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Raikan Kejayaan, Kukuhkan Perpaduan (Celebrating Success, Strengthening Unity)

Speech by Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for Social and Family Development, Second Minister for Health & Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs, at Minister’s Virtual Hari Raya Get-Together

Mufti of Singapore,
Community leaders,
Distinguished colleagues,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Introduction

  1. Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh and Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri. Thank you for joining me at tonight’s virtual Hari Raya get-together. I am heartened to see so many familiar faces – many of you have been working closely with us to bring the community together and build up our resilience in the fight against COVID-19.
  2. Our battle against the virus is not over, which is why we are having our Hari Raya get-together virtually again this year and not in a hotel as we have traditionally done so for years. The threat of COVID-19 continues to spread around the world, with new variants that have caused a spike in community cases. Just as worrying is the growing number of unlinked cases. Given the situation, we had to tighten our COVID-19 measures further, to curb the spread of the virus within the community. I understand that many felt disheartened by these latest measures, which have disrupted our Hari Raya celebrations. But we should be proud and glad that this new spread was not specifically because of our Ramadan observations. I am thankful that our community made these sacrifices and is doing our part to keep Singapore safe.
  3. Indeed, over the past year, our community has worked together to overcome many challenges brought about by this pandemic. More importantly, we have remained united with our community and with fellow Singaporeans. What is clear is: to protect our loved ones and each other, we must be resilient and agile, adjusting quickly to an ever-changing situation.
  4. We have adapted our tradition of celebrating Hari Raya to a virtual setting. If our physical gathering cannot happen, our spirit brings cheer and well wishes to everyone. At the root of it, we celebrate our triumph in fulfilling our obligations in the month of Ramadan under the most trying circumstances of the pandemic and strengthen our camaraderie (or silaturahim). Raya tetap Raya!
  5. During these difficult times, let us also keep our thoughts and prayers with the families who have lost loved ones in the ongoing violence in Israel and Gaza, as well as those who have been injured and displaced. It is a reminder that we need to protect the harmony we have painstakingly built in Singapore over many years, even as we continue to pray for security and peace for those living in regions of conflict. Once broken, our harmony may never be replaced.
  6. I am happy that the Rahmatan Lil Alamin Foundation, or RLAF, in collaboration with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), is organising a fundraising effort to provide aid in the form of health, relief and social services for communities affected by the recent developments in Gaza. If our hearts go out to the casualties of this humanitarian crisis and their families, let us make meaningful contributions that will help them to rebuild their lives.
  7. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to continue my speech in Malay.

    Bersatu Padu sebagai sebuah Masyarakat Semasa COVID-19

  8. Hadirin hadirat sekalian, pada tahun lalu, saya telah berucap tentang keadaan tidak menentu yang telah menguji kecekalan kita sebagai sebuah Masyarakat Gemilang. Saya juga sentuh tentang penyesuaian yang terpaksa dilakukan dalam kehidupan sosial dan keagamaan kita bagi membendung penularan COVID-19. Saya turut mengumumkan pembentukan Wakaf Masyarakat Singapura untuk menampung pendanaan bagi keperluan keagamaan masyarakat di masa depan.
  9. Izinkan saya menyingkap kembali perjalanan kita bersama sebagai masyarakat selama setahun yang lalu. Golongan asatizah, pemimpin masyarakat dan perniagaan, serta para doktor dan peguam kita, telah meluangkan banyak masa untuk membantu masyarakat mengatasi COVID-19, terutama golongan yang lebih terdedah dan terjejas.
  10. Sekalung budi saya ucapkan, kepada para anggota Kumpulan Kerja Melayu/Islam COVID-19 dan juga Pasukan Bertindak SGTeguhBersatu (SGTB), yang telah cepat dan cekap bertindak apabila wabak ini bermula. Mereka bertungkus lumus memberi bimbingan dan sokongan kepada masyarakat kita untuk mengharungi krisis ini, sepanjang setahun yang lalu.
  11. Kami menubuhkan SGTB pada April tahun lalu untuk memperkukuh usaha bagi memastikan masyarakat kita mendapat manfaat daripada inisiatif-inisiatif yang diumumkan dalam Belanjawan Berdaya Tahan. SGTB telah menerajui pelbagai usaha yang membantu masyarakat menghadapi COVID-19. Kami turut memanfaatkan rangkaian dan kepakaran badan-badan M³, badan-badan Melayu/Islam (MMO) seperti PERGAS, PPIS, AMP, Dewan Perniagaan dan Perusahaan Melayu Singapura (DPPMS) serta Kongres Kesatuan Sekerja Kebangsaan (NTUC).
  12. Dengan berkongsi maklumat serta mengadakanperbincangan bersama, MUIS, MENDAKI dan Mesra mencanai banyak inisiatif yang dimanfaatkan oleh ramai anggota masyarakat Melayu/Islam sepanjang tempoh pandemik ini.  Contohnya:

