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Mohammed bin Rashid marks accession day

posted on 05/01/2007: 2074 views

H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, marked yesterday the first anniversary of his accession.

He took over following the demise of his elder brother, the late Sheikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

On January 5, 2006, the Members of the Supreme Council elected Sheikh Mohammed Vice-President of the UAE. President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan nominated him as the Prime Minister and asked him to form the new cabinet. On February 9, Sheikh Khalifa approved the Cabinet proposed and headed by Sheikh Mohammad.

UAE dailies highlighted today the extraordinary success and the volume of achievements accomplished last year under the prudent leadership of President H. H. Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the constant follow-up by Sheikh Mohammed.

The Dubai-Based Gulf News pointed to the several directives and laws issued by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid with the aim to provide a decent life to every individual living in the UAE.

"On January 1, 2007, with Dubai residents complaining of high rents, he ordered a seven per cent cap on rent increases. This decree followed an earlier one that set the cap at 15 per cent.

With the number of traffic deaths in Dubai rising, Sheikh Mohammed called for tough measures against reckless drivers. He also approved the designs of new roads in Dubai." The paper said.

"Sheikh Mohammed turned his attention to people, inspecting projects and following up people's concerns across the UAE. He made inspection trips to all the emirates, met residents and ordered some major changes to be carried out.

To ensure the rights of expatriate workers, he ordered the setting up of a special labour court in November. He also ordered a series of organisational measures to regulate the affairs of the foreign workforce in the country." It added.

Sheikh Mohammad also stressed the vital need to develop education. He issued a law setting up the Dubai Foundation for Women's Development, which was tasked with developing and utilising the potential and capabilities of UAE women.

In another move, Sheikh Mohammed urged the Electoral College to participate actively in the first ever elections of the Federal National Council, which have been described as a resounding success.

Commenting on the occasion, another Dubai based English daily said "Widely respected and admired in the Middle East and around the world for his contribution in building Dubai as the most happening fastest developing city in the world, Sheikh Mohammed continues to scale great heights as a far-sighted, forward-looking and hard working leader.

The Khaleej Times pointed out that as Sheikh Mohammed completes his first year as the Ruler of Dubai, it is clear that it is just the beginning of a long and eventful journey.

Here are some glimpses from his biography as posted on his official web site Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum was born in 1949. He is the third of Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum's four sons. Sheikh Maktoum, Sheikh Hamdan and Sheikh Ahmed are his brothers. Sheikh Mohammed enjoyed a happy and carefree early childhood in the Al Maktoum family's Al Shindagha home.

From an early age he was taught about hunting, especially the noble Arabian sport of falconry. The Maktoum brothers were also taught the rudiments of horsemanship by their father. From the age of four, he was privately tutored in Arabic and Islamic Studies. In 1955, he began his formal education at Al Ahmedia School, a small primary school in Deira.

At age 10 he moved to Al Shaab School and two years later went to Dubai Secondary School.

In August 1966, Sheikh Mohammed flew to London accompanied by his cousin, Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum. They enrolled in the Bell School of Languages, in Cambridge, one of Europe's best-regarded language schools.

Sheikh Mohammed attended Mons Officer Cadet School, located in Aldershot, about forty miles from London in the south of England. During the latter stages of the six-month course, he was promoted to Senior Under Officer of Kohema and was later awarded the Sword of Honour for achieving the highest mark of any Foreign and Commonwealth officer cadet in his intake.

First positions On November 1, 1968, the late Sheikh Rashid appointed Gen Sheikh Mohammed as Head of Dubai Police and Public Security which was his first public position. After the declaration of the UAE Federation on December 2, 1971, Sheikh Maktoum, the new Prime Minister, appointed his brother Sheikh Mohammed as Minister of Defence and awarded him the rank of General. He was then the youngest Minister of Defence in the world. Sheikh Rashid relied heavily upon his sons as he sought to transform Dubai, and Sheikh Mohammed took on much responsibility.

Projects such as Dubai Dry Docks were put under his charge.

On August 25, 1977, Sheikh Rashid announced the formation of a committee under Sheikh Mohammed that would take over the administration of Dubai International Airport. During this period he was also given responsibility for Dubai's oil. Through crises such as Lebanon's invasion, the Iran-Iraq War and the beginning of the Palestinian Intifada on December 9, 1987, Sheikh Mohammed continued to aid the Dubai Government in its march forward. One such breathtaking initiative was Sheikh Mohammed's decision to create a new airline. On October 25 the same year, Emirates flew for the first time. In 1985 Sheikh Mohammed took charge of Jebel Ali Free Zone, a port-based industrial area centred around Jebel Ali port.

In January 1995, Sheikh Mohammed was appointed as Crown Prince of Dubai. Late in 1995, he announced the creation of the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF), one of his first initiatives on assuming the mantle of Crown Prince.

