Praise to the Almighty Allah for blessing the Maldives with sustained ‎independence and ‎sovereignty, and bestowing upon our beloved people the ‎fortitude to maintaining our peace and ‎harmony! I pray for Heavenly blessings ‎upon Holy Prophet Muhammadh (S.A.W), who taught ‎mankind the ‎importance of true independence.‎

Beloved citizens of Maldives,‎

On the auspicious occasion of our Independence Day, I wish to convey to every beloved ‎Maldivian, my sincere greetings and warm felicitations of the occasion. Happy Independence ‎Day!‎

May the Almighty Allah bless these beautiful islands with sustained Independence! I salute our ‎national heroes whose blood and sweat have preserved our right of self-determination over the ‎centuries. I pray for eternal Heavenly blessings for our brave forefathers who defended our ‎national independence.‎

On this auspicious occasion, I recall the dedicated service of the late President Ibrahim Nasir ‎‎(N.G.I.V.), who successfully marshaled efforts to attain full political independence from Great ‎Britain, back in 1965.‎

At this juncture, I also recollect with absolute respect and admiration the leadership of President ‎Maumoon Abdul Gayoom (N.G.I.V.), who expertly and astutely steered our beloved nation from ‎the tumultuous waters of the 3rd November 1988 mercenaries’ attack to the serenity of peace and ‎prosperity that we enjoy today.‎
The bravery of the Armed Forces and the Police in thwarting the terrorist attack of 1988 has, of ‎course, elevated them to the status of national heroes.‎

Beloved people;‎

Next year, we celebrate our Golden Jubilee of Independence. The Government has already begun ‎preparations to ensure that the milestone is marked with fitting spectacle and grandeur.‎

While we attained our full political Independence without any violence or bloodshed, the ‎blessing of Independence was bestowed upon us by the Almighty Allah after much perseverance ‎and by making a strong national stand. ‎

There is no greater gift for a State than its Independence. At this juncture, my thoughts and ‎prayers go out to our Palestinian brothers and sisters who continue to suffer untold hardship in ‎their just and noble fight for an independent homeland. ‎

We strongly condemn the brutal attacks by Israel on the innocent people of Palestine, in ‎particular the suffering of the Palestinian children and younger generations. Israel must stop their ‎invasion of Gaza with immediate effect and without conditions. The international community, ‎through the auspices of the United Nations, must take clear action to ensure that peace returns to ‎Gaza and that the Palestinian people are safeguarded from the Israeli military’s brutality.‎

I take this opportunity to reassure the Government and fraternal people of Palestine that the ‎Maldives would continue to lend our absolute support to them at all times, in all forums and ‎through all possible avenues.‎

The Maldives has also, with effect from today, imposed a ban on the import and sale of all good ‎manufactured in Israel, as a sign of protest against their murderous attacks on the Palestinian ‎people. We will lift the ban if and only when Israel agrees to respect the sovereignty of the ‎Palestinian people and allow for their peaceful existence as a nation. Furthermore, the ‎Government has also cancelled three bilateral agreements that were signed with Israel during ‎Former President Nasheed’s tenure of office. The three agreements on cooperation in the fields ‎of health, education and tourism were cancelled last week.‎

I pray to the Almighty Allah to safeguard our Palestinian brothers and sisters from the brutal ‎attacks of Israel and to give them strength in defeating the invading foes.‎

My beloved people;‎

I am proud to announce that this Independence Day coincides with a period of sustained peace ‎and harmony in our society. We are reaping the fruits of this tranquility by forging ahead with ‎our lives in happiness and contentment. Having left a period of unrest and uncertainty, we now ‎breathe the fresh air of optimism and ambition, while focusing on the socioeconomic ‎development of the people.‎

The Government will not entertain or tolerate any efforts to destabilize the country and to disrupt ‎the prevalent peace. It is regrettable that, at times, political opponents are willing to destabilize ‎the country and to promote chaos, in selfish pursuit of their personal political ambitions. At times, ‎we have faced the alarming proposition of an erosion of our independence and sovereignty, as a ‎result of these orchestrated politically-motivated actions of a few.‎

I do not believe that the quest for public popularity should necessarily involve plunging the ‎nation into chaos. Calling for a boycott of our tourist resorts that bring in much needed foreign ‎currency and of the export of the fish caught by our industrious fishermen for personal political ‎gains must be nipped at the bud!‎