    a. Bagi keluarga berpendapatan rendah, Muis telah mengagihkan zakat sebanyak $2.2 juta kepada 5,500 penerima di bawah Dana Bantuan COVID-19 Muis.

    b. Muis telah menyediakan pelepasan sewa dan rebat cukai kepada lebih 90 penyewa hartanah wakaf. 

    c. Muis juga telah menyumbang sebanyak $200,000 sebagai geran tokokan kepada Pakej Rahmah PERGAS yang memanfaatkan 500 asatizah. 

    d. MENDAKI pula telah menangguhkan pembayaran pinjaman pelajaran kepada lebih 100 pelajar. 

    e. Selain itu, 240 pelajar daripada institusi pengajian tinggi telah mendapatkan subsidi yuran tuisyen TTFS yang lebih tinggi.

    f. MENDAKI juga menyediakan Elaun Sementara kepada lebih daripada 1,100 pelajar ITE kita, untuk membantu mereka menampung perbelanjaan bagi makanan dan pengangkutan.

    g. MENDAKI SENSE dengan kerjasama NTUC telah menjalankan 15 pameran kerjaya secara maya dan fizikal, yang menyokong lebih 2,700 pencari kerja, dan memadankan hampir 900 pekerjaan sepanjang tahun lalu.

    h. MESRA, di bawah naungan Persatuan Rakyat, pula bekerjasama dengan PPIS, KGMS, Club Heal dan NTUC, untuk mengadakan E-Live Forum. Forum ini merupakan sebuah program hiburan-pendidikan dalam talian yang membincangkan isu-isu seperti bekerja dari rumah dan membantu anak-anak kita dengan pembelajaran di rumah.
  13. Inisiatif-inisiatif lain oleh MMO dalam SGTB tidak kurang impaknya. 

    a. Pakej Bantuan Sementara kelolaan AMP, serta Dana Women-in-Need oleh PPIS, juga telah membantu keluarga-keluarga yang memerlukan. Ini termasuk membantu mereka melangsaikan bil yang tertunggak, membuat pembayaran bagi kursus peningkatan kemahiran, ataupun untuk perbelanjaan sekolah.

    b. DPPMS pula telah membantu lebih 10,000 syarikat kecil dan sederhana, dengan mengadakan program dalam talian yang membuka peluang bagi mereka untuk menjalinkan rangkaian dan mencari peluang bekerjasama.

    c. Gandingan PPIS dan DPPMS pula menghasilkan program latihan dan bimbingan bagi perniagaan, yang bertujuan untuk membantu golongan wanita yang memerlukan, khususnya mereka yang hilang mata pencarian dek wabak yang sedang berlaku.
  14. Saya sengaja senaraikan pencapaian hasil semangat gotong-royong dengan panjang lebar kerana ia wajar kita raikan. Semasa kita menutup tirai rangka kerjasama untuk SGTB baru-baru ini, para anggotanya mengungkapkan kenangan manis mereka mengenai pengalaman bekerjasama dengan M³ dan antara satu sama lain. Syabas dan terima kasih saya ucapkan kepada para anggota SGTB, terutama sekali rakan-rakan masyarakat kita, seperti DPPMS, NTUC, PERGAS, AMP dan PPIS. Begitu juga kepada badan-badan Melayu/Islam yang lain, yang dengan inisiatif mereka sendiri turut menyingsing lengan untuk membantu masyarakat kita untuk mengharungi krisis COVID-19.

    Memperkukuhkan Kerjasama dalam Masyarakat

  15. Hadirin hadirat sekalian, bekerjasama dan menaruh kepercayaan antara kita merupakan mercu tanda bagi sebuah ikatan perhubungan. Kita telah melihat banyak contoh sedemikian sepanjang setahun yang lalu. Semangat kerjasama di antara badan-badan masyarakat dan badan-badan M³ di Pasukan Bertindak SGTB harus diteruskan – bak kata pepatah, tali yang tiga lembar itu tidak suang-suang putus.
  16. Justeru, kami ingin memanfaatkan kekuatan yang ada pada MMO kita, serta melestarikan kerjasama yang telah kita tunjukkan di bawah SGTB. Seterusnya, kami ingin memanfaatkan rangkaian M³ untuk meluaskan lagi jangkauan kita bersama MMO agar dapat meningkatkan taraf masyarakat kita.
  17. Bagi fasa seterusnya, kami akan semaikan benih kerjasama yang ditanam dengan penubuhan SGTB, untuk terus memanfaatkan kerjasama yang ada di antara MMO dan M³. Jika M³ boleh menyediakan jangkaun kepada masyarakat yang luas dengan rangkaian 11 Bandar@M³, MMO pula mempunyai berbagai program yang berkesan, berkat daripada pengkhususan mereka dalam bidang masing-masing. Sebagai contoh:

    a. PERTAPIS, yang mengendalikan sebuah rumah tumpangan dan menjalankan usaha-usaha untuk membantu para banduan, bakal bekerjasama dengan pejabat FITRAH di bawah naungan Muis. Kami dapat berkongsi program-program pengayaan, serta amalan-amalan terbaik yang dilaksanakan untuk menyokong para banduan Islam, serta keluarga mereka. 

    b. Kami juga sedang dalam perbincangan dengan PPIS untuk memperkukuhkan sokongan kepada keluarga-keluarga muda yang tinggal di bandar-bandar M³, terutama sekali mereka yang tinggal di kawasan flat-flat sewa.

    c. Kesatuan Guru-Guru Melayu Singapura (KGMS) pula bakal mengadakan sebuah webinar untuk meningkatkan kesedaran ibu bapa di M³@Bandar tentang cara-cara mempersiapkan anak-anak mereka bagi Darjah 1.
  18. Dana akan disediakan untuk MMO menerusi Forum Pemimpin Masyarakat (CLF) kelolaan MENDAKI, bagi projek-projek yang selari dengan bidang-bidang tumpuan M³. Walaupun banyak di antara MMO kini sudah pun menjalankan program-program yang sedemikian, Dana CLF dapat memberikan sokongan tambahan bagi program-program ini. MENDAKI juga sedang menyemak proses permohonan bagi CLF, untuk membuatnya lebih mudah dan kemas, termasuk memendekkan jangka masa permohonan, daripada 12 minggu ke 4 minggu. Ini akan memberikan MMO lebih banyak waktu untuk melaksanakan program-program mereka.
  19. Dalam menanam semangat kerjasama kita, saya juga ingin memperkenalkan program baru untuk memperkukuh pembangunan kepimpinan di kalangan barisan lapisan muda dalam masyarakat kita. Ia akan menghimpunkan para pemimpin muda kita yang berusia 45 tahun ke bawah, yang menerajui jawatan tinggi di MMO. Program ini diberi gelaran Tunas Bersama M³. Ia akan disokong oleh MENDAKI melalui CLF.

    a. Para anggota Tunas Bersama M³ akan meraih manfaat daripada pelbagai program supaya dapat memupuk hubungan yang erat dalam  masyarakat apabila mereka menerajui MMO dan persatuan masing-masing pada masa hadapan kelak.
     
    b. Mereka akan berpeluang dilatih dalam bidang urus tadbir dan kepimpinan.

    c. Mereka juga akan menghadiri sesi bertukar-tukar fikiran bersama para pemimpin Pemerintah supaya lebih peka tentang isu-isu semasa dan konteks di sebalik dasar-dasar yang telah menyumbang kepada pembangunan Singapura.

    d. Kami harap Tunas Bersama M³ dapat mengusulkan projek-projek yang dapat dilaksanakan di bandar-bandar M³.

    e. Butiran lanjut akan disediakan kelak.

