Address by His Excellency Mr. Abdulla Jihad Vice President of the Republic of Maldives, at the Inaugural ceremony of “Maldives Channel” of DMDI
09 August 2016, Ref: PS/NRAJ/2016/07

بسم اللّـه الرّحمـن الرّحيــم            

 
         اَلحَمْـدُ لِلّـهِ رَبّ العَـالَمِـين،  وَالصّـلاة وَالسّلام علـىأشرف الأنبياء والمرسلين، وعلى آلـه وصحبـه أجمعـين.
 
 
The honourable Chief Minister of Malaka, The honourable President of Dhuniya Melayu Duniya Islam, The DMDI, and the Chairman of Maldives chapter, distinguished guests, my brothers and sisters.
 
         السّلام عليكم ورحمـة اللّـه وبركاته.
 
I’m pleased to be here at this auspicious ceremony as a guest of honor, and grateful for the opportunity to speak on this occasion. Let me begin by emphasizing that I’m profoundly inspired by the work conducted by the DMDI, which was shown in the presentation we just saw, since its inception in 2000. The campaign for unity and solidarity within the Muslim community in Malaysia and the promotion of corporation between other nations indeed is praiseworthy.
 
Today we celebrate yet another accomplishment - DMDI and Maldives chapter. The ceremony declares the darning of Muslim community of Maldives and the Malaysian Muslim world. The Maldives chapter of DMDI aims to explore and engage in areas of mutual benefit. Especially in the field of Sharia-compliant tourism, and in finance which is my background. As for education and investments, we met the Education Minister this morning to discuss information technology, women empowerment and youth empowerment which are pledges of the President for the well-being of all.
 
I commend your determination in strengthening the Muslim world, through cultivating economic and social prosperity. Your work in collaboration with other nations has come to fruition in all parts of the world. It is my strong belief that unity within is the key for peace, progress and prosperity. Let me also take this opportunity to expand on the issues our Muslim Ummah faces today. The plight of terrorism as mentioned by our former speaker, perpetrated against innocent lives has destroyed the name of our peaceful communities around the globe, to the extent that Muslims have become synonymous with terrorism. I’m also afraid about my name. I think many people are called Jihad. Sometimes when travel, I have to be careful.
 
Muslims do not condone such violence. The virtue of practicing peace is revealed in the Holy Quran and the Prophet’s Sunnah, along with the importance of providing assistance to communities in need. This has a significant bearing on the matter at hand. I am confident that work done by the DMDI can and will bring about change to our contentment.
 
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
 
The Maldives and Malaysia have a long history of bilateral relations. Just now it was mentioned that some Maldivians even look like Malays. Malaysia has been one of the countries we look up to, for a long time now. The harmony, the cultural diversity, exemplary economic prosperity and the commitment to developing human capital through professional education and technical training for the betterment of the societies could be taken as a model. So, we take pride to be in partnership with Malaysia.
 
We are thankful to the government of Malaysia, for the tremendous support and assistance in developing our human resources. It has also become a forward destination for Maldivians, seeking professional education. I’m pleased to note that some of the most prominent Maldivians received their University Education at Malaysians institutions. I think if you look at this room, you can pick some of them. Our two countries are bound by common aspirations for peace, security, development and progress. In various international forums, we have always acted in concert.   
 
 
Distinguished guests,
 
Maldives is now striving hard for rapid economic development, as depicted in our presentation. We have wholeheartedly accepted the view that market forces, private sector, foreign direct investments, and NGOs like DMDI, have a vital role to play in development. Therefore we are offering the most liberal package of incentives to foreign businesses entrepreneurs. So, let me extend open invitations to Malaysian business entrepreneurs, to visit our country, to see for themselves the investment opportunities in the Maldives. I hope your visit next time will bring all your investors to Maldives.  
 
I hope they would be able to explore avenues, and mutually beneficial cooperation with their counterparts in our private sector. For my part I assure, the wholehearted support of our government in the development of even closer economic links between the two countries. Not only Sharia-compliant resorts, but also Halal products and other areas of common interest.
 
The Maldives government’s transformational infrastructure development projects include the development of Hulhumale’ Youth City, a bridge connecting Male’ and the airport island of Hulhule, and the expansion of our international airport. We also have some ambitious housing projects underway.
 
The Hulhumale’ youth city includes a cruise terminal, a marina for luxury yachts, techno police and a Knowledge Park, multiple hospitals, a heritage island, and a financial district including Islamic finance. Mr. Deen, who is the CEO of Islamic financial company, is here. A national stadium with a sport center and housing units for all classes in Maldives will also be built. Our President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s vision for a better tomorrow requires support of those countries that are like family to us. I’m sure Malaysia is one such friendly country. The government’s commitment to economic prosperity requires the promotion of development projects offered within Maldives, while tapping into the trade and economic investment potential present in the Maldives. Sharia-compliant financial schemes, hotels and tourism investments would be invaluable addition to this.
 
Ladies and Gentlemen,
 
We are interested in the active participation of and in the empowerment of women and youth, alongside the government policy for youth development opportunities. As a country boasting a majority of youth, and with a universal promise to empower women, it would be a great pleasure to have your contribution and expertise in formulating and realizing extensive programs.
 
So, I think it is a great initiative, and this  is something we admire, and I’m sure in the future, we will see more tangible actions by DMDI. And the business community here will collaborate with you to develop the country in Sharia-compliant ways. I am sure they will be most willing to welcome your initiatives.
 
So I, on behalf of business community here, wish to thank the DMDI Malaysia for giving information about your activities. I’m sure in future, if you look after one year later, you will have more things to show. You will have lengthy presentations about your activities. So let me take this opportunity, to assure our commitment for boundless outcomes, which are mutually beneficial to our countries and the Muslim Ummah. I wish you all the best in your ambitious endeavors and hope to work closely with the DMDI to further consolidate the Muslim Ummah.
 
Thank you all.   والسّلام عليكم
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