Honourable Speaker; Honourable Members of the People’s Majlis; Distinguished Guests and beloved people of the Maldives;
I pray to the Almighty Allah to give me strength and guidance in fulfilling the onerous responsibilities bestowed on me by the beloved people of this country.
I thank the beloved people of the Maldives for electing me and Dr. Mohamed Jameel Ahmed, at yesterday’s runoff of the presidential polls, to serve as President and Vice President, respectively. This is indeed a great honour entrusted upon us.
I wish to express our sincere gratitude to everyone who supported us and for those who worked tirelessly towards our elections victory. I note with special fondness the efforts of the leaders of the political parties and organisations that form our coalition. Without them, we could not have secured our historic success. Their support will not be forgotten.
Today is, indeed, a historic day. We embark on a new era of nation-building. Today, we resume our endeavour to strengthen our nationhood. We are determined to forge ahead with the nation.
The Maldives has always been proud of its independence and sovereignty. Our vision, principles and policies are all guided by the tenets of our Islamic faith. Therefore, I assure you, my beloved people, that I will remain steadfast in preserving our Islamic identity and in protecting our status as a 100% Muslim country. Protecting our Islamic faith, strengthening our Islamic values among the youth will remain the topmost priority of my government.
As I take my oath of office as the President of the Maldives today, I am deeply concerned about the vulnerable state of our country. We find ourselves embattled by political turmoil. The failure to usher in prolonged peace, harmony and stability has left our people in a state of deep frustration. I am mindful that overcoming the political instability and creating a safe environment for the people feature among my key priorities as President. The way forward is, undoubtedly, to repair our torn social fabric and to unite the people. We must prioritise the interest of our nation over our personal interests. Recognition of the equality of all people and their rights, regardless political affiliations, is the key to healing the rifts that today plague our society. We must provide essential services to the people without any discrimination. Our experiences must be recounted in planning ahead with foresight.
Be assured that I will work only in the best interest of our nation and for the betterment of the beloved people. We are all kin. I will continually remind myself that I am the President of each and every Maldivians; all Maldivians!
Today, we find our economy entrenched in a deep abyss. Our rising deficit continues to spiral out of control. Expenditure exceeds income by an alarming margin. Minimizing state expenditure and tightening our belts has, therefore, become imperative. Austerity is a prerequisite to a bright and prosperous future of economic stability and sustained growth. I will announce special austerity measures in the coming few days.
The challenges facing our economy today can be overcome only through strategic and operational policy reforms. We must reinforce the pillars of the national economy. Policy reforms must be timely and decisive. Our economic base must be widened and volume of trade enhanced. Boosting the income of our fishermen and farmers is an immediate priority. The industry and talent of our youthful populations must be tapped adequately towards this economic transformation, and this objective can only be achieved through the provision of gainful employment to the many disenfranchised youth. Empowering the youth will be an overarching theme of my presidency. Providing greater education and higher education opportunities for the youth is a must. With the Grace of the Almighty Allah, in the next five years, we will provide the necessary support to our youthful population to enable them to show their productivity and attain their rightful share in nation-building.
Indeed, true progress is measured by its impact on the lives of the people and their increase in prosperity and wellbeing.
This administration will not neglect social development. The need to strengthen the State’s social security network and to provide a more just and safe environment for our people to work and live in feature among our key objectives. Providing income opportunities for stay-at-home women is also a key manifesto pledge, as you know. Furthermore, increasing the role of women in nation-building and creating greater awareness on the vital role of women will also form an integral part of my government’s social policy package.
Special attention needs to be paid to saving this generation from the scourge of drug abuse and to rehabilitating and integrating addicted youthful population back into our society so that they can become productive citizens. I am committed to step up the work already being undertaken in this area, and strive to save our country and our people from the narco menace.
I also strongly believe that improving the education system and giving special attention to the moral conduct of students is a vital component of building a respectable generation.
My government is firmly committed and focused on cutting down on expenditure, while streamlining and increasing efficiency in administration. Following discussions with our coalition partners I will appoint capable individuals to various political posts in government, while keeping nation’s best interest at heart.
In making decisions, my government will always prioritize national interests. I will protect every State asset dutifully and explore ways in which the people can maximize sustainable benefits from our land resources, regardless of where it maybe in our archipelago. Every symbol of our national identity will be protected. The gateway to the country’s economic and commercial wealth – our international airport in Hulhule’ – will be protected in the interest of our people. With the Grace of Almighty Allah, my government will be result-oriented and will bring happiness and prosperity to the people.
The key objective of our foreign policy will be to further strengthen diplomatic and developmental ties with friendly nations. The government will add further importance to enhancing existing ties with all our neighbours, as well as Arab and Islamic countries. We will maintain and protect the Maldives’ reputation and honour in the international arena. I will, however, not allow unwarranted interference in our domestic affairs and thereby vehemently preserve our sovereignty. Our affairs will be determined by us!
I take this responsibility with a hope for a better future for our beloved nation. Throughout my tenure, I will always be open to constructive and innovative ideas that may boost our socioeconomic development.
Working as a team, as partners is the key to achieving our objectives. The support of the People’s Majlis will be of paramount importance to implement our development agenda. We will need the firm support and assistance of all independent and State institutions, as well as various organizations of government. The private sector and industries together with NGOs and the general public are all stakeholders and partners in national development.
I sincerely urge all the beloved people of the Maldives to work together to ensure that this journey that we are embarking upon today as a country will lead us to greater heights of development. Let us also make sure that the Maldives becomes, yet again, a regional example for peace and harmony. I assure you that my government will create a safe environment for all. Our goal will be to ensure that the prevailing social harmony will empower each and every beloved Maldivian to live a happy and prosperous life. We will create a generation of youths who are responsible, productive and skilful. We will transform the economy to be all-inclusive and egalitarian, where there are equal employment opportunities for the people.
May the Almighty Allah forever light the beacon of Islam upon our beloved country! May He protect our independence and sovereignty! I pray for peaceful and prosperous days for the people of the Maldives. May the Almighty Allah grant us the strength and wisdom to usher in an era of sustained progress to the nation!