    Membangunkan Asatizah yang Cekap dan Bersedia untuk Masa Hadapan

  20. Hadirin hadirat sekalian, izinkan saya berucap seterusnya mengenai persediaan yang harus kita ambil untuk memastikan penakatan kita sebagai sebuah Masyarakat Gemilang pada tahun-tahun mendatang. Kali ini, saya ingin menumpukan usaha-usaha kita untuk membangunkan golongan asatizah yang cekap dan bersedia untuk masa hadapan. Ini kerana kita sangat memerlukan asatizah yang berupaya menyediakan panduan agama untuk kita mengharungi cabaran-cabaran baru. Saya rasa struktur sokongan kita kepada asatizah kini sudah lebih lengkap dan tersusun dari masa lalu.
  21. Usaha-usaha ini bermula di peringkat Madrasah. Di bawah Pelan Pembangunan dan Aspirasi Pelajar Madrasah, para pelajar madrasah kita belajar mengenai isu-isu sosio-budaya dan membina pemahaman dan kepekaan terhadap masyarakat Singapura yang majmuk. Kini, mereka dapat melalui pelbagai pengalaman, termasuk sesi-sesi perbincangan dan seminar, pembelajaran luar darjah di OBS, serta bengkel-bengkel kerjaya. Menerusi pelbagai pengalaman seperti ini, mereka dapat membina pemahaman yang lebih mendalam tentang masyarakat di sekeliling mereka, serta meraih kemahiran yang dapat menyokong mereka meniti perjalanan pendidikan mereka.
  22. Apabila para lulusan pulang daripada pengajian tinggi di luar negara, program Sijil Pos Siswazah Islam dalam Masyarakat Kontemporari, atau PCICS, membantu mereka untuk menyesuaikan apa yang telah mereka pelajari kepada konteks masyarakat Singapura yang berbilang bangsa dan agama. Lebih daripada itu, para ulama dan asatizah kita juga dapat memanfaatkan program Pendidikan Profesional Berterusan supaya dapat mengikuti perkembangan trend serta perubahan terkini.
  23. Para asatizah boleh menjangkakan laluan dan peluang-peluang kerjaya yang lebih baik apabila mereka memasuki alam pekerjaan kelak. Muis akan melaksanakan Pelan Pembangunan Tenaga Kerja Asatizah (AWDP), secara bertahap-tahap pada tahun-tahun mendatang.
  24. Kita perlu mengasah golongan asatizah yang berwibawa lagi berpengaruh dan berupaya berkhidmat di mercu kepimpinan agamawan, untuk membimbing dan memimpin para asatizah lain. Oleh itu, Muis akan membangunkan generasi pemimpin asatizah menerusi Program Pembangunan Bakat dan Kepimpinan Agamawan. Mereka yang menunjukkan potensi akan dikenal pasti, baik daripada generasi ini mahupun daripada generasi akan datang, termasuk para peserta program PCICS. Program ini akan merangkumi peluang-peluang untuk mendampingi para pemimpin mapan agama dan masyarakat, yang akan membantu bakat-bakat asatizah meluaskan lagi rangkaian mereka dan menimba sudut pandangan baru terhadap isu-isu sosio-agama kontemporari. Muis juga akan merintis sebuah program bimbingan bagi kumpulan ini pada suku ketiga tahun ini. Perincian lanjut akan dikongsi tidak lama lagi.
  25. Dari mengemas kini madrasah tempatan, PCICS, AWDP dan kini Program Pembangun Bakat, saya yakin bahawa inisiatif-inisatif ini akan melahirkan sebuah sektor keagamaan yang lebih rancak, yang boleh menjadi sumber inspirasi bagi asatizah masa hadapan. Tetapi kita tidak akan berhenti di sini.
  26. Kita juga perlu terus memberi peluang kepada para asatizah untuk meluaskan minda mereka untuk membimbing masyakat minoriti yang terbuka dan menghadapi cabaran yang pelbagai. Malah, di seluruh dunia, banyak masyarakat minoriti Islam ingin mempelajari tentang bagaimana masyarakat Islam Singapura berjaya hidup secara aman dan makmur bersama masyarakat lain, sambil berasaskan prinsip-prinsip agama.
  27. Oleh yang sedemikian, Muis akan menganjurkan sebuah siri seminar untuk memperkukuhkan kerjasama dengan masyarakat Islam sedunia, mulai bulan hadapan. Seminar pertama akan mengetengahkan cara masyarakat Islam kita menyesuaikan kehidupan sosio-agama kita di tengah-tengah wabak COVID-19. Kami berharap untuk mengongsi tentang kepimpinan agama kita yang bekerjasama dengan karyawan perubatan dan pemimpin masyarakat untuk menggembleng masyarakat dalam mengharungi pandemik ini. Program ini memberi peluang kepada asatizah kita untuk berkongsi ilmu dan pendapat dengan masyarakat antarabangsa tentang peranan mereka dalam memperkukuhkan bimbingan agama dalam isu-isu kontemporari yang dihadapi masyarakat minoriti di seluruh dunia.
  28. Pada kemuncak siri seminar ini ialah Persidangan Antarabangsa mengenai Masyarakat Gemilang, anjuran Muis. Seminar-seminar dan persidangan yang dianjurkan memberi peluang kepada para asatizah kita untuk membangunkan sumber ilmu yang boleh membantu kita menghadapi pelbagai cabaran kontemporari yang rumit. Secara kolektif, kami harap semua usaha ini akan membolehkan Singapura dan masyarakat minoriti Islam yang lain untuk berkembang maju dan hidup bersama masyarakat lain di dunia secara harmoni.

