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Overcoming the COVID-19 Pandemic: Embracing the Future Stronger

Speech by Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for Social and Family Development, Second Minister for Health and Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs for Minister's Hari Raya Get-Together on Friday, 13 May 2022

SM Teo Chee Hean,

Mufti of Singapore,

Community leaders,

Distinguished colleagues,

Ladies and gentlemen,

 

Introduction

  1. Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh. Good evening and Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri to everyone!

  2. Thank you for joining me at tonight’s Hari Raya Get-together. I am very happy to see all of you and thankful that we are gathered here together in person, after two years of hosting this event online. With the easing of Safe Management Measures (SMM), Muslims welcomed the month of Ramadan with optimism and hope. We returned to the mosques for religious activities such as Tarawih and Friday prayers and Hari Raya prayers both in numbers and spirit. Our community also welcomed the return of the Ramadan bazaars to their traditional home grounds at Geylang Serai and Kampong Glam after two years. Without the bazaar, celebrations were muted, and we were reminded of the festive season only because our classic Hari Raya songs were played over the radio – a much needed morale booster when we couldn’t even visit one another. The resumption of religious activities, the bazaars, the Geylang Serai light up, Hari Raya songs, visiting of friends and relatives, and of course, buffets at open houses have added much cheer to the festive mood. They are important as they add colour and excitement to our community. This makes for a truly special Raya or #RayaIstimewa!

  3. This Raya also marked a significant milestone in our fight against COVID-19. This would not be possible without everyone’s effort and support. The adjustments and sacrifices made by our community has contributed to Singapore’s efforts to keep everyone as safe as possible. We did not let the crisis cripple us but found ways to go about much of our daily lives safely and responsibly. I would like to express my gratitude to everyone for your contribution and resilience, especially the frontliners – staff and volunteers – our healthcare doctors, nurses, school principals, and our gig workers, such as food delivery riders and those who have dedicated themselves to the service of our nation during the worst of the COVID-19 crisis. 

  4. This year’s Hari Raya theme is aptly titled “Overcoming the COVID-19 Pandemic: Embracing the Future Stronger”. We can draw many important and valuable lessons from the pandemic. In my view, we have reached where we are today because we did it with knowledge, care, and discipline. Indeed, these are the fundamentals that the month of Ramadan have built in us for the many years that we have been fasting. My speech in Malay will draw on these three fundamentals, as we embrace the future stronger, together, as a Community of Success.

    Tuan-tuan dan puan-puan yang saya hormati,

    Membina Kemahiran untuk Berdiri Teguh, Melangkah Kukuh

  5. Pendekatan kita dalam mengatasi krisis COVID-19 dilakukan secara teliti berlandaskan ilmu, keprihatinan dan disiplin. Semua keputusan, sama ada untuk mengetatkan atau melonggarkan Langkah-langkah Pengurusan Jarak Selamat (SMM), dilakukan dengan memahami cara penularan dari kepelbagaian jenis virus tersebut. Kita telah mengambil keputusan sukar untuk menutup semua tempat ibadah, termasuk masjid, hingga tidak menghantar para jemaah untuk menunaikan haji sepanjang dua musim haji lalu, kerana bahaya penularan virus itu yang ganas meragut nyawa di seluruh dunia. Begitu juga puasa kita sepanjang Ramadan bukan setakat berlapar dan berdahaga, tetapi sempurna proses persiapan berpuasa dan mengiringinya dengan sikap dermawan supaya meningkatkan kerohanian. Dan ini tidak dapat tercapai tanpa ilmu.

  6. Oleh kerana masyarakat Singapura faham dasar-dasar fakta yang dikongsi, kita terima dan patuh keputusan-keputusan rumit yang harus dibuat sewaktu tempoh Pemutus Rantaian Jangkitan atau Circuit Breaker, walaupun berdepan dengan kepayahan dan krisis yang tidak menentu. Kita bijak dan cepat menilai pendapat golongan ilmuwan seperti para doktor, pakar kesihatan awam serta asatizah.

  7. Usaha peningkatan ilmu akan menjadi penting kerana masa hadapan yang semakin tidak menentu, akibat kesan COVID-19 dan kegoncangan ekonomi ekoran perang di Ukraine. Segar terus pesanan orang tua kita – untuk terus berpegang pada peribahasa “Ilmu pelita hidup” dalam membina Masyarakat Gemilang.

    a. Masyarakat kita sudah banyak mencatat kejayaan dalam pendidikan. Namun landskap pendidikan sudah berubah dan banyak kemahiran baru yang genting diperlukan. Oleh itu, kita harus prihatin akan pendidikan anak-anak kita seawal-awalnya. Kita tidak mampu untuk membiarkan anak-anak kita buta huruf ketika masuk sekolah rendah zaman ini. Saya gembira semakin ramai ibu bapa berusaha untuk melengkapi keperluan pembelajaran anak-anak mereka menerusi program-program M3 seperti KelasMateMatika (KMM@CC) dan KelasSiapSekolah (KSS) anjuran MENDAKI yang diterajui Menteri Negara Kanan Zaqy Mohamad. 

    b. Begitu juga pembelajaran sepanjang hayat. Ini perlu kerana kita harus bingkas berpindah dari sektor yang semakin pupus kepada sektor yang sedang membangun. Datuk Bandar Fahmi Aliman bersama para pemimpin NTUC sudah pun mengenal pasti 15 syarikat yang bakal menawarkan pelbagai pekerjaan dalam sektor membangun di sebuah pameran kerjaya minggu depan. Para suri rumah pula, yang mahu kembali bekerja berpeluang memanfaatkan program Women@Work anjuran MENDAKI.

    c. Namun ilmu sahaja tidak mencukupi. Nilai Masyarakat Gemilang kita mesti dipacu oleh sektor keagamaan yang sama berkemahiran. Pandemik COVID-19 jelas menunjukkan bahawa asatizah kita bersedia menghadapi isu-isu keagamaan yang rumit yang ditonjolkan waktu krisis ini. Untuk mengorak langkah ke hadapan, mereka mesti cekap dan yakin dalam menyampaikan ajaran agama mengikut konteks Singapura yang moden dan terbuka, serta berbilang budaya. Ini memerlukan kita membangunkan gedung-gedung ilmu yang kritikal khusus untuk masyarakat Islam tempatan. Oleh itu, kita perlu menyokong pelajar madrasah dan golongan agamawan kita – apakah dari segi penggajian, peningkatan pendidikan mahupun peluang kerjaya mereka. Di sini, sukacita saya umumkan bahawa Muis bakal memperluaskan biasiswa Sheikh Isa Semait bagi para penuntut madrasah yang cemerlang untuk menjadi sarjana muda di universiti-universiti Islam berprestij di dunia. Sejuta dolar akan diperuntