii said...

Another beautiful compilation of truths by Mr. Waheed. Its very true that in fairy tales the hero starts from the bottom and reaches the top. Similar was the stories of some of the great people we have seen in the world. For an example lets take Sir Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth president of United states of America who successfully led his country through its greatest internal crisis, the American Civil War.

This man who emerged as a successful man from a legecy of failures is still renowned as a wonderful piece of success. Gasim Ibrahim of Maldives could also be refered as such a man who started very low and eventually became the wealthiest person in the nation.

But i would like to ask one question, Like in Fairytales should the people of the maldives give the opportunity to gasim to finish his inspirational story of "The notorious Gasim ibrahim, the clerk of a goverment hospital who became president" in presidential palace "theemuge" or should the people give a second thought on gasims liabilities and capabilities for the top post of the country ??

It's obvious that Gasim Ibrahim is a successful bussiness tycoon, but could we deduce that gasim would make a wise leader wise enough to withstand the challenges and difficulty of the job of being the president of a tiny nation who's economy has been financially blunderd with a huge budget defict, a nation which a huge ratio of its youth gone to drug abuse and other underground illegal activities, a nation where by now islamic extremism have begun to rise day by day and a nation undergoing a hard time because of economical, political and environmental crisis, just because of his success in bussiness and his welfare funds and scholarships for the people ? Looking at him in an acedemical point of view does he really have that capacity in him ?

Very true, that gasim is still following his words ""I do have an ambition and that ambition is to help the people.", with his welfare help and scholarships. He is already serving the people with greatful help from his wealth. Does he really need or must be in the top post of the country in order to serve the people to his Ambition ? I believe he can serve the people without being in the top post and i would prefer the Villa Companies as a perfect palace for him in his story's ending. Why is there the desire for the top post ??

opinions said...

Would you consider a man who was given enough benefits to run monopolies.

Ilyas made sure that Qasim's stock was rolled first and then STO's.. Any business that STO siezes is handed over to Qasim with stock given to him on credit. He then sold these goods at double the price.

Gasim Ibrahim - A millionaire created by this regime for this regime.

issey said...

The story definitely inspires cheap guys like Sappe. Gayoom made Gasim Finance Minister in the hope of using his money to win the elections. To our dismay within three years of Gasim's appointment the country's economy was in ruins. Even our kids have been robbed of their future to support the state budgets proposed by Gasim. Ive been at government meetings when Gasim instructed that priority be given to enetertainment projects for Gayoom and his family like setting up new tennis court and badmington court in Arah over development projects in the atolls. Four wives or four websites praising him does not make him a hero. I feel that Gasim's story ends with him dreaming of Theemuge ever after.

bestguides said...

Truth will be a truth. right? guys. Lets see and wait what happens

ajmeel said...

I think we are getting carried away with Gasim. This is not what we need but this might be the next best alternative. I am a very close friend of Gasim and I know him well. He was happy as Chairman of Villa until he was attacked by Yaameen and tried to destroy him. Abbas Ibrahim, the worst person Maldives have ever seen continued to lobby to destroy Villa and Gasim as he was paid agent of Koli Ali Maniku for the last 30 years. As life became harder to Gasim, through various government regulations controlled by Yaameen, Gasim finally decided to join the young and the bold to register a political party. Like all of us he knew what he was against...a ruthless dictator, but at no time Gasim ever thought Gayoom will have the guts to arrest him despite he being questioned from time to time about his political criticisms. Under Isthafa Ibrahim Maniku's instructions several senior police officers questioned Gasim on many occasions, but he was always released after spending several hours in the cop shed. These episodes embolden Gasim to work for reforms. Finally Gayoom caved in and arrested Gasim and locked him up, and treated him like a dog. This was the turning point. He told me he can never forget that day though he was willing to forgive Gayoom, Isthafaa Ibrahim Maniku and Adam Zahir. Few months later to his surprise he was offered the job of Finance minister. Gasim jumped, while the opposition was shocked and in disarray with little or no funds to continue their activities. Yaameen resigned in protest, calling Gayoom a nut, and a fool to bring the most uneducated businessmen to the post of Finance Ministry. We all knew Gasim cannot stay in a post for too long. We were counting time and as soon as we targeted him, he stepped down. This will be the case even if he is President or not. He cannot stand the heat if things go wrong. Perhaps this is the only hope Gasim won't even try for a second term. However, the only fear for the reformers is " will Gasim leave Gayoom out of the hook. Yes he will and perhaps he will buy him another Palace in Malaysia or even in London for him to remain in exile forever. But for many of us, who tasted the brutality of Gayoom, this is unacceptable, but if you take your country first, than your own gains, this perhaps would be the best alternative for now.

opinions said...

The rest of the Candidates will not buy a palace for Gayoom to stay in exile.

The rest of the candidates will not sign a letter dropped in front of them without reading it.

The rest of the candidates will not argue with IMF and World Bank on the economy.

The rest of the candidates do not have conflict of interest.

Gasim is not even close to being capable of running a Country

The rest of the candidates can't afford to buy out the entire parliament

iakai said...

T$ N0t cH@NgE$ We T@KE, iT$ tHa Ch0!cE wE M@KE tH@T determinE OuR deSTInY

so think well before goin for a vote

iakai said...

Its not changes we take, Its the choice we make that determine our destiny...All these days government, was sellfish to public.Now its the time for public to be sellfish.SO think well before going for a vote.

Hussain said...

one word man "capitalist"

aishath said...

Amazing fairly tale for Gasim Ibrahim the wonder boy from Maamigili. Beautifully compiled piece of art by Dr. Abdullah Waheed.
The time is critical, we dont need all these firy tale presentation we need is a man capable of handling a failed economy, ousting a dictator who has abused the Maldivian people for the past 30 years, a president capable of giving dignity to the people of Maldives.
I dont see any of this so far from the Wonder boy's manifesto. What I see a safe passage for the dictator and his family. This all about an alternative to Gayoom,s legacy. The truth hurts and I would love to see readers divide yet again on this.

Anonymous said...

The New Maldives advised Gayoom and lobbied to bring Gasim as Finance Minister. The New Maldives Founder Dr. Ahmed Shaheed met Gasim Loheege Mahir apartment and stop Gasim joining the MDP in July 2005. New Maldives lobbied and Dr. Hassan Saeed, Dr. Shaheed and Jameel voted in favour to make Gasim as Speaker of the Special Majlis. Today, when the budget, economy and fiscal policy are in mess, we are all blaming Gasim….
News Maldives can be partly blamed for Gasim mess