President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom on Tuesday proclaimed that the development projects his government has accomplished within five years would have taken 18 years under an opposition coalition administration.
Speaking at the inauguration of Buruni island's sewerage system during his official trip to Thaa Atoll, Yameen declared that his government has carried out six projects for each one undertaken during main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)'s previous three-year regime.
Taking Buruni as an example, Yameen stated that whereas previous governments had failed to develop the small island of 300 people, his administration has invested MVR 60 million in Buruni over the past five years.
"We're not undertaking small projects. Even [the opposition] knows this," said Yameen, adding that the opposition coalition was pledging development for the people only after witnessing the speed of progress brought about under his rule.
The president stated that the opposition parties had previously believed that buildings taller than 10-storeys could not be built in capital Male City, despite which the current government has succeeded in developing the 25-storey tertiary Dharumavantha Hospital on Male's west coast.
In his address, Yameen again reiterated that the opposition presidential candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih (Ibu)'s campaign pledges were an echo of what the current administration has accomplished for the people. As an example, he referred to Ibu's recent pledge to develop Kulhudhuffushi, Haa Dhaalu, into a "city", and pointed out that the island would by default attain city-status once its population reached 10,000 as per the law.
Yameen also touched upon Ibu's vow to develop an airport in Kulhudhuffushi, highlighting that the project was already underway under Yameen's administration.
"With nothing new to be seen in [the opposition's] manifesto, the pledges they are making indicate that their manifesto is to just complete whatever is left unfinished of President Yameen's work," he remarked.
Following Ibu's assurance that an opposition-led government would not halt any of the development projects underway across the Maldives, Yameen proclaimed that such mega projects could not be stopped by any of the subsequent administrations. He called on Ibu to reveal what new development his government would have for the people.
"And explain how [Ibu plans] to finance such projects; talk about that," said Yameen, noting that the opposition has not announced such a project to date.
The president also addressed the criticism levied against him, where the opposition coalition has claimed that the current government had failed to make good on its vows to empower the youth. Proclaiming that he had been the one to initiate talks of youth empowerment during the 2013 presidential campaign, Yameen said, "No doubt there are things left unfulfilled; but if 90 out of a 100 [vows] have been fulfilled while only 10 out of a 100 haven't been, then there is no need for anyone else to try to fulfil the remaining fraction."
President Yameen further revealed his target to increase income per capita to USD 20,000 by the end of his first term, and vowed to fulfil it.