Known the world over as the man behind the massive development drive in the emirate, which resulted in the mushrooming of numerous industries and projects of a gargantuan scale, Shaikh Mohammed is admired and revered as a benevolent leader by people in the UAE.
Mohammed's election has been unanimously hailed as a case of "a best successor to the best predecessor".
Khaleej Times spoke to senior officials of local government departments in Dubai, about their experiences with and general opinion about the great personality.
Abdul Majid Al Khaja, Director of Dubai Metro Department, Dubai Roads and Transport Authority: Shaikh Mohammed is the first leader who successfully introduced the idea of the government sector competing with the private sector. It has been successful to an extent that now the government sector, if required, can compete with the private sector in any given industry. Shaikh Mohammed turned the general negativism in the government sector, which no more has the term ‘impossible’ in its dictionary. He did this by removing the obstacles of rules and regulations and legislations that were obsolete. To be able to work under his leadership, one has to be fast, quick at making decisions, and possess a line of thought that is ‘breakthrough’ in approach. Shaikh Mohammed is a result-oriented leader, and it is results only that he seeks.
Saeed Mohammed Al Naboodah, CEO of Dubai Shopping Festival: The UAE is being built on a solid base. The UAE leaders are the best successors to the best ancestors. They successfully continued the march of the federation and development. Our leaders have followed the vision of their ancestors who always share opinions with others for building the country. We promise our leaders' loyalty and a continued march for the welfare of the country and its people. His Highness Shaikh Mohammed is distinguished with setting a clear policy, embodied in his accomplishments. He is distinguished as well with his clear vision that is supported with accurate execution plans, complete with a time-table. He does not allow any delays. He is a military person who is accurate and fast on implementations of plans. He is dynamic and creative, a man of experience and innovation in all aspects, especially economy. He is a leader who dedicates his efforts and time to personally follow up and control execution of plans. I think his endeavours and initiatives and work attitude will be reflected in the whole country from his new position as Vice-President and Prime Minister. I wish him all success.
Prince Turki bin Abdulaziz: We, in the GCC, have lost a prominent leader who contributed to enhancing the joint efforts of Gulf nations. Shaikh Mohammed will be the best successor to the best ancestor. He will continue the march of building and accomplish further development. Shaikh Mohammed is known for his vision and distinguished leadership capabilities.
Dr Abdulqader Al Khayat, Executive Director, Dubai Biotechnology and Research Park: Shaikh Mohammed is a well-known figure who will prove to be an accomplished Ruler of Dubai. I am sure that he is most fit to take up the new post and new duties, and face bigger challenges as he is well-known nationally and internationally. He will take the nation further in all aspects, including economically, financially and politically, following in the footsteps of the great rulers of the UAE.
Ismail Al Banna, Assistant Director of Public Parks and Horticulture Department, and Head of Public Parks and Recreation Section, Dubai Municipality: With the passing away of Shaikh Maktoum, we lost a leader who for us in the UAE, was the kindest person on earth. While it is a depressing feeling to realise he is not among us any more, we can take solace and pride in the fact that his dreams for Dubai as well as the country will be realised under the leadership of Shaikh Mohammed — a leader who translated Shaikh Maktoum’s word and dream into reality. He is the right person to bring about this transformation, as he has leadership skills and the power to take Dubai into a new era. As I understand, Shaikh Mohammed believes that people can be brought together not through politics, but through economics.
Mohammed Al Noori, Head of Advertising Section, Dubai Municipality: “For every era, there is a leader; but there has never been a leader like Shaikh Mohammed. He has a plan for the country and the emirate of Dubai, and this is based on a well thought-out strategy. Every successful leader has a great number of followers, and the hundreds of thousands who follow Shaikh Mohammed’s leadership are taking steps at his command and guidance. Dubai’s great achievements can be attributed to the immense belief that people have in Shaikh Mohammed, and this belief was not something built overnight; it has a long history of successes in the past and a solid background. Everything he said and stood for was accomplished by him. Shaikh Mohammed’s vision is far greater than we can imagine; and what we have already seen or are seeing at the moment is but a glimpse of his greater vision. What has been achieved so far is just the base, but the best is yet to come.
