All thanks and praise be to Almighty Allah. Blessings and peace be upon Prophet Mohamed and His kinsmen and companions.
Beloved Citizens of the Maldives!
The oath I just took in the name of Almighty Allah, and before this audience, is the Presidential Oath enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Maldives. The oath that hereby entrusts in me the obligation to uphold the doctrines of Islam, abide by the Maldivian Constitution, protect universally recognized inalienable human rights, and pledge my unwavering devotion to my nation. It is the oath that necessitates my utmost honesty and integrity in executing my roles and responsibilities dictated by the constitution, laws, rules and regulations of the Maldives.
To the beloved people of the Maldives, I wish to convey sincere assurances of my resolve and commitment to act and serve by this very oath. May Almighty Allah bless the journey ahead.
According to the presidential election results, 58.4 per cent of the eligible voting population, cast their votes in my favour, while the other 41.6 per cent voted for my electoral rival. Every one of these votes counts, for each was rightfully cast by individual conscience and in the good interest of the nation. Today, I wish to assure my commitment to be a President for all people, regardless of your decision on voting day. I shall not discriminate between political beliefs but strive to the best of my abilities to serve the Maldivian people as a whole, to help actualize your dreams, your aspirations.
Never for a moment shall I let myself descend into complacency and forget why you elected me as Your President. I fully acknowledge that the Maldivian people put their confidence in me by voting for me, and the alliance of parties, through which I ran for presidency, because they wholeheartedly trust the coalition government that we shall establish today. We ought to continue to be mindful of how we got here today. Let us not forget our concerted efforts that culminated in our joint electoral victory which we have further solidified at this inauguration ceremony.
The Maldivian people voted for the promise of justice and equality, for the promise of national peace and harmony, for the promise to eradicate corruption and theft, and for the promise to meet the most basic needs including housing, access to clean water and installation of sewerage systems. Promises I shall see through.
It was with pride and high hopes that the Maldives first embarked to govern its state affairs in accordance with the new constitution founded on democratic norms. The new constitution that came into effect guaranteed the Maldivian people a myriad of rights they had long been denied. The constitution brought with it a state system constituting of three separate powers.
Nevertheless, what we witness today is a people lamenting a hijacked constitution and with it the democratic State we had envisioned. Today we shall set sail, with a reinvigorated vision to practice rule of law within the constitutional domain. We shall commence the new presidential term with our continued trust in the benevolence of Almighty Allah to give us the strength to guarantee the Maldivian people justice and good governance emboldened by the constitution - governance that upholds the exemplary principles of Islam, is transparent and is accountable.
We are at a critical juncture in our history, where we are presented with a novel opportunity generations past have not witnessed. We are determined to set aside our political differences and put forth public welfare. It has become even more crucial that we unite as one to change the current course of our nation for a better future. God willing, my Administration will not segregate the populace by one's ethnicity, country of birth, race, sex, physical or mental disability, political belief and worldview, island, or any other conditions. In my Administration, no citizen shall be excluded. Every citizen shall have universal access to all available services.
As I assume the responsibilities of the highest office, I understand that the most preeminent concern for the Maldivian people is that of expediting the process of strengthening the rule of law and protecting the peace and security of the nation. Our experiences over the last 10 years indicate the pressing urgency to reform the judicial system; to enhance the accountability of the Supreme Court to the people. As stipulated in the Constitution, practicing justices ought to be assured an enabling atmosphere where they may conduct fair hearings free from external coercion. Competent justices, well-versed in the law, equipped with extensive judicial expertise and who possess valiant integrity, are a necessary prerequisite to thoroughly safeguard the citizens’ right to justice. Reforming the judicial system will be one of the highest priority areas of my Administration.
I am taking on the presidency at a time when the country is in a precarious financial situation. The treasury has endured a colossal blow owing to reckless mega development projects undertaken purely for political gain. Large-scale embezzlement and corruption has dwindled the coffers of the state by billions of rufiyaa. This money belongs to the Maldivian people, money that should have been spent for the common good of the people. The precise scale and amount of financial loss due to theft, corruption and negligence is still unclear. Despite the bleak financial situation that our country has been plunged into, my resolution to maintain the continuity of services for my people remains firm. To achieve this challenging goal, we need the support and assistance of foreign countries and international organizations.
We need to focus on moving ahead, to take back the rights we have been denied, and save our nation from its dismal condition. We need to help seek justice for those subject to abuse and unfair treatment. The treasury needs to be strengthened. Unaccountable deaths and disappearances need to be investigated and findings disclosed. For us to move ahead as one nation, such grave matters need to be addressed immediately.
In order for us to transform the path of our nation towards justice and equality, eradicating deeply ingrained systematic corruption that continues to fester within various State bodies is of primary concern. A culture of transparency in executing their functions and obligations needs to be cultivated. By Almighty Allah's grace, to strengthen the responsibilities of the Anti-Corruption Commission and to hold the Commission accountable, I will ensure absolute legal protection for whistle-blowers. I will pave the way to lodge any form of issue or complaint with the Government I form. A rigorous system to facilitate this objective will be established at the President's Office, to assess and effectively respond to such concerns. I will take all necessary actions, by all means, in my pursuit to uphold the constitution, rule of law and protect the rights and freedoms of the Maldivian people.
In my opinion, the road to the development of the Maldives, is dependent on the empowerment of the Maldivian people. The empowerment of the people is imperative to strengthening and sustaining our democratic system. A system to delegate legal authority and decision-making powers to island, atoll and city councils is the fundamental stepping stone to meet our development goals centred on decentralised governance. By the Grace of Almighty Allah, I will redress the current decentralization mechanisms to ensure independent and self-sufficient councils.
Democratic governance lies on the principle of inclusive decision-making that does not alienate any race, sex, sect or class. It is therefore vital to consult with stakeholders within the civil society on policy-making, to operationalize a full-fledged democracy; an objective that will be outlined in the mandate of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment of my Administration. My Administration is committed to extend any support and assistance to increase the participation of non-governmental organisations in governance issues.
37 per cent of the Maldivian population consists of youth. My Government will do all that is possible to brighten their futures. We will focus on providing equal opportunities for quality education and employment. At the same time, my Government will attach high importance to provide protection and support to people with special needs and disabilities.
For the next five years, my Administration has formulated and will implement concrete plans and policies to promote economic growth and increase the net national income. We intend to follow business-friendly strategies to enhance the ease of access to competitive markets.
Almighty Allah has bountifully blessed us with pearly white beaches, beautiful marine life and resources, and agricultural riches. The Maldives is truly a unique wonder of the earth. Our ancestors loved and protected our motherland and entrusted us with the noble task to carry on in their wake. Environmental destruction justified in the name of national development is nothing but an absolute betrayal of our children’s birthrights. Keeping that in mind, I intend to spearhead environmental protection programs that adhere to international conventions, to protect selected islands, reefs and seas in every atoll. The development I envisage for the Maldives, is green, resilient and sustainable.
My Government has set a number of goals for the first 100 days in office. By the end of this period, electricity prices will be reduced. Tuition fees will be fully covered for undergraduate degrees. School students will be provided free breakfast. Pension funds may be utilized by Hajj pilgrims. Issuance of fishing permits for foreigners will cease. Import duties levied on agricultural capital will be eliminated. The Maldives will further consolidate its global position as a leader in climate action amongst Small Island Developing States, and will strive to become the leading advocate for this cause. A green tax will be introduced and its revenues will be funnelled towards environmental protection programmes. An equitable housing programme will be established, informed by needs assessments conducted by councils. An air ambulance service will be launched across the Maldives to accelerate emergency response. The National Mental Health Institute will be established where health costs will be covered by Aasandha. Councils will reclaim its autonomy that have been eroded. These are only a few amongst all targets earmarked for my 100 days in office.
Looking back on the past 5 years, it is rather apparent that the Maldives had regressed into a policy of isolationism, estranged from the wider international community. We all have a national responsibility, sacred and duty-bound, to preserve our sovereignty and hold up our national security. The foreign policy of the Maldives will be fundamentally hinged on advancing policies that have a stake in the progress and welfare of our home. My Administration’s foreign policy will be formulated on the basis of human rights, democracy and climate diplomacy. We will endeavour to fortify the existing ties the Maldives has had with India and other regional countries. The Maldives will hereupon bolster its shared role to retain enduring peace and harmony of the Indian Ocean. Let me take this opportunity to emphasise that the Maldives is open and willing to establish diplomatic relations, and strengthen existing ties with all countries that wish to form mutually beneficial development partnerships.
Upholding the national security, sovereignty and territorial integrity is the paramount duty of the Head of State. To this end, the national defense force and the police should be supported to function comprehensively, by sufficiently equipping these entities with the essential legal apparatuses and resources. God willing, in my Administration these two institutions will be ones that receive the trust and respect of the people.
The coalition government that comes to power today shall, with the blessings of Almighty Allah, work together to bring new heights of progress and development. I will not leave room for it to be said that I did not take sufficient action to try and work with differing political views.
I pray upon Almighty Allah to bestow upon us the strength and resolve to sustain our coalition government. May God Almighty give us the courage and wisdom to serve the Maldivian people in good will and understanding. I sincerely wish for a more prosperous tomorrow for my beloved Maldivians.