Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum


Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, CF (born 24 September 1965[1]) is an Indo-Fijian politician and a cabinet minister. He is the Fijian attorney general and the Minister for Economy, Civil Service and Communications, and also serves the minister responsible for climate change.[2] He is the third-highest polling candidate from the Fijian general elections of 2014[3] and 2018.[4]

Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum
Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum 2016.jpg
Sayed-Khaiyum in 2016
33rd Attorney General of Fiji
Assumed office
6 October 2014
PresidentRatu Epeli Nailatikau
George Konrote
Wiliame Katonivere
Prime MinisterFrank Bainimarama
Preceded byFaiyaz Koya
In office
8 January 2007 – 24 September 2014
PresidentRatu Josefa Iloilo
Epeli Nailatikau
Prime MinisterFrank Bainimarama
Preceded byQoriniasi Bale
Succeeded byFaiyaz Koya
Minister for Economy
Assumed office
6 October 2014
PresidentEpeli Nailatikau
George Konrote
Prime MinisterFrank Bainimarama
Preceded byFrank Bainimarama (as Minister of Finance)
Minister for Communications and Public Enterprise
Assumed office
6 October 2014
Minister for Civil Service
Assumed office
6 October 2014
Minister for Justice, Elections and Anti-Corruption
Assumed office
6 December 2006
PresidentRatu Josefa Iloilo
Ratu Epeli Nailatikau
George Konrote
Prime MinisterFrank Bainimarama
Personal details
Born (1965-09-24) 24 September 1965 (age 56)
Suva, Fiji
Political partyFijiFirst
Spouse(s)Ela Gavoka (m. 2011)
RelationsViliame Gavoka (father-in-law)
ChildrenTwo sons, one daughter
Alma materANU (BA)
University of Hong Kong (LLM)
University of Wollongong (GDLP)

Prior to his appointment as a cabinet minister following FijiFirst's general election victory in September 2014, he was the Fijian attorney general and the Minister for Justice, Anti-Corruption, Public Enterprises, Communications, Civil Aviation, and the Minister responsible for Elections under the Bainimarama Government.

According to The Economist, the daily functioning of the Fijian government is run by Sayed-Khaiyum. The South China Morning Post describes Khaiyum as one of the South Pacific's most powerful men.[5]

He is the General Secretary of the FijiFirst party. Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum serves as the Fijian Governor in the Asian Development Bank and has been the ADB Chair of the Board of Governors since 2018.[6]

Following Frank Bainimarama's recovery from heart surgery in January 2022, Sayed-Khaiyum was named Acting Prime Minister.[7][8]

Early life and educationEdit

Sayed-Khaiyum was born and raised in Suva and was educated at Marist Brothers High School. He has a master's degree in law from the University of Hong Kong, a bachelor's degree in law from the University of New South Wales, a graduate diploma in legal practice from the University of Wollongong, and a bachelor's degree in political science from the Australian National University. He was a former senior legal officer in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. Sayed-Khaiyum was the General Manager of Legal and Compliance and was the Company Secretary in the Colonial Group of Companies for five years immediately prior to his appointment in the Interim Government by the President of Fiji. He also worked with the law firm of Minter Ellison in Sydney. He was on the board of Transparency International Fiji and has been President of the Fiji Young Lawyers Association.

Political careerEdit

Sayed-Khaiyum was appointed to the interim government of Frank Bainimarama after the 2006 Fijian coup d'état as Interim Attorney-General and Justice Minister.[9] The 2006 coup has been described by some political historians as a final intervention intended to unite the country and forever put an end to the nation's spate of ethno-nationalist military takeovers.[10]

When Bainimarama formed the FijiFirst Party, Sayed-Khaiyum was appointed its general secretary.[11]

Sayed-Khaiyum contested the 2014 election as a member of the FijiFirst Party, winning 13,753 votes, the third-highest polling candidate. He contested the 2018 Fijian general election as a member of the FijiFirst Party winning 17,271 votes, again placing as the third-highest polling candidate.

Political ReformsEdit

Sayed-Khaiyum led the finalisation of the 2013 Fijian Constitution which established common and equal Fijian citizenry and an equally weighted voting system.[12]

In the lead-up to the 2014 general election, Sayed-Khaiyum helped to implement a new system of electronic voter registration, shape Fiji's new political party and electoral laws and attract international assistance.

Economic ReformsEdit

As the Minister for Economy, he raised the income tax threshold from $16,000 to $30,000 and has progressively decreased Fiji's unemployment.[13] Fiji is currently experiencing its lowest unemployment rate in 15 years,[14] and the country's economy has recorded an unprecedented ten consecutive years of growth.[15]

Sayed-Khaiyum is currently overseeing a programme of civil service reform within the Fijian Government to promote merit-based recruitment and advancement.[16]

Climate Change AdvocacyEdit

As Minister responsible for climate change and the leader of Fiji's COP23 delegation, the Attorney-General is also a global proponent of climate adaptation and increasing access to climate finance, and is working with governments, multilateral organisations and development banks to allow countries such as Fiji to obtain adequate levels of funding—on the basis of vulnerability—to build their resilience to climate change. At the COP23 negotiations, where Fiji served as president, parties agreed that the Adaptation Fund would serve the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and the Fund was replenished with an impressive total of US$93.3 million.[17]

In Fiji, Sayed-Khaiyum spearheaded the creation of the climate change division in the Ministry of Economy to mainstream the critical issue in national planning and public financing decisions, making Fiji one of the few countries in the world where climate change sits with the ministry responsible for finance.[18] He has also established a working group in the Office of the Attorney-General to examine peripheral legal issues related to climate change.[19]

Communications ReformsEdit

During his tenure as Minister for Communications, Fiji has experienced a boom in access to high-speed internet services and Free-to-Air digital television, which is now available all throughout the geographically-remote nation.[20]

Sayed-Khaiyum is overseeing the Fijian Government's digital transformation programme to digitise government services through a flagship partnership with the Singaporean Cooperation Enterprise, digitalFIJI.[21]

Personal lifeEdit

Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum is the son of former MP Sayed Abdul Khaiyum. In 2011 he married Ela Gavoka, the daughter of MP Viliame Gavoka, they have two sons and a daughter together.


  1. ^ Sayed-Khaiyum, Aiyaz (23 September 2015). "AG celebrated his birthday today with team members. Happy Birthday AG!".
  2. ^[bare URL PDF]
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 26 June 2019. Retrieved 26 June 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 26 June 2019. Retrieved 26 June 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "In Fiji, bomb attack claims against Indo-Fijian attorney-general stoke racial tensions". SCMP. 15 December 2020. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  6. ^ "Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum". Bloomberg L.P. 25 November 2018. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
  7. ^ Noble, Phil (12 February 2022). "Fiji Leader Bainimarama A No-show For Visit By Top US Diplomat". Barrons. AFP-Agence France Presse. Retrieved 14 February 2022.
  8. ^ Anthony, Kelvin (7 February 2022). "Fiji's PM needs 'time to recuperate' says govt". RNZ. Retrieved 14 February 2022.
  9. ^ "Fiji's new Cabinet in profile". Fiji Times. 8 January 2007. Archived from the original on 5 February 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
  10. ^ The 2006 Military Takeover in Fiji. State, Society and Governance in Melanesia. Vol. 4. ANU Press. 2009. ISBN 9781921536502. JSTOR j.ctt24hdz7.
  11. ^ "Fiji's Bainimarama lodges party application - Radio New Zealand News". 5 May 2014. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  12. ^[bare URL PDF]
  13. ^[bare URL PDF]
  14. ^ "Unemployment in Fiji Drops to Lowest Level in 15 Years".
  15. ^ "Economy on track to grow for 9 years".
  16. ^ "Open merit system to bolster confidence: AG".
  17. ^ Urioh, Tajiel. "Report and Analysis of Un Climate Change Conference 2017 Bonn Germany". {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  18. ^ "Fiji | Pacific Climate Change Portal".
  19. ^[bare URL PDF]
  20. ^[bare URL PDF]
  21. ^ "Big Plans for digitalFIJI".
Legal offices
Preceded by Attorney General of Fiji
Succeeded by
Preceded by Attorney General of Fiji
Assembly seats
Preceded by
Member of Parliament
Political offices
Preceded by Minister for Justice, Elections and Anti-Corruption
Minister for Economy
Party political offices
Party established Secretary-General of FijiFirst