At the meeting with heads and members of the executive, legislative and judicial authorities
20 February 2011
(Translated from Arabic)
In the Name of God, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful
Good evening and greetings to all,
Let me start by saying that I am pleased to see this clear commitment by all to shoulder their responsibilities and to work as a team, in a genuine partnership that our country and our dear people need and deserve. I am certain that if we continue in this positive spirit, we will realise our goals and move forward at a rapid and steady pace.
There are serious challenges. There are economic problems, and many of our people are suffering. However, my brothers, has there ever been a time when we did not face challenges? Has there ever been a time in our history when there were no difficulties? This country, my brothers, and this proud people have always faced challenges, conspiracies and grandstanding. But they have always overcome all of these, with will, hard work and determination to ensure that Jordan remains stronger than any challenges or difficulties… and stronger than all those who try to threaten its security, stability and the cohesion and unity of its people.
Your responsibilities at this stage are great, and I hope that you will work as a team to serve our people, meet their needs, listen to them, communicate with them, and place their interests above anything else. Our people deserve that we talk to them openly and frankly about everything.
Many issues are being raised. Some are true, some are exaggerated, and others are untrue. There is talk about corruption, there is wasta and favouritism, there is talk about failed institutions, about privatisation: whether it been a success or a failure, whether it has led to wasting the resources of the country or increased them. There is also talk about taxes: are they fair or not? Have investment and openness to the private sector helped Jordan or not? And there are other issues that are being discussed, sometimes objectively and accurately, and quite often, discussions are based on rumours and false information. Such rumours should be addressed by presenting clear and correct information to the people.
And when we talk about corruption in particular, the government, Parliament and all other stakeholders are required to respond immediately to any issue raised. If there is any suspicion of corruption, an investigation should start promptly, and if the accusations are baseless, this should be made clear, and the accusations should stop, because false accusations are harmful to the country and its reputation. And no one should be allowed to tarnish the image of this country with false and untrue claims.
I have directed the government to instruct the Anti-Corruption Commission to keep open its doors to receive any complaint of suspected corruption, so that such complaint is investigated and referred to the judiciary to hold accountable all those found guilty. The government is also required to enhance all anti-corruption mechanisms and agencies so that they can carry out their duties out with the highest degree of proficiency and efficiency.
We must discuss all issues raised to explain the truth about them. People have questions, and there should be clear answers to each and every question asked.
The government is also required to commit itself to the code of conduct which the previous government adopted and which is based on the Constitution and the law. I hope Parliament will take the initiative and produce a similar document, and that both the government and the Lower House would work out a mechanism to cooperate and set the rules that govern their relationship in line with the Constitution and the law, to build the best possible relationship between the two authorities.
Launch a comprehensive dialogue. Citizens are capable of dealing with all challenges if there are frankness and transparency, and if they are informed of what the state is doing to serve them and achieve progress, from which the people should benefit.
There are shortcomings that must be addressed. Likewise, there are proud achievements that should be maintained and built on. This should be done through hard work and sound programmes and plans. And through your cooperation, we will move forward and proceed with comprehensive reform in order to build the future that our country and people deserve.
And when I say reform, I want real and quick reform, because without genuine reforms, the situation will remain as it was, when many officials wasted opportunities because of reluctance to move forward and fear of change… when they retreated before people with private agendas who resisted reform to guard their own interests. I will not allow that to happen again.
Every official is sufficiently empowered to make the right decision within his or her jurisdiction. And when any official takes a decision, he or she should take responsibility for it before the people and before their conscience, with courage and integrity. They should not hide behind anyone and say: “I have received instructions from above.” There is nothing called “instructions from above”.
Our people are educated, cultured and are capable of shouldering their responsibilities. They are well aware that their interests, security, dignity and future are to me above any other consideration. And when I feel that there is failure in serving these basic rights, I take the right decision to protect and safeguard these rights. These rights are my top priority and they are a red line that I will not allow anyone to cross. My evaluation of any body and any programme is based on the extent to which they serve these rights.
I know Jordanians. I know their wisdom, I know their sense of belonging and commitment to their country and its well being. God willing, they will continue to hold their heads high and Jordan will always stand tall with dignity.
Again, I will not say it is a new beginning. It is continuity of the process. But we want a new mechanism and a new era… And as I said at the inauguration of Parliament, there is no time to waste. We need hard work, and we need a continuous process of assessment and evaluation to correct errors and failures.
The Letter of Designation to the new government is clear: I want quick results. When I talk about political reform, I want real reform consistent with the spirit of the age. I am waiting for the government to present its recommendations on the mechanisms through which comprehensive dialogue will be conducted to discuss all the steps that must be taken to achieve political development. The most important step is to study and develop all laws governing political and civil activities, particularly the Election Law. There should be consensus on this law and on its goals, which must encourage collective political work and the emergence of political parties as well as increasing public participation in decision making. The objective is that competition for Parliament takes place among parties and on the basis of programmes. This is essential so that we move to a new stage in the administration of the state when governments will be formed by parties and on the basis of the clear programmes that these parties will present. To get to that stage, there should be strong and efficient political parties and continuous dialogue.
We also want economic reform that improves people's standards of living, ensures justice, and creates jobs and opportunities for our youth, who will endure all difficulties if they are confident that they are moving towards a better future.
Reform is our unwavering will. Our commitment to it stems from our conviction that it is in the interest of our people because reform means development and keeping up with the spirit of the age. And it should be clear to all that when we say we want to develop and move forward, it does not mean that our situation is so bad or that we are starting from scratch. Thank God, our achievements have exceeded our limited resources. Our institutions are efficient, law applies fairly to all, there is law and order, and the dignity of citizens, which is part of my dignity, is preserved. Thank God, people in this country feel that their lives, property and dignity are safe. Citizens should not need wasta to enjoy their rights or “to keep things going”. Thank God, no one in this country has disappeared and not a single drop of blood has been shed for reasons related to politics or opinion as the situation is in some countries. The picture here is much brighter than it is depicted by some.
The stability, freedom and openness prevailing in Jordan, and the tolerance that characterises this country have regrettably tempted a small group to take advantage of such a climate to try to poison the atmosphere and to harm to the country and the people. But what I want to state clearly today is that nothing will change Jordan's policy of openness, the culture of pluralism and acceptance of all constructive and frank opinions. These are constants in Jordan and they will not change. At the same time, I want to make it clear to everyone that I will not allow, nor will Jordanians allow, anybody to spread division or harm the country's stability and achievements or the unity and cohesion of our people.
We need to move forward, building on what generations of Jordanians have achieved. It is the duty of all of us to develop our country and take the initiative to embrace the spirit of the times and benefit from the opportunities they offer.
I have complete faith in Jordan and total confidence in the Jordanian people. We defend our precious Jordan and the freedom and dignity of our people with our lives.
Again, you have great responsibilities, and I am confident that you are up to them.
Through your cooperation, and with the determination of our faithful and loyal people, Jordan will remain the model of a proud and dignified country on the path of more progress and achievement. God willing, tomorrow will be a better day.