بســم اللّـه الرّحمـن الرّحيــم
اَلحَمْـدُ لِلّـهِ رَبّ العَـالَمِـين، وَالصّـلاة وَالسّلام علـى سيدنا محـمَّدٍ، خاتم الأنبياء والمرسلين، وَعلـى آلـه وَصَحْبِـهِ أجمـعـين.
السّلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته
Let me begin by extending a very warm welcome to His Excellency Wang Xiaotao, Representative of the Government of the Peoples Republic of China, and his delegation to this joyous ceremony. Let me also express my well wishes and greetings to all my fellow citizens and congratulate them on this momentous event of national celebrations.
Tonight, we celebrate the dawn of the new era for the Maldivians. The dawn where Maldivians see their future unfolding into an age of progress and tranquillity. The dawn where dreams can finally become reality, hopes prosper and life more tenable. As we inaugurate the Sina-Male’ Bridge, our hearts are filled with joy and excitement as we eagerly wait to cross the ‘Bridge of Hope’, into the lands of tomorrow. A tomorrow which we have all dreamt of as we waited for a more stable and certain future for our children and generations beyond.
Located in the Indian Ocean and almost sunk into crystal clear waters, existing as fishing villages from yester years, Maldivians thrived on their fishing industry, till the advent of tourism in 1972. The white sandy beaches and the turquoise blue lagoons gifted to us by the Almighty, the Maldives tourism industry flourished to boast world class resorts and hotels within just 4 decades of venture. As a result the Maldivian economy saw steady growth in the 1980’s experiencing increase in both its per capita and GDP. Tourism which is the main supplier of foreign currency was concentrated in the vicinity of the airport, next to Male’, and growth was focused into Male resulting in continuous influx of people. By 1995 Male with just 5.8 square km was accommodating a quarter of the population of our country.
The steady economic growth passing the 20th Century into the new Millenium along with the concentration of development, resulted in Male’, becoming the most congested and uninhabitable city in the world, with related management, social, and health issues. In 1997 we reclaimed the lagoon next to Hulhule and created land. Today HulhuMale is a land mass of 432 hectares and is being developed into a modern city to host 240,000 people.
Thousands of people crossing a kilometre of water everyday several times, kept us hoping, dreaming, and dreaming Big. Yet it was thought to be beyond the economic, political and engineering resources available to the Maldives. It was in a sense, and accepted to be - a ‘Bridge too Far’.
However, my resolve was to fit in the most crucial but missing piece of the developmental stratagem of Maldives, and my priorities were to enable the Government to deliver the conveniences of modern day living and to equip the people with the tools to build for themselves better lives.
With this resolution, when I met with President Xi Jinping, at Nanjing State House, at 10:53 am on Saturday the 16th of August 2014, I made a request on behalf of the Maldivian people. It was a triumphant moment indeed.
The days after, were followed by weeks of enthusiastic discussions on designing, what would become the solution to our most difficult enigma. Work progressed rapidly as Maldivians watched gleefully. And today after just 3 years and 11 months, we are elated to inaugurate the China - Maldives Friendship Bridge. The bridge that passes over troubled waters for Maldivians, and into the future to enjoy new opportunities and openings. The Bridge that enables eager young men and women, to cross over into the Youth City, the City of Hope, a new Madina for our youth.
Fellow Citizens and Guests
The Sina-Male’ Bridge is an embodiment of the strong relations between the people of China and the people of Maldives. It is a true icon of how a mutually beneficial and truly genuine partnership between a larger country, and a smaller one could affect meaningful change in the direction of progress and prosperity. It stands to show that constructive dialogue and mutual respect between states and between peoples can be a testament to greater things that could be achieved in the globalized world. Proof that through genuine partnership, nothing is impossible.
Fellow Citizens and Guests
The Government of the People’s Republic of China has always been a willing partner to support the Maldives in its developmental agenda. Last year, for the very first time in the history of Maldives, we entered into a Free Trade Agreement, and it was a happy occasion that China is our partner.
Therefore it is only suitable that the Maldives biggest and most important structure be remembered as “the China – Maldives Friendship Bridge” .
ޙާޟިރުވެވަޑައިގެން ތިއްބެވި އެންމެހާ ބޭފުޅުން.