Reda Hassan Salman, Head of Environment Protection and Safety Section (EPSS), Dubai Municipality: Shaikh Mohammed neither needs an introduction nor is there a need to list his great achievements as a leader of Dubai. They are well-known, not only in the country and the region, but the world over. Every sector and field that he touched has experienced a boom and development. As the head of a section that works for the conservation of the environment, I would like to point out that it is Shaikh Mohammed who instituted the world’s biggest award for environment, the Shaikh Zayed Prize. Shaikh Mohammed has been a great motivator for the youth, whom he supported through various government schemes, in establishing themselves as businessmen and entrepreneurs. His decisiveness, firm beliefs, and vision are what I truly admire.
Dr Ahmed bin Hazeem Al Suwaidi, Director of Dubai Courts: The election of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed, as Ruler of Dubai is a real opportunity and important step in consolidating and carrying forward the success which was achieved in the emirate. The stage has also been set for Shaikh Mohammed to use his experience and successes already achieved for the welfare of Dubai to a federal level through his progressive principles and enlightened thought.
Today under Shaikh Mohammed's leadership of the cabinet, we are eagerly looking forward to seeing the ministries entering a new historical era, which will certainly set the ground for a new quantum leap and the results will materialise shortly.
Shaikh Mohammed has the qualities that qualify him to be worthy of shouldering the responsibility. He is a unique leader who has always been holding aloft the UAE flag in all international forums.
Dr Jamal M. Al Mehairi, Under-Secretary, Ministry of Education: Shaikh Mohammed has a clear vision and message. Shaikh Mohammed is shouldering enormous responsibility and he is capable of bringing about the much-awaited change, stamp out all the negative aspects and overcome the obstacles which hinder the execution of some projects.
Dr Abdul Ghaffar Abdul Ghafoor, Assistant Under-Secretary, Ministry of Health: Shaikh Mohammed is the best successor to the best predecessor. He had been raised and taught in the school of his late father Shaikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum.
Shaikh Mohammed is well known for his extreme commitment to execute all the assignments entrusted to his subordinates as well as for his accuracy and thoroughness in work. He had, in a short span of time, put Dubai on the world map due to his own efforts and the directives of the late Shaikh Maktoum.
He said the election of Shaikh Mohammed would serve as impetus to the federation and rejuvenate it with young blood and lead to a creative blending of ideas, which will contribute to enhancing the reputation of the UAE. Their Highnesses, Members of the Supreme Council and Rulers of the Emirates, will continue the march which they had started thanks to their solidarity and cooperation.
In the wake of the untimely death of Shaikh Maktoum, Shaikh Mohammed finds himself with the dual roles of being both the Ruler of Dubai and the Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE. Since the death two years ago of Shaikh Rashid, his eldest son, Shaikh Maktoum had already tended to take a back seat in the governance of the emirate, leaving the reins in the capable hands of Shaikh Mohammed. Therefore, his now official position as Ruler is unlikely to raise many eyebrows in the Western community. But what of his confirmation as Vice-President of the UAE?
“A superb thing,” said South African producer Bernie Masters. “The man has the foresight to bring overall growth to the country as a whole.”
His views were echoed and expanded on by Bill Baker, an American strategist and long-term resident in the Gulf area.
“He is a wonderful visionary and I hope that he will replicate many of the things in the UAE that he has managed to do in Dubai. Having him as the Vice-President is definitely a paradigm shift, and I think it will change the way people think of the UAE.”
Scottish-born Lilli MacDonald confessed: “I hope the strengths apparent in Dubai will be transferred to the UAE as a whole. It’s definitely going to be good for the UAE.”
Said David Burns, a British facilitator: “This man is a dynamic ruler and I believe he’ll take that dynamism across the whole of the UAE.”
While no one would dispute Shaikh Mohammed’s track record over the last few years, there are naturally some concerns over how he will deal with all the facets of the community within the larger area. But even these are tempered with admiration for his achievements thus far.
“Generally speaking, I feel that Shaikh Mohammed’s appointment as Vice-President will benefit the UAE and the Emiratis in particular,” observed Petra Connoly, a PR expatriate from Glasgow. “Shaikh Mohammed has done a superb job in Dubai, and I think that will be extended to the other emirates.”
Speaking as the Deputy Chairman of Special Projects for the British Business Groups, Nick Tutt was comprehensive in his approbation.
“Although the news of Shaikh Maktoum’s death is clearly sad, the appointment of Shaikh Mohammed as Vice-President can only be a good thing for Dubai and will strengthen its position. The man is a visionary and one of the few people who can deliver on that vision,” said Tutt.
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