Holding a Quran competition had been the last request made by Guraidhoo MP Ibrahim Riza, who died last February, according to K. Guraidhoo Council’s president Hussain Yameen Mohamed.
Riza had died at the age of 55 years in a hospital in Malaysia after a two-year-long battle with cancer on February 23.
Speaking during a commemorative ceremony held in his honor by the opposition PPM-PNC coalition on Friday, PNC’s leader Abdul Raheem Abdulla (Adhurey) conveyed condolences on behalf of the opposition leader Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, who is currently in prison.
“Riza hadn’t served the Guraidhoo constituency alone. He hadn’t served Muli, Guraidhoo and Maafushi alone. He hadn’t served PPM alone. He provided great public service,” he said.
Adhurey said Riza and Yameen had been close, not just politically, but also in personal life.
He said that Riza had been of great service to Yameen in in completing the legal formalities in the purchase of his residence, and during the conflict over PPM’s ownership, which culminated into a court case.
Guraidhoo Council’s president Yameen was in tears as he spoke about Riza, who he described as a father figure, and whose absence he would forever feel.
“He called me from Malaysia and told me he wanted to hold a Quran competition. I told him that we would arrange everything. I asked him not to worry,” he said.
Yameen said Riza never spoke a word of ill against anyone.
He described Riza as a symbol of kindness, who never expressed ill will towards another.
“He never held a grudge. He never held ill intentions towards another. He never spoke a word of ill to another,” he said.
Friday’s ceremony was attended by Riza’s friends and colleagues, including former vice president Dr. Mohamed Jameel Ahmed, who had been Riza’s teacher, and later, his colleague.
Jameel said Riza always had a smile on his face.
“[President Yameen] hastened to ask about Riza’s family. He asked whether I told Abdul Raheem to personally meet his family. He asked that I tell the council president to convey his condolences to the entire constituency,” he said.
“I saw tears in his eyes. There’s no reason that wouldn’t be the case. He was someone who provided great service. He learnt everything at President Yameen’s side.”
Jameel described Riza as an integral part of PPM’s work. He said that Riza had remained loyal to Yameen to the very end.
Riza, an attorney-at-law, had served at the Parliament for 13 consecutive years. He had been a member of multiple parliamentary committees, including the independent institutions committee, judiciary committee, and security services committee.
He had also served as vice president of the Judicial Service Commission during Yameen’s administration.
Riza had been elected to the Parliament as an independent candidate in 2009. He later joined PPM.