Mr Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development and Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs (a) who holds the reversionary interest of the land belonging to Wakaf Haji Pitchay Meerah Hussain at No 5 Lorong 9 Geylang Road; (b) how was the wakaf land and property which is to be forever used as madrasah be used as a temple; (c) how did MUIS come to a decision to carve out a 199-year leasehold on this property; and (d) whether the family of the donor has been informed and agreed to such a change.
Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs & Minister for Social and Family Development:
- Under the Administration of Muslim Law Act (AMLA), Muis is tasked with the administration of all wakaf in Singapore to ensure that wakaf properties remain viable and maximise returns for the intended beneficiaries. Muis carries out these duties with the advice of the Fatwa Committee.
- Wakaf Haji Pitchay Meerah Hussain comprised a property at No 5 Lorong 9 Geylang that was bequeathed by the late Haji Pitchay Meerah Hussain, also known as the ‘wakif’ (or bequeather) in 1920, who intended it to be used as a madrasah. Prior to 2000, the wakaf was managed by the trustees appointed through the order of the Court. Upon the demise of one of the trustees, the other surviving trustee retired in 2000 and since then, Muis directly manages the wakaf.
- The wakaf was not operating as a madrasah when it was handed over to Muis, and the property was in a dilapidated state. It was also not generating any income. Given this, Muis considered various options to best achieve the objectives intended by the wakif. Based on the approach of istibdal wakaf which was laid out in a fatwa, selling and migrating the property to one with better prospects and channelling the returns to support madrasah education, met this objective.
- Therefore in 2002, Muis migrated the wakaf to 11 Beach Road, a 999-year leasehold commercial property. Since the wakaf’s migration, Muis has disbursed the yields from the property at 11 Beach Road to our full-time madrasahs, which is aligned with wakif’s original intent wish. The property at No 5 Lorong 9 Geylang was sold and transferred to external parties on a 199-year leasehold basis, where lessees are then subject to the zoning regulations set by the authorities. During this time, the wakaf property is at 11 Beach Road.
- This arrangement allows the wakaf to grow its assets in the long run. The wakaf will have two assets at the end of the leasehold period – the share of the current property at 11 Beach Road, and the original property.