    Kesimpulan

  29. Hadirin hadirat sekalian, izinkan saya akhiri ucapan dalam Bahasa Inggeris.
  30. I am proud to see how our community has rallied together to meet the challenges of COVID-19 in this past year. Tonight, we celebrate this spirit of resilience and unity, which has kept our community strong during this crisis. As you have seen in recent days, our fight against COVID-19 is still ongoing. We need to come together, more than ever, to support one another and strengthen partnerships within the community. We are living in an ever-changing world, and we must be prepared for the future. Our asatizah too must be well-equipped, so that they can provide sound religious guidance in uncertain times, and help build a body of knowledge which lets us face future challenges confidently, as a Community of Success.
  31. On this note, I wish all of you Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Maaf zahir dan batin. May this year’s Aidilfitri bring happiness to you and your family. Thank you.
  32. Wassalamualaikum warahmatullah hiwabarakatu.

English translation

Coming together as a community during COVID-19

  1. Ladies and gentlemen, last year, I spoke about the uncertainties that tested our mettle as a Community of Success. I touched on the difficult adjustments we had to make to our social and religious lives in order to contain the spread of COVID-19. I also announced the formation of the Singapore Community Wakaf to financially sustain the religious needs of the community in the future.
  2. Allow me to look back at our shared journey as a community in the past year. Our asatizah, community and business leaders, doctors and lawyers have spent many long hours helping our community to overcome COVID-19, especially those who are more vulnerable and affected by the pandemic.
  3. I would like to specially thank our Malay/Muslim COVID-19 Working Group and our SGTeguhBersatu Taskforce (SGTB), who sprang into action when the pandemic started and have been working hard in the past year to guide and support our community through this crisis.
  4. We set up SGTB in April last year to strengthen the last-mile delivery of the support measures under the Resilience Budget. SGTB led targeted initiatives that support the Malay/Muslim community through the COVID-19 situation. We tapped on the network and expertise of the M³ agencies, Malay/Muslim Organisations such as PERGAS, PPIS, AMP, the Singapore Malay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SMCCI) as well as the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC).
  5. Through the exchange of information and discussing issues together, MUIS, MENDAKI and MESRA were able to formulate many initiatives that benefited the community during this pandemic. For example:

    a. For the low-income families, Muis has disbursed $2.2 million of zakat to 5,500 applicants under the COVID-19 Muis Support Fund.

