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Circles of excellence for a community of success

Speech by Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs & Minister for the Environment and Water Resources at the Committee of Supply Debate 2019

Introduction

  1. Mr Chairman, for decades now, MUIS, MENDAKI, MESRA individually have nurtured our community’s values, uplifted individuals and families through education and community self-help, and fostered our community’s participation in our larger multi-racial society. Together, and in a structured way– the M3, or M to the power of three – and with the vast energy of our Malay/Muslim community, we can help each other to reach even greater heights.
  2. At the 2018 National Day Rally, Prime Minister said that M3 will work together more closely to fulfil the needs and aspirations of our community. We have made good progress. We have started to organise the ground, by connecting volunteers and programmes across M3@Town. We are laying the foundations for more integrated, citizen-centric last-mile help, starting with the launch of the M3 office at Wisma Geylang Serai, or M3@WGS. We have also launched pilots to make M3 felt on the ground, starting in Tampines and Pasir Ris-Punggol. In addition to the volunteers and staff of MUIS, MENDAKI, and MESRA, M3@Town has also become a network for professionals to contribute in their local neighbourhoods.
  3. The KelasMateMatika@CC pilot was our first experiment to learn and get used to working together. This is important because we need to deliver joint M3 community projects which can be bigger. In fact, this programme, KelasMateMatika@CC, was preceded or developed successfully during the leadership of my predecessor, Dr Yaacob during his leadership of MENDAKI. Now that the synergy from the model of collaboration in KelasMateMatika@CC has achieved good, initial results, we will scale up the M3 efforts to benefit more in the community. Mendaki will scale up from 300 KMM beneficiaries last year to 1500 this year, working with their outreach partners from MESRA and MUIS.
  4. Mr Saktiandi Supaat and Mr Faisal Manap asked about the progress and plans for M3. In the next phase, M3 seeks to achieve the following:
    • First, enabling our community, especially our young, to access educational and developmental opportunities.
    • Second, fostering sound values that undergird our socio-religious life – values that reject extremism and segregation, and nurture an inclusive, confident and progressive mind-set of caring for the common good of society; and
    • Third, providing opportunities for our community to bond with others over common causes. When we work with other communities, we become familiar with each other, deepen mutual understanding and trust, and forge friendships.
  5. The M3 comprises circles of excellence in our heartland towns, tapping on assets in the community. These are no other than committed and capable individuals who are willing to contribute time and effort to the community in a structured way and flexibly co-creating services suited to the needs of the areas they serve. The soul of the M3 effort is about stepping forward and giving back. The circle is formed by successful individuals helping others around them to see possible paths ahead and creating opportunities for the next generation.
  6. Mr Chairman, allow me to continue in Malay, please.

    Meluaskan jangkauan M3@Bandar

  7. M3 bermula sebagai satu lingkaran kecemerlangan yang saling melengkapi. Kejayaan masyarakat Melayu/Islam harus dipacu oleh jalinan kukuh di kawasan kejiranan dan tempat kerja. Ini adalah misi MESRA. M3@Bandar akan menggembleng individu dan aset masyarakat serta nasional di kawasan kejiranan kita, untuk menghubungkan penduduk kepada tahap perkhidmatan terakhir atau “last-mile service delivery” yang lebih cekap lagi berkesan. Program masyarakat yang sesuai akan didatangkan lebih dekat kepada penduduk, untuk meningkatkan kesedaran dan kadar penyertaan dalam program-program. M3@Bandar juga akan mencipta peluang untuk semua, tanpa mengira latarbelakang dan keupayaan, untuk melakukan kerja sukarela dan berkhidmat kepada jiran tetangga.
  8. Para Anggota Parlimen Melayu/Islam PAP kini giat menerajui usaha membentuk M3@Bandar. Di setiap bandar, agensi-agensi M3 akan berkongsi maklumat tentang anggota masyarakat yang memerlukan dan yang boleh memberi bantuan. Bersama-sama, mereka akan melakarkan pelan M3 yang memanfaatkan program kemasyarakatan masjid-masjid dan program pendidikan pusat satelit MENDAKI, serta menggerakkan tenaga sukarelawan M3.
  9. Penubuhan M3@Tampines dan M3@Pasir Ris-Punggol adalah langkah pertama. Enam lagi M3@Bandar akan dilancarkan tahun ini di Bedok, Chua Chu Kang, Jurong, Marsiling-Yew Tee, Nee Soon dan Woodlands.
  10. Kejayaan M3@Bandar terletak di pundak anggota masyarakat yang juga merupakan aset kita. Kami mengalu-alukan sumbangan anda, termasuk yang mempunyai kepakaran dan berpengalaman memegang pucuk pimpinan. Anda boleh menjadi inspirasi kepada golongan muda. Samada anda seorang guru, anggota Angkatan Bersenjata Singapura, pegawai Home Team, peguam dan karyawan termasuk dari sektor jagaan kesihatan, anda mempunyai cerita pengalaman hidup yang boleh memberi inspirasi dan menanam semangat kepada anak-anak muda. Umpamanya, sebagai ‘mentor’ cerita anda mampu menjadikan mereka mahu memandang lebih jauh, dan tidak mudah berputus asa dalam meredah onak duri kehidupan. Golongan muda perlu peran contoh yang mereka dapat teladani. Bagi yang berpotensi pula, pergaulan anda bakal membimbing mereka cara menjalin rangkaian profesional dan merebut peluang pekerjaan.
  11. M3 sudah pun menyinsing lengan dengan badan-badan masyarakat yang lain. Contohnya, lapan badan Melayu/Islam termasuk AMP, LBKM dan 4PM telah berganding bahu untuk menawarkan khidmat sehenti kepada masyarakat di Wisma Geylang Serai melalui Kurnia@WGS. Kami telah mendengar keprihatinan orang ramai bahawa ada anggota masyarakat yang memerlukan bantuan kadang kala tidak tahu di mana untuk mendapatkan pertolongan. Maka Kurnia@WGS adalah langkah tepat untuk menyepadukan sumber dan kekuatan badan-badan masyarakat serta bekerjasama dengan M3 di bawah satu bumbung.
  12. Begitu juga, Kesatuan Guru Melayu Singapura (KGMS) yang tampil bersama M3 dan menggalak anggota mereka menjadi sukarelawan. Para guru memainkan peranan penting di M3@Bandar, sebagai penghubung antara sekolah-sekolah dan masyarakat, dan menjangkaui pelajar di luar bilik darjah. Sekumpulan peguam mapan pula telah menganjurkan sesi kaunseling guaman bertajuk “Tipah Tertipu” di bawah Siri “SHIOK” di Kelab Masyarakat Woodlands Galaxy, Disember lalu. Sesi interaktif itu telah meningkatkan pemahaman para penduduk tentang cara melindungi diri daripada sindiket penipuan.
  13. Encik Muhammad Imran Abdul Rahim adalah sukarelawan dan peguam muda M3@Bandar. Beliau mula berkhidmat di Woodlands pada 2016, setelah menyedari bahawa ramai penduduk menghadapi masalah undang-undang tapi tidak mendapat nasihat sewajarnya. Imran menggunakan kepakarannya dan berganding bahu dengan peguam muda lain untuk mengadakan beberapa ceramah dan klinik guaman secara percuma, serta membantu di acara-acara kemasyarakatan.
  14. Saya harap contoh positif awal kolaborasi M3 dengan badan-badan masyarakat, dan para sukarelawan, menambah keyakinan Encik Mohamed Irshad kepada potensi M3 membantu masyarakat mencapai kesejahteraan sosial. Seiring dengan usaha mengajak individu untuk menyumbang sebagai sukarelawan, kita juga akan terus berganding bahu dengan badan kebajikan sukarela (VWO) serta pertubuhan Melayu dan India Muslim setempat. Kita akan menggarap kekuatan masing-masing untuk melipatgandakan bantuan kepada masyarakat.

    Memupuk semangat ingin menimba ilmu

  15. Profesor Madya Faishal Ibrahim bertanya bagaimana badan-badan masyarakat menyokong pembangunan anak-anak kita. Jelas, azam untuk mencapai kecemerlangan perlu dipupuk dalam diri anak-anak kita dari kecil lagi. Ia bermula dengan menyemai sikap mengambil inisiatif dan berdaya tahan, serta cinta kepada pembelajaran dan ilmu pengetahuan.
  16. Masyarakat kita sudah terbiasa dengan pelbagai kegiatan Bulan Bahasa dan menyambut Ramadan dengan penuh meriah. Buat julung-julung kalinya, saya ingin mengumumkan bahawa Yayasan MENDAKI akan menganjurkan Bulan Raikan Ilmu, pada Oktober nanti. Bulan ini dikhususkan untuk memupuk minat belajar dan cinta pada ilmu, kerana mengejar ilmu adalah budaya orang Melayu Singapura. Kempen tahun ini akan dimulakan dengan pelancaran Galeri Warisan yang merakam susur galur perjalanan masyarakat Melayu/Islam dalam mengejar ilmu. Galeri ini juga akan menyorot kembara MENDAKI dan mengiktiraf barisan pemimpin terdahulu yang menerajui penubuhan MENDAKI.
  17. Sempena bulan Raikan Ilmu, MENDAKI akan menjalankan berbagai aktiviti bersama rakan M3 dan memadatkan Pesta Pembelajaran MENDAKI (MENDAKI Learning Festival) dengan aktiviti dan peluang sesuai buat setiap peringkat umur. Misalnya “Jump Career Fairs” oleh MENDAKI SENSE dikhususkan untuk golongan pekerja dan profesional yang ingin mendapatkan latihan dan peningkatan kerjaya, sementara “Future Ready Marketplace” memberi panduan kepada belia untuk menempuh alam pekerjaan.  “PlayFest” pula memberi fokus terhadap pendidikan awal kanak-kanak melalui teknik belajar sambil bermain, di kalangan kanak-kanak prasekolah dan ibu bapa mereka. Pesta Pembelajaran ini akan turut meraikan para graduan kita yang cemerlang menerusi acara Anugerah MENDAKI. Menteri Negara Zaqy Mohamad akan berkongsi lebih lanjut tentang pelbagai usaha MENDAKI.

    Mengukuhkan sektor agama untuk masa depan

  18. Saya ingin sentuh tentang kehidupan beragama kerana ia banyak mempengaruhi nilai-nilai masyarakat kita. Profesor Madya Fatimah Lateef dan Dr Intan Azura Mokhtar telah mengajukan soalan tentang usaha untuk mempersiap asatizah dalam menghadapi dunia yang pantas berubah, serta perkembangan tentang pelan untuk membina sebuah Kolej Islam Singapura (SIC). Asatizah adalah tunggak bimbingan agama yang menganjurkan nilai-nilai murni dalam masyarakat. Kami meletakkan harapan tinggi agar golongan asatizah menjadi ulama dan pemimpin agama ulung, yang dapat menyumbang bukan sahaja di Singapura malah seluruh dunia. Asatizah perlu membina bidang ilmu agama khusus dalam memimpin masyarakat Islam yang hidup harmoni dengan masyarakat lain termasuk masyarakat sejagat. Dengan ilmu yang dimiliki dalam kedua-dua bidang agama dan sekular, golongan asatizah juga boleh berkhidmat dan terus meningkatkan diri dalam bidang yang saling melengkapi, misalnya kerja sosial, kaunseling, kewangan dan perundangan Islam.
  19. Kami akan merintis jalan dalam dua bidang. Pertama, Jawatankuasa Asatizah Masa Depan (Committee on Future Asatizah – COFA) akan ditubuhkan. Jawatankuasa ini terdiri daripada pemimpin-pemimpin agama dan masyarakat, asatizah dan para profesional yang mempunyai kepakaran relevan. COFA ingin mengajak masyarakat untuk mencipta bersama visi “Asatizah Masa Depan”, serta kemahiran dan kecekapan yang perlu dimiliki asatizah untuk membimbing masyarakat Melayu/Islam di masa hadapan. Dengan hasil dapatan daripada usaha-usaha yang diterajui COFA, kami akan dapat berkongsi pelan pembangunan asatizah yang lebih menyeluruh pada akhir tahun ini. Kedua, sesuai dengan visi “Asatizah Masa Depan” MUIS akan melancarkan Sijil Pos Siswazah Islam dalam Masyarakat Kontemporari (PCICS) bagi semua lulusan jurusan agama pada tahun 2020. Program pensijilan ini akan menggantikan program Sijil Pengajian Islam Mengikut Konteks (ICON), dan memberi lebih tumpuan agar asatizah mendapat kemahiran yang relevan bagi alam pekerjaan. Ini juga menyumbang kepada usaha menyeluruh dalam pelan pembentukan Kolej Islam Singapura (SIC). Menteri Negara Kanan Maliki Osman akan memberikan perinciannya sebentar lagi.
  20. Encik Amrin Amin bertanyakan tentang usaha untuk mempertingkat madrasah kita, dan Profesor Madya Faishal mengajukan soalan tentang sokongan MUIS kepada Madrasah Wak Tanjong. Memandangkan sektor madrasah adalah kunci dalam pelan induk untuk membentuk asatizah masa depan, madrasah-madrasah kita juga sedang diperkukuh secara menyeluruh. Dalam usaha menyokong visi ini, saya ingin berkongsi bahawa sejumlah 26 pelajar dalam kohort pertama Program Diploma International Baccaulaureate (IBDP) telah memulakan pengajian mereka di Madrasah Aljunied baru-baru ini. Program ini bertujuan melengkapi asatizah masa depan dengan pengetahuan dan kemahiran yang lebih luas, demi membimbing masyarakat selanjutnya. Di samping itu, MUIS juga telah menjalin kerjasama rapat dengan Madrasah Wak Tanjong dan Lembaga pentadbirnya yang baru untuk melaksanakan Pakej Bantuan Menyeluruh demi mengukuhkan pentadbiran dan program pendidikannya dan juga memberi perspektif yang menyeluruh.

    Conclusion

  21. I shared the story of Muhammad Imran Rahim, an everyday hero who inspires us. He said, “I can’t discount the number of people who helped me to get to where I am today. It’s the least I can do, especially if one has the know-how to help others.” 
  22. Each of us can set this circle of excellence into motion: if we work together for a common cause; if we encourage others to persevere; and if we help the next generation. In turn, our community will become stronger. And M3 will provide the networks and resources to leverage the rich relationships and expertise in our community.
  23. Come forward and work with M3. Together, we will build a Community of Success.

English Translation of Malay Speech

Expanding the reach of M3@Town

  1. M3 begins as a virtuous circle of excellence. A successful Malay/Muslim community must be anchored on strong local communities, drawing on the rich networks and relationships in our neighbourhoods and workplaces. This is where MESRA will focus its energy. M3@Town will mobilise people and community as well as national assets in our towns, connecting residents to a more effective last-mile service delivery. Community programmes will be brought closer to residents, to increase residents’ awareness and participation. M3@Town will also create opportunities for people, regardless of background and abilities, to volunteer and serve the people in their neighbourhoods.
  2. Our Malay/Muslim PAP MPs are leading efforts to establish M3@Towns. They have brought the M3 agencies together in their towns and mapped out the needs, assets and community programmes at our CCs, mosques and MENDAKI satellite centres. They have also begun to mobilise volunteers across M3.
  3. The launch of M3@Tampines and Pasir Ris-Punggol was the first step. M3@Town will be rolled out in six more towns this year, at Bedok, Chua Chu Kang, Jurong, Marsiling-Yew Tee, Nee Soon and Woodlands.
  4. The success of M3@Town depends on members of our community who are our assets. We call on them to come forward, in particular, those who hold positions of expertise, leadership and responsibility. You can inspire our young. Regardless of whether you are teachers, SAF and Home Team officers, lawyers, or professionals including from the healthcare sector. you have a wealth of experience that can inspire and encourage our young. For example, your stories as “mentors” will inspire them to take the long view of where they wish to go, beyond the twists and turns of the road ahead. The younger generation needs role models whom they can emulate. You have the ability to guide them on how to build professional networks and widen employment opportunities.
  5. M3 has started to work with our community organisations. For example, eight Malay/Muslim organisations, including AMP, LBKM, and 4PM, have collaborated to provide a one-stop service centre at Wisma Geylang Serai or Kurnia@WGS. We have heard the concerns from the ground that those in need do not always know where to go. Kurnia@WGS brings together eight of our community’s social service organisations under one roof in partnership with M3.
  6. Similarly, the Singapore Malay Teachers’ Union worked with M3 agencies to encourage their members to volunteer. Teachers play a critical role at the M3@Towns, connecting schools to the community, and reaching out to students beyond the classroom. A group of successful lawyers have also come forward to organise legal talks called Tipah Tertipu under the SHIOK Series in December 2018 at Woodlands Galaxy Community Club. They educated Malay residents on protecting themselves from scams.
  7. Muhammad Imran Abdul Rahim is a lawyer who volunteers at M3@Town. He began volunteering in Woodlands in 2016, after realising that many residents faced legal issues but lacked advice. He used his experience and worked with other young lawyers to hold legal talks and pro bono legal clinics for residents and helps out with community events.
  8. I hope that the examples of M3 collaborations across our community organisations and volunteers will boost Mr Mohamed Irshad’s confidence on the potential of M3 to help achieve common social causes. Just as we call on more to step forward to volunteer, we will continue to work with community partners, such as VWOs, professional groups, and the Malay and Indian Muslim organisations, to tap on strengths and amplify synergies.