The contemporary challenges and threats to our independence is no longer the bullet of a ‎mercenary’s gun. Today, these attacks are focused at our economy and designed to impoverish ‎our people. I call on all political parties and politicians to refrain from any activities that may ‎jeopardize our economic development.‎

Beloved people;‎

The establishment of Special Economic Zones in strategic locations across our archipelago ‎features among my key economic manifesto pledges. The draft legislation enabling SEZs has ‎now been tabled at the People’s Majlis.‎

I am confident that the enactment of the proposed SEZ Act will raise investor confidence and ‎thereby attract further foreign investment to the Maldives. It will also bring a large number of job ‎opportunities, reduce the dependency of our economy on tourism, and boost business and ‎commerce in the Maldives. SEZs will, Insha Allah, improve standards of living and increase the ‎circulation of foreign currency in our economy.‎

With the arrival of SEZs, one of the first and most important projects that the Government will ‎embark upon will be the Ihavandhippolhu Integrated Development Project or iHavan. This ‎project will be the gateway to the development of the northern atolls, bringing with it job ‎opportunities and improved infrastructure and conveniences to the residents in the northern most ‎atolls.‎

The Government is currently focused on developing and upgrading the Gan International Airport ‎and the Hithadhoo Regional Port, with a view to boosting economy and business in Addu City. ‎An ambitious project is currently underway to upgrade Gan International Airport.‎

The Government has decided to bring the Hithadhoo Regional Port under the management of the ‎Maldives Ports Limited (MPL), to improve services and efficiency. With this change, modern ‎port services will be available for the residents of Addu City.‎

Similarly, the management of the Kulhudhuffushi Regional Port will also be brought under the ‎umbrella of the MPL to facilitate improved services.‎

The Government has also launched a massive project to develop the Ibrahim Nasir International ‎Airport. A new airport masterplan is being drawn up by globally-renowned Changi Airports of ‎Singapore. Designs of the new terminal building are being completed, under the new masterplan.‎
The new airport masterplan will also include a second runway. Along with the INIA, many of the ‎existing domestic airports will be improved and new domestic airports will also be developed at ‎strategic locations across the country.‎

Beloved people;‎

The contract for the reclamation of the second phase of Hulhumale’, which will become the ‎Youth City, has now been awarded. Dredging of the new city will be completed by mid-2015. ‎The Youth City will provide employment, recreation and higher learning opportunities for the ‎youthful populations of the Maldives.‎

I assure you all that all the endeavours of the Government to promote socioeconomic ‎development and raise the living standards of the people will, in no way, jeopardize or threaten ‎the independence and sovereignty of the Maldives.‎

Once again, I strongly condemn the efforts of the self-interested few who have constantly called ‎for tourism boycotts and for buyers to reject Maldivian fisheries products. This Government is ‎firmly committed to defeating these conspirators, and to promoting a generation of peaceful and ‎affluent young generation in the Maldives.‎

Beloved people;‎

The most important responsibility of the Government is to safeguard the country’s proud Islamic ‎faith and to protect our independence and sovereignty. I firmly believe that the prevalence of ‎peace and prosperity in our society is the cornerstone of our independent identity.‎

The Government attaches special priority to the wellbeing of our youth. We try to safeguard the ‎youth from being plunged into a life of crime, unruly behavior and misdemeanor.‎

Since assuming office, I have so far wiped off 4000 criminal records of 3588 different youth. ‎Their futures and thereby their job prospects are no longer weighed down by records of past ‎petty crimes.‎

I have also requested the Prosecutor General to consider a proposal not to prosecute against ‎young first-time offenders in selected petty and small-scale crimes. Such a waiver will, of course, ‎be made within the law and after entering into an agreement with the concerned youths.‎
My vision is to promote a peaceful, educated and progressive generations of young people who ‎are world-wise, tech-savvy and knowledgeable. ‎

In concluding my address, I reiterate Independence Day greetings and good wishes to the ‎beloved people. As we count the days and nights of the final third of the Holy Month of ‎Ramazan, I hope that all our prayers during this month will reap rewards. Please also accept my ‎good wishes for the upcoming Eid festivities.‎

May the Almighty Allah forever radiate the Maldives with the beacon of Islam! May He bless us ‎with continued independence and sovereignty!‎

I thank you! ‎