Mr Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development and Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs (a) how many mosques currently face financial difficulties; (b) as at 31 December 2020, how many mosques are in the red due to the COVID-19 situation; and (c) how does MUIS help mosques to remain afloat and financially viable in this tough economic environment.
Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs & Minister for Social and Family Development:
- I provided a response to a similar question raised on 5 April 2021.
- Currently, the financial situation of our mosques is stable. While there has been a drop in physical donations last year due to the temporary closure of mosques during the Circuit Breaker, Muis and our mosques turned to digital means to facilitate donations online. Muis and the Muslim.SG platform also launched OurMasjid.SG portal in April 2020, which raised about $5.2 million for our mosques as at March this year.
- The gradual resumption of congregational prayers and other religious activities at our mosques in the last few months have led to an increase in physical donations, though not to pre-COVID levels. Muis will work with our mosques to ensure that they continue to be adequately resourced during these challenging times.
- Muis has provided additional funding to support mosques’ operations. This includes grants to offset the necessary expenses to ensure the safe resumption of religious activities. These include the purchase of equipment for temperature screening, safe entry check-ins, as well as masks and other personal protective gear.
- Like other employers, mosques also receive wage support through the Jobs Support Scheme (or JSS), which totalled about $9.9 million in 2020. Our mosques received the final JSS disbursement of $1.1 million in March 2021.
- The support from Muis and the Government, together with the increase in online donations, have offset the reduction in income and donations for mosques during the pandemic. The mosque cluster system has also helped to facilitate the collective efforts of mutual support amongst the mosques.
- Muis will continue to work closely with our mosques to ensure they remain financially stable and receive the necessary assistance during these challenging times.
- I thank the community for their support and encourage them to continue donating through the various online platforms. Their support and generosity will enable our mosques to continue serving our community in a safe and sustainable manner.