Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum is the Fijian Minister for Finance, Public Enterprises, Public Service, Communications, Trade and Tourism.
Prior to his appointment as a Cabinet Minister in the FijiFirst Government, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum was the Fijian Attorney-General and the Minister for Justice, Anti-Corruption, Public Enterprises, Communications, Civil Aviation, Tourism, Industry and Trade and the Minister responsible for Elections under the Bainimarama Government, from 2007 until 2014.
Since joining the Bainimarama Government in 2007, Mr. Sayed-Khaiyum has initiated a comprehensive program to modernise Fiji’s laws, by introducing decrees in such areas as domestic violence, corporate governance and criminal code.
In line with the Bainimarama Government’s campaign against corruption, the Attorney-General oversaw the formation of Fiji’s Independent Commission Against Corruption, the first of its kind in the country and in the region.
The Attorney-General led the preparations for the return to parliamentary democracy by implementing a new system of electronic voter registration (EVR), implementing Fiji’s new political party and electoral laws, and coordinating international aid and assistance for the polls. Fiji successfully held elections on 17 September, 2014.
He oversaw the work to finalise the Fijian Constitution that provides the legal foundation for a common and equal citizenry, while protecting indigenous land ownership and rights. The Constitution breaks new ground in a number of areas, including the establishment of an independent Accountability and Transparency Commission – to which all public office holders will be accountable – and an electoral system that will give all Fijians an equal vote.
The Attorney-General has been a leading proponent of forging public-private partnerships in a number of key sectors – including roads, ports and the mahogany industry – as the best way to deliver quality, value, investment, job creation and transparency to the Fijian people.
He also launched the Fijian Made and Buy Fijian Campaign to support Fijian businesses and and promote Fijian products.
As the Minister for Communications, Mr. Sayed-Khaiyum has liberalised the telecommunications industry in Fiji, increasing access to mobile services, extending coverage to 95% of the country, and making mobile connectivity more affordable.
Chief amongst the Attorney-General’s reforms of the communications sector – which have garnered international acclaim – has been the establishment of community “Telecentres,” which are expected to provide free Internet access to more than 60,000 Fijians – including 5,000 schoolchildren – by the end of the year.
To position Fiji as the IT leader in the region and as a preferred hub for data processing services, the Attorney-General is overseeing the digitalisation of Government services.
He is also overseeing the implementation of a National Switch System- to which all banks and financial institutions will be required to connect. This will facilitate easier and cheaper electronic transactions on the part of businesses and consumers and bank the unbanked.
Mr. Sayed-Khaiyum attended Marist Brothers High School.
He completed his Masters in Law degree at the University of Hong Kong. As part of his Master’s program, he completed a thesis entitled, “Cultural Autonomy-It’s Implications for the Nation-State.”
He also holds a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the University of Wollongong in Australia.
He obtained his Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree at the University of New South Wales (Sydney), Australia. As part of his LLB degree, he completed a thesis on “Constitution making in ‘Divided Societies’ – Fiji a case study.”
He attained his Bachelor of Arts (BA) majoring in Political Science and Development Studies degree from the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia.
He also completed a six-month internship at the Australian Federal Parliament with a former Minister for Aboriginal Affairs.
He is admitted to the Supreme Court of New South Wales and to the High Courts of Australia and Fiji.
Prior to his acceptance of the position of the Attorney-General, he was the General Manager, Group Legal & Compliance and Company Secretary of the Colonial Group of Companies in Suva, Fiji.
Mr. Sayed-Khaiyum is also the Minister for Justice, Anti-Corruption, Public Enterprises, Communications, Civil Aviation, Tourism, Industry and Trade and the Minister responsible for Elections. He is also the Acting Minister for Local Government, Urban Development, Housing and Environment.
Besides working as a Senior Legal Office at the Director of Public Prosecutions Office in Suva, Fiji, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum has also practiced with Minter Ellison Lawyers in Sydney, Australia.