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.
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.
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.
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.
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!