އަޅުގަނޑުމެން މިރޭ މި އިޙްތިފާލްކުރަނީ ދިވެހިރާއްޖޭގެ ތަރައްޤީއާއި ތަމައްދުނުގެ އައު ރަންޒަމާން. މިއަދުގެ ތަރައްޤީގެ ރޭހުގައި އަޅުގަނޑުމެންގެ މި ބޭނުންކުރަނީ، ދުނިޔޭގެ އެންމެ ކުރިއަރާފައިވާ މުޖްތަމަޢުތަކުގައި ބޭނުންކުރާ ފަދަ ތަރައްޤީގެ އާލާތްތައް. މިއަދު މި އުފާވެރި ފިޔަވަޅުމަތީހުރެ، ރާއްޖެދުށް އެންމެ މަޝްހޫރު އެއް ޝާޢިރު، އަލްމަރުޙޫމް ހޯރަފުށީ އާދަމް ސަލީމް މީގެ 60 އަހަރުކުރިން، އޭނާގެ ޢުމުރުން އެންމެ 17 އަހަރުގައި ހައްދަވާފައިވާ ޅެމެއްގެ ބައެއް ތިޔަ ބޭފުޅުންނަށް އަޅުގަނޑު އަރިސްކޮށްލާނަން.
ފެހިފެހި ފިޔާތޮށި ކުލަޔަކުން އާފާޤު ޒީނަތްކޮށްފިޔޭ،
ކެހި ފުސްވިލާތައް އުދަރެހުން، މުސްތަޤްބަލެއް ދައްކައިފިޔޭ.
އޮޅުދޫ ކަރައިގެ ހުޅަނގުފަރާތުން ފެންނަ ކުދި ރަށްތައް،
ގުޅުވާ ދަނގަޑު ފާލަންތަކުން ތަހުޒީބުވުން އާކޮށްފިޔޭ.
ޔުނިވަރސިޓީއާ ކޮލެޖްތައް، މާލޭގެ އަގުމާތް ބިންގަނޑުން،
އުނިކަން މި ޖަހުލީ ފިލުވުމަށް، ތަޢުމީރުތައް ކުރެވިއްޖެޔޭ.
މި ޅެމުގެ ސުރުޚީއަކީ މާލޭގެ މުސްތަޤްބަލް. މިޅެމަކީ، އަލްމަރުޙޫމް އާދަމް ސަލީމް ފަދައިން، ދިވެހިންނަކީ އޭރުވެސް އުންމީދުން ފުރިގެންވާ އަދި ކުރިއެރުމަށް އެދި އެދި ތިބި ބައެއްކަން ދައްކުވައިދޭ އަލިގަދަ ހެއްކެއް. މާތްﷲ އެ މަރުޙޫމްގެ ފުރާނަފުޅަށް ސުވަރުގޭގެ މަތިވެރި ނިޢުމަތް މިންވަރުކުރެއްވުން އެދި އެކަލާނގެ ހަޟްރަތުގައި ދުޢާ ދަންނަވަން.
Fellow Citizens and Guests
As we celebrate the inauguration of this monumental structure, that bridges the gap over two land masses our hearts are filled with joy and hope. As we witness the silver illumination of the moon on the majestic structure of the Sina-Male’ Bridge, our thoughts take flight to the future. We see the opening of the Sina-Male’ Bridge as the opening of a new gateway. The gateway into tomorrow and the opportunities beyond.
We have built in the piece of the developmental puzzle that has eluded us for so many years, and finally brought ease to those students who had to travel the sea in the rain to sit for their exams; and made the journey of the elderly and disabled to the airport and to the hospitals a lot easier. In word and spirit, today we have set ourselves free from the confinement of small islands and their boundaries, in the manner which is attuned to the way of life of the 21st Century. Today the impossible, is possible.
Tonight signifies that success lies at the hands of those who dare to work. It signifies that victory is the right of those do not give up and leave when the going is tough, but of those who persevere, and stay on to ensure that we are safely home. It also connotes that what matters is that we have ample love for this nation to face hurdles time and time again, and care enough to walk that extra mile, for the future of our little Abdullas and Aishas.
Fellow Citizens and Guests
I ran for office, having pledged that my people will prioritise youth as a population group. Amongst them are the brilliant minds and forerunners of tomorrow. My Government has put in, its all, for this cause because we believe that given the chance, even the little girl in the smallest of classrooms in the remotest of islands, can carry the Maldivian flag into the next destination . I believe that everyone is not only equal but everyone deserves equal opportunity.
