The easiest way to ‘colonize’ a country is by weakening its economy and forcing it to depend upon another country for its income and livelihood, President Abdulla Yameen has said, even as the Maldives attracts massive overseas investment for mega projects and relies heavily on foreigners for tourism.
Yameen was speaking at the capital’s convention centre on Saturday night at a ceremony to mark Republic Day in the Maldives.
“Colonialism does not come only through acts of terrorism,” he told the audience. “Instead, today, countries are subjugated by means of ideological warfare and malicious economic schemes.
“The private sector therefore, is an important partner for any government pursuing economic independence of the country. The contribution of the private sector in our development is unparalleled. For such reasons, one of the main components of our economic policy is to introduce encouraging strategies which will enhance the private sector in the country.”
Beijing is financing a US$200 million bridge connecting the capital to the suburb island Hulhumalé and providing a US$370 million loan for a housing project there.
The country has also inked hefty deals with Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the UAE.
A visiting IMF mission said earlier this year that ambitious infrastructure projects could transform the nation’s economy in the long-run, but posed risks due to persisting fiscal deficits and high levels of public debt.
Yameen also used the Saturday night speech to say the Maldives would remain a target for “intellectual warfare” as long as it upheld its commitment to Islam and kept the religion as the only one accepted by the state.
“Acts of violent and religious extremism are also planned intellectually. Such ideological antagonism is what will disrupt the prosperity and the togetherness of society by creating negative ideals, and will transmit over generations to come.”
The president is expected to travel to Kulhudhuffushi today to officially inaugurate a controversial airport project and to hold a major political rally.