    b. Muis has also provided rental waivers and tax rebates to more than 90 wakaf tenants.

    c. Muis also provided a $200,000 top-up grant to the Pergas Gracious Package, which was opened to ARS-certified asatizah not under full-time employment, which benefited 500 asatizah.

    d. Mendaki also granted a study loan deferment to more than 100 students.

    e. Beyond that, 240 students from tertiary institutions received a higher TTFS tuition fee subsidy. 

    f. Mendaki also provided an Interim Allowance to more than 1,100 of our ITE students, to help cover meals and transport expenses.

    g. Mendaki SENSE worked with NTUC to conduct 15 virtual and physical career fairs, which supported more than 2,700 job seekers and matched almost 900 jobs over the last year.

    h. PA MESRA worked with PPIS, KGMS, Club Heal and NTUC, for the E-Live Forum. This is an online edutainment programme covering issues such as working from home and helping our children with home-based learning.
  6. The initiatives from the MMOs in SGTB are no less impactful.

    a. AMP’s Temporary Assistance Package and PPIS’s Women-in-Need Fund have also assisted disadvantaged families. These include the payment of overdue bills, skills upgrading courses and school-related expenses.

    b. SMCCI has helped more than 10,000 SMEs, by conducting online programmes that facilitate networking and collaboration.

    c. The collaboration between PPIS and SMCCI has shaped a business training and mentorship programme aimed at assisting women in need, particularly those who have had their jobs or livelihoods affected by the pandemic.
  7. I have listed down the various achievements from the “gotong-royong” spirit, as they are worthy of our celebration. When we closed the SGTB collaboration recently, the members shared their positive memories of how they worked together, with M³ as well as among themselves. I would like to congratulate and thank all the members of SGTB, especially our community partners, such as Mendaki SENSE, SMCCI, NTUC, Pergas, AMP and PPIS. The same goes to the other Malay/Muslim organisations that have in their own way helped the community through the COVID-19 crisis thus far.

    Strengthening partnerships within the community

  8. Ladies and gentlemen, working together and trusting one another are the hallmarks of partnership, and we have seen many such examples over the past year.  We need to continue the spirit of working together among M³ and MMOs in SGTB – this reminds me of the Malay proverb, “Tali yang tiga lembar itu, tidak suang-suang putus”, which means there is strength in working together.
  9. Therefore, we want to continue building on the strengths of our MMOs, and the collaborations that have been forged under SGTB. Going forward, we want to tap on our M³ network to extend our shared outreach with the MMOs in uplifting our community.
  10. For the next phase, we will sow the seeds of partnerships, just like the ones we have planted in forming SGTB, to continue to find synergies within M³ and the MMOs. M³ is able to support outreach efforts to the wider community through the 11 M³@Towns, while MMOs have a broad range of effective programmes that are a result of their specialisation in their respective fields. For instance: 

    a. PERTAPIS, which operates a halfway house and works with prison inmates, will work with Muis’ FITRAH office. We will be able to share capability-building programmes as well as best practices to best support Muslim inmates and their families.

    b. We are also in discussion with PPIS to strengthen support for young families staying at M³@Towns, especially those living in rental flats.

    c. Kesatuan Guru-Guru Melayu Singapura (KGMS) will be organising a webinar to enhance parents’ awareness of how to prepare their children for Primary 1 at the M³@Towns.
  11. Funding will be available for MMOs through the Mendaki Community Leaders’ Forum (CLF) for projects aligned with the M³ Focus Areas. While many of our MMOs are already running programmes that address our M³ Focus Areas, the CLF funding can provide additional support for these programmes. Mendaki is currently revising the CLF application process, to make it simpler and more streamlined, including shortening the current processing time from 12 weeks to 4 weeks. This will give MMOs more time to implement the programmes.
  12. In instilling among us a spirit of cooperation, I also wish to introduce a new programme to strengthen leadership development for the next generation of leaders within our community. It will bring together our young leaders who are under 45 years old, and holding senior positions in the MMOs. This programme is called Tunas Bersama M³. It will be supported by Mendaki through the CLF.