One of Sheikh Mohammed's boldest projects is Burj Al Arab, the Tower of the Arabs, located some 100 metres offshore. Early in 2001, Sheikh Mohammed announced by far the most extraordinary Destination Dubai project, Palm Island, a giant resort spread over two palm tree-shaped islands.

On October 29, 1999, Sheikh Mohammed called a Press conference where he announced a new initiative, Dubai Internet City. On May 11, 1999, he announced his latest initiative to a gathering of senior officials at the Dubai Quality Awards. "Within 18 months of tonight," he said, "the Dubai Government as a whole will be on-line, a factor that will increase efficiency and make the process of government faster and smoother". His deadline was met and Dubai had the world's first fully online government.

On a humanitarian front, Sheikh Mohammed was highly active through the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation.

On October 3, the foundation opened an appeal to establish refugee camps both inside Afghanistan and over the border in Pakistan.

Equestrian Sheikh Mohammed learned to ride as a child. He was a promising athlete, an accomplished player of tennis and football, but equestrianism was, and remains, his true sporting passion. It was not until Sheikh Mohammed established Godolphin, in 1994, that the racing world really began to acknowledge his passion for, and understanding of horses. Sheikh Mohammed wanted to race his horses all over the world and to encourage others to do the same. The world's richest horse race, the Dubai World Cup, was established in 1996 with this aim in mind. Sheikh Mohammed has earned International recognition as a horse owner.

Poet Sheikh Mohammed is known for being a Nabati poet. Nabati, is the name given to a colloquial form of Arabic that emerged with the spread of Islam. He began composing Nabati poetry while he was still at school.

Emirates Today quoted a number of ministers and officials who said that the past 12 months, since Sheikh Mohammed headed the UAE cabinet, have been characterized by a great focus on practical issues, forcing the ministries to race against time to provide better results.

"Dr Hanif Hassan, the UAE Minister of Education, considers Sheikh Mohammed's leadership a special gift to all government departments. He said that Sheikh Mohammed uses his previous experience of Dubai, where he made the emirate a success story to be copied not only at the regional level but also internationally, to get things done." The English daily wrote.

Dr Hassan told the paper that Sheikh Mohammed's methods reflects positively on the educational progress of the UAE as he considers education a top priority and this shows in his regular visits to schools and educational forums to encourage students to pursue it.

The Dubai-based paper also quoted Dr Ali Sakar, Under Secretary at the Ministry of Health, saying that Sheikh Mohammed presents an excellent leadership quality, which has proved to be successful in leading the country towards financial and social development.

"Sheikh Mohammed has set his vision to serve the country. His view has offered great benefits to all ministries and departments, helping them put their own strategies and future plans in perspective.

The Ministry of Health has achieved remarkable success since Sheikh Mohammed took over a year ago. It was able to buy advanced medical equipment and machines, and also reduced its budget deficit and debts." Dr Sakar added.

Humaid Bin Demas, Under Secretary at the Labour Ministry, referred to Sheikh Mohammed's focus on the principle of decentralization.

"Some years ago the policy of decentralization in ministries was a mere dream, but now it has become a reality at all ministries and government institutions. For the first time we have a team with a clear strategy. And this has reflected positively on the performance of ministries.

Each ministry has an integrated vision, set targets and a development track that takes into account that the word 'impossible' does not exist in the UAE dictionary." Humaid noted.

The Sharjah based, "The Gulf Today", said that Any witness to the process of development last year will see clearly the volume of achievements that were accomplished under the prudent leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the constant follow-up by Sheikh Mohammed.

"In 2006, Sheikh Mohammed firmly established the method of field follow-up by ministers and officials to their tasks instead of depending on office reports. This resulted in the ministers being delegated more powers to facilitate and speed up work", the paper noted.

"Throughout his first year of executing the new responsibilities, Sheikh Mohammed paid visits to all the emirates where he was briefed on the conditions of services there, particularly with respect to education and health. Besides, he allocated the required funds to streamline several institutions", the paper added.

Sheik Mohammed ordered all obstacles to be removed for the workforce to get their full rights.

The Dubai Ruler ably supported the decision by the President to conduct partial elections for the Federal National Council members.

The English language paper pointed out that the Minister of Labour, Dr. Ali Abdullah Al Ka'abi has congratulated Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, on his first accession anniversary as the Ruler of Dubai.

Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs and Chairman of Dubai Holding, Mohammed Al Gergawi, said he believed there would be a lot of works and achievements in all fields that could be talked about on the first anniversary of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum taking over as Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

It is hard to talk about the achievements of a year that elapsed because these accumulated achievements were the fruit of many previous years, he said, adding that the only difference lay in the fact that there was now a comprehensive plan that covered all sectors and was aimed at ensuring the welfare of man and achieving progress in all the matters associated with his life including education, health, services etc. based on the fact that the development and welfare of UAE people were Sheikh Mohammed's top priority. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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