Honourable Minister, Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Zainul Abidin Rasheed, distinguished friends, ladies and gentleman:
It is a great pleasure for my wife and myself and members of my delegation to visit the Malay Heritage Centre. When we were told that we are going to visit this Centre, I never dreamed that it would be of this magnitude, of this high level of achievement, not only for the Malays of Singapore but also for Singapore itself.
When I was speaking to your Ministers and to other members of the Singapore Government during my visit, I used to mention that Singapore is a model of development, economic progress and peaceful harmony.
Now I would like to say that Singapore also is a model of multi-culturalism, multi-ethinicism. Singapore is a community made up of many faiths, many religions and you have shown us how you can live together in harmony and in peace. So I think that is a great lesson for us to learn. We in the Maldives, we are a 100% Muslim country. We need to have this sort of unity among ourselves. When I say this, I’m not referring to any divisions in the Maldivian society. But of course because times change, and because circumstances change, there are sometimes some elements which are not in harmony with the rest of the country. But we have to be very cautious about this, we have to realise that there is strength in unity, that as a small island nation the Maldives can’t afford to have a divisive community. We have to be united, we have to be united in spirit, in outlook and in our ambition for our country.
So we are very glad that we are here. We have seen the depiction of how the Malay Heritage was founded here, and we have seen how Singaporeans live in peace and harmony, although they may differ in faith and their religious beliefs and in their customs. But I think we have a lesson to learn from this, not only us but I think the rest of the world can learn a very important lesson from Singapore. I congratulate the Singapore Government and people for the harmony and for the peace that is prevalent in the country. And I would like to wish all the success for Singapore and its people in the future.
Thank you very much!