For me the hope that sparkle in the eyes of the little girls and boys curious in knowledge, engrave the future of my country. Stories like that of the boy with autism who by hearted the Holy Quran at the age of 14 years and the girl with visual impairment who passed all her subjects in her GCE O level exams continue to inspire me. It just makes my day to know that, students who pass 5 subjects in G.C.E O levels is at an all time high of 77% and that we have employed hundreds of youth with disabilities, thereby affording them with an opportunity to live with pride with their heads held high. It is with jubilance that I celebrate the Maldivian students who surpass the average and grab the world’s best positions year in and year out. For I believe that this is the hope that brings us together and keeps us pushing. The hope of a nation who continue to battle for their own right and the right of their people, without tire.
I also believe that we are here tonight because more people have accepted that the way forward is to cross the divides and come together. That we are able to achieve 10 times the development, attract billions of dollars in investments, create almost 80,000 jobs, and unite families, because more people have agreed that forward is the way and political divides can stay. And also because more people want to overcome the instabilities and crossover into the land where tomorrow can be so much better. Where hope is defined and prosperity assured.
Maldives just like any other nascent democracy is undergoing a time of change. We embraced democracy just 10 years ago and in a few weeks we will be having our third multi-party elections.
While we strive to compete in the international race for economic development and financial stability, we also set aside our resources and time for perfecting governance systems and democratic practises. Just like there is so much more to be done in achieving equal eminence in the race for health, education and other services, we do recognise that we have a mile to walk to achieve perfection in governance and related practises. We are fully cognisant of the imperfections in our system. Yet we do not tire of trying and do not make any of this second priority.
In this regard the Maldives, wishes to be respected for our sovereignty and the supremacy of our Constitution. The Rule of Law of the country and its institutions cannot be compromised. Equality is the corner stone of democratic practises, and should not be changed to suit the respondent, for such practises not only serve justice in different measures, but further weaken and compromise already fragile systems, struggling to serve calls and demands so much taller than their aptitude.
The Maldives Story is laced with the plight of those who fought for this land, and enriched with the blood of those who were slain in that battle.
It is the story, of One People, One Nation, One Race and One Creed, who have with the global waves of change, adjusted and raised their sails to defend the country, glorious in the pride they have for their nation. The people, who dared to fight armies multiple times mightier, believing that no fight is more glorious than the fight for Islamic faith and the flag of red, white and green. The people who had the courage to say no to the gifts and the ideologies that was thrown at their doorsteps, to stand up, for the country they so loyally serve. For we know that our independence and existence was not gifted to us, but is the bounty of the absolute loyalty of our forefathers and their readiness in command to our country.
As we have the First Union on the bridge tomorrow, my heart swells with happiness that the young couple united in marriage, starting their life anew, will be able walk onto HulhuMale’; the Youth City; with hope. Walk into a future, where we are able to provide for them a life, which is not only filled with expectation and aspirations, but a future where they would be able to realise their ambitions. A future where they will be equipped with tools to cater for a life of prosperity and comfort; where they will not be forced to settle abroad for want of education for their sons and daughters. Where they don’t need to despair for want of shelter or treatment for their parents. A future which is safe and secure. A future which is filled with laughter, coloured with the rainbow and fragranced with blooms.
I am thankful and grateful to Almighty Allah for his blessings in affording this 100th Head of this Nation, the opportunity to finally fulfil this venture and to deliver to my people, their most prized and expensive asset, and it is in this same spirit and disposition that I present this bridge, symbolising the biggest achievement in our developmental history, to the people of Maldives, whom I so love, in my commitment that I do not and shall not, make a priority of any class, or political creed in my service to you and your children. Alas, alas, the mighty dream fulfilled. Alhamdu Lillah.
Tonight as we make history in this country, let us renew our pledge to our nation we so love, as One Nation, One People, One Race and One Creed.
That we shall always persevere in the face of adversity, and stay united in defiance of the dangers that may reach our shores; That we shall guard the flag of red white and green, till our last breath and shall not let it fall. That we shall not undermine this beloved land, so sacred in existence, and shall defend its honour till our last breath; and that we as Maldivians shall stay united in the path of Allah, for he is the saviour of all.
يارب ،أسألك أن تحمى هذا البلد وأهله العزيز على قلبي وأن تحمى حريتنا إلى الأبد
والسّلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته