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Fri 30 Dec 2011 09:41 AM

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We want to be No. 1, says Sheikh Mohammed

UAE's Prime Minister also rejects threat to Dubai by extremists in CNN interview

We want to be No. 1, says Sheikh Mohammed
Sheikh Mohammed in talks with Tom Cruise who was in Dubai for the launch of his latest movie earlier this month
We want to be No. 1, says Sheikh Mohammed
Sheikh Mohammed has spoken of his ambition to make the UAE number one
We want to be No. 1, says Sheikh Mohammed
Sheikh Mohammed has spoken of his ambition to make the UAE number one

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai and Prime Minister of the UAE, has spoken of his ambition to make the country "number one".

Asked in a CNN interview how much further he wants to go following the rapid rise of the UAE on the world map, he said: "We want to be number one."

Sheikh Mohammed, also vice president of the UAE, also dismissed talk of extremists possibly targeting Dubai.

He said: "They have not made any problems for us, you know, they're living together and they have an interest to come here, so they work and they send home some money from here, so they don't want to spoil that."

And he denied that the recent increase in salaries for government workers in the UAE was a direct response to the Arab Spring where citizens elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa have risen up to protest against their rulers.

Sheikh Mohammed said: "No, it is not because of the Arab Spring, we did it before the Arab Spring started and we did it many times before. If you look in the past 10 years, you will see we have doubled salaries several times."

Asked about the issue of press freedom in the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed said: "As long as they [media] do not say something wrong about a person or whatever it is, they can say things they want and as I told you, we are not perfect, we are still learning."

Answering a question about democracy, he said: "We have our own democracy. You cannot transport your democracy to us."

Asked whether the UAE's succession will continue to pass from father to son, he answered: "As long as people want that."

Last month, the president of the UAE, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, promised greater political rights to citizens.

Home to business hub Dubai and major oil producer Abu Dhabi, the UAE has said it is committed to gradual political reforms, but has given no timetable.

The interview also touched on the punishment facing those who fail to pay their mortgage, with Sheikh Mohammed stressing: "Some laws may be strict but we don't put in jail everybody who comes here."

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A Nakheel Victim 8 years ago

We wish the ruler success in improving Dubai. It has already done amazing things and it is impressive place to live and bring up a family.

However we really need the Ruler or his office to take a look at what is going at Nakheel and their treatments of 1300 tenants of their Palm Jumeirah shoreline Apartments. This terrible treatment of your expats who have trusted Dubai is really causing worldwide awareness of the risks of buying Dubai assets. It can all be solved so easily if a top person gets involved and gets the parties in dispute to suspend hostilities while everyone talks and agrees rational ways forward.

Muhammad Irfan Khaliq 8 years ago

i love being in Dubai. Many thanks and salute to to Sheikh Mohammed.

Investment Banker

Andrew Bannister 8 years ago

One of the reasons I left the UK to start a company and live in Dubai is because Sheikh Mohammed takes personal and true interest and care and consideration for the people of the UAE and many other nationalities.
In the western world we see democracies failing time after time, world wars, high crime rates and simply an increasingly bad attitude towards social integrity.
I am not a Muslim or indeed of any other stated religion, but I believe in God and I see in Arabic culture and especially here in Dubai the need to not only trust in God but to do good in his name. Here it is not just a "religion", it is a way of life and that is why we can live in a secure country where I am not afraid to walk down the street after midnight in fear of my safety.
I love Dubai and to be allowed to live and have a company here is to me an honor and those who criticize this culture should first look at the state of theirs before judging incorrectly others.
Well done Sheikh Mohammed.

isha 8 years ago

All thanks to ALLAH(SWT) and to late his highness sheikh zayed may he rest in jannat ul firdous ameen and his highness sheikh mohammad.....i want to live and die in dubai i feel much secure and at home even if i walk at midnight....alhamdulillah. I JUST LOVE DUBAI.

Saud Alzarouni 8 years ago

I had a lot of respect for Sheikh Mohammed before reading this article.
I now have A LOT more :D

Amir 8 years ago

A lot has to be done to make Dubai No1.
1. granting passports and rights to people who have helped build this country, or at least have contributed in a large way.
2. English has to become more acceptable in all states. As almost all the worlds population speaks this language.
3. allowing public english schools and universities with qualified research teams
4 investing in newer technologies, such as biotechnology , nano technology , space technology etc..
5 building a comprehensive industrial sector that can compete with the world. Not just a freezone with too many catches and costs.
6 eliminate bias treatment towards foriegners
7 quality control on all consumer products. including food items as there are lots of factories that are relabelling expired foods
8. revamp the banking sector. current policies are rubbish.
And much much more.. this is just a short list

Janet 8 years ago

I would like to visit UAE, when is the best time to visit?

gordon 8 years ago

Depends what you are looking for, every time has something special and different.

However if it is the beach then October till May.

John Levy 8 years ago

July to August when children are out of school.

Prem 8 years ago

I must say this with all humility that there is no city like Dubai... this city has offered a lot to all of us and we should be very thankful. I have witnessed Dubai being a 'home, away from home' for all communities and nationalities.

I truly appreciate our UAE leaders (President and Vice President, in particular) for their great contribution in making this city lovable to almost every religion and race.

I see a few blogs being negative about Dubai, but which city on earth is perfect? I think Dubai has more good than bad in comparison to any cities... Ofcourse I agree and urge that Dubai needs to consider all criticisms constructively and try to address them.

UAE leaders, thanks for your vision and making this place live-able and love-able... I request you to please keep up the good growth and make this place not only love-able and live-able but also 'irresistable!'

Wish you a successful 2012 - your success is our success... God bless UAE!