At last week’s Government Summit, Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum gave the UAE public perhaps its greatest insight yet into a mind that has shaped both Dubai and the nation. The UAE Vice President and Prime Minister took time out to answer questions from citizens and journalists, and from the young and the old.
On aspiring to be ‘number one’
“We have learnt persistence to reach number one from the late Sheikh Zayed and the late Sheikh Rashid, and today we are learning that from Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed; for example, Abu Dhabi is striving to achieve number one in the fields of culture and renewable energy. This is its right to do so and it is capable of achieving that.
“We, in the UAE, have no such word as “impossible”; it does not exist in our lexicon. Such a word is used by the lazy and the weak, who fear challenges and progress. When one doubts his potential and capabilities as well as his confidence, he will lose the compass that leads him to success and excellence, thus failing to achieve his goal. I require you, youth, to insist on number one.”
On coping with challenges
“Life is all about challenges. Imagine a life without challenges. We should try to surmount the challenges rather than backing off from them. As long as we have the resolve to face it, we can surmount them provided we keep a positive frame of mind.
“Do we have to stand still to avoid the risk of falling, or stop flying for fear of an air crash? Ever since I took a leadership role, I have encountered several challenges. But I never gave up and I never bowed to them.”
On exceeding expectations
“Every year I am accustomed to invite media people to break their fast during the holy month of Ramadan; we meet at the breakfast meal and discuss a number of issues. I answered a question about how much we have achieved and said then “10 percent only”. After two years, I invited them again during Ramadan and the same journalist asked me the same question; I answered “7 percent only,” because no matter how giant are our achievements for our people, we still aspire achieve more. If we have achieved everything, should we stay hand folded, just to eat and drink?
On the role of government
“I want a government that toils 24 hours a day, just like airlines. I want it to be close to people, welcoming all clients akin to that welcome received by hotels’ guests. I want the citizens to be able to process all their government transactions in one place , on a mobile one-stop shop.
“We want further cooperation and integration to leverage our state and our institutions to the international standards which we aspire to prevail in all fields and sectors, especially the government sectors so that we can provide best services to customers.
“We are an authority for people, not over people. A director in any department has been appointed to assist customers and to facilitate their transactions without delay under any circumstances. We are taking the course of our founding fathers and the path of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan who places the citizen at the top of his priorities.”
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