    a. Tunas Bersama M³ members will benefit from a range of programmes so that they can network among themselves and foster close relationships with each other by the time they lead their respective MMOs and organisations in the future.

    b. They will receive opportunities to be trained in governance and leadership.

    c. They will also get the chance to exchange ideas with Government leaders where they can learn more about ongoing issues and the considerations behind our policies that have contributed to Singapore’s development.

    d. We hope that Tunas Bersama M³ will be able to propose projects that can be implemented across the network of M³ towns.

    e. More details of this initiative will be shared later.

    Developing competent and future-ready asatizah

  13. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to next speak about what we need to do to ensure our Community of Success will continue to thrive in the years to come. This time, I will focus on our efforts to develop competent and future-ready asatizah. This is because we are in deep need of asatizah who can provide religious guidance to navigate the new challenges that we are faced with. In my opinion, the support structure provided to our asatizah now, is a lot more complete and structured as compared to the past.
  14. These efforts begin at the Madrasah level. Under the Madrasah Student Development and Aspiration Plan, our madrasah students learn about socio-cultural sensitivity and develop an understanding of the diverse communities in Singapore. Currently, our madrasah students go through various experiences including discussions and seminars, outdoor learning at OBS, and career workshops. Through such opportunities they will develop a better understanding of the society that they live in, as well as develop skills to support them in their educational journey.
  15. When our graduates return from tertiary studies abroad, the Postgraduate Certificate in Islam in Contemporary Societies (PCICS) helps them contextualise their learning to Singapore’s multi-racial and multi-religious society. Beyond PCICS, our religious scholars and teachers can also make use of the Continuing Professional Education (CPE) programme to keep abreast of emerging trends and developments.
  16. Asatizah can also look forward to enhanced career pathways and opportunities when they enter the workforce. Muis will implement the Asatizah Workforce Development Plan (AWDP) in phases over the next few years.
  17. We have to nurture capable and respected asatizah who have shown potential to serve in apex leadership positions for the religious sector, to guide and lead other asatizah. Hence, Muis will be developing our next generation of asatizah leaders, through the Religious Leadership and Talent Development Programme (RLTD). Potential leaders will be identified from a wide pool of current and future asatizah, including students from the PCICS programme. This programme will include opportunities to engage senior religious and community leaders, which will help the asatizah talent build up their networks and gain new perspectives on contemporary socio-religious issues. Muis will also pilot a mentoring programme for this group in Q3 this year. More details will be shared in the coming months.
  18. From strengthening the local madrasahs, PCICS and AWDP, and now with the Religious Leadership and Talent Development Programme, I am confident that these initiatives will lead to a more vibrant religious sector that our future asatizah can aspire towards. We will not stop here.
  19. We also need to provide opportunities for our asatizah to broaden their minds, so that they can guide a minority Muslim community to remain open-minded and capable of facing the various challenges. In fact, around the world, many Muslim minority communities want to learn about how the Singapore Muslim community has succeeded in living peacefully and prosperously with others, while remaining guided by its religious principles.
  20. Hence, Muis will be organising a series of seminars to deepen engagement and collaboration with other Muslim communities around the world, starting next month. The first of these seminars will highlight how Muslim communities have adapted our socio-religious life amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This programme will provide our asatizah with the opportunities to share their knowledge and views with the international community, about their roles in strengthening religious guidance on contemporary issues faced by Muslim minorities around the world.
  21. These seminars will lead up to an International Conference on Communities of Success (ICCOS), which Muis will organise in the near future. The seminars and Conference present an opportunity for our asatizah to develop a body of knowledge that will help us navigate various contemporary and complex challenges. We hope that these collective efforts will enable Singapore and other Muslim minority communities to thrive and live harmoniously with other communities around the world.

    Conclusion

  22. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to conclude in English.

 

Last updated on 21 May 2021