    Igniting a love for learning

  9. Associate Prof Faishal Ibrahim queried on how our community organisations are nurturing our children. A mind-set of pursuing excellence must be established in our children from young. It starts with nurturing the traits of initiative, resilience, and a desire for learning and knowledge.
  10. Our community is familiar with the Malay Language month and we look forward to celebrating the month of Ramadan. I am pleased to announce that Yayasan MENDAKI will organise the inaugural Raikan Ilmu this October. This will be a month dedicated to celebrating knowledge and excellence, because the pursuit of knowledge is highly regarded and a central part of the culture of our Malay community. The Raikan Ilmu month will start with the launch of a Heritage Gallery to commemorate the community’s journey in pursuing educational excellence. It will also capture MENDAKI’s history, and honour our predecessors who had been involved in the founding of MENDAKI.
  11. In conjunction with Raikan Ilmu, MENDAKI will partner M3 agencies to organise activities as part of this year’s MENDAKI Learning Festival, with activities for all age groups. For instance, SENSE Jump Career Fairs will cater to workers and professionals keen on career training and skills upgrading. Future Ready Marketplace aims to advise youth on careers and professional development. For pre-schoolers and their parents, PlayFest focuses on early childhood education and learning through play. The Learning Festival will also celebrate the achievements of our graduates through the Anugerah MENDAKI Awards ceremony. MOS Zaqy will share more on MENDAKI’s initiatives.

    Strengthening the religious sector for the future

  12. I will now like to touch on our religious life that has a profound impact on our community’s values. Assoc Prof Fatimah Lateef asked about plans to prepare our religious teachers, or asatizah, for a changing world, while Dr Intan Azura Mokhtar asked for an update on the plans to develop an Islamic college in Singapore. Our asatizah of today and tomorrow are the guardians and guides of our community’s core values. Our aspiration is for them to reach the highest level of religious scholarship and leadership, contributing to our community in Singapore and beyond – especially in building up religious knowledge that is appropriate to guide a Muslim community living in harmony with other communities and the wider society. With their grounding in both Islamic knowledge as well as secular subjects, asatizah are well-placed to serve in many adjacent fields, such as social work, counselling, Islamic finance, law, and beyond.
  13. We will start in two areas. First, we will establish a Committee on Future Asatizah comprising community and religious leaders, asatizah and individuals with relevant professional expertise. COFA will co-create our vision of the “Asatizah of the Future” together with the community, and advance the thinking on the skills and competencies that our asatizah will need to better serve the Singapore Muslim community in the future. With the findings of the COFA, we will be able to share more about the long term plans for developing our asatizah by the end of the year. Second, in line with the vision of “Asatizah of the Future” we will roll out the Postgraduate Certificate in Islam in Contemporary Societies (PCICS) for all returning religious graduates in 2020. The PCICS will replace the existing Islam in Context Programme today, and place greater focus on helping participants acquire work-relevant skillsets. These initiatives contribute to our larger effort to prepare for an Islamic college in Singapore, and SMS Maliki will share more.
  14. Mr Amrin Amin asked about efforts to enhance our madrasahs, and Associate Prof Faishal asked for an update on MUIS’ support for Madrasah Wak Tanjong. Our madrasahs are key components of a larger blueprint for developing asatizah of the future. In this regard, we are strengthening our madrasahs holistically. In support of this vision, I am pleased to update that the first batch of 26 students under the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) has begun their studies in Madrasah Aljunied. This programme aims to develop future asatizah with a broad set of knowledge and skills, to guide the community. In addition, MUIS has worked closely with Madrasah Wak Tanjong on a Comprehensive Assistance Package to strengthen its administration and education programmes with a new management board who will be able to contribute multiple perspectives to guide the madrasah.

 

Speeches Community 2019
Last updated on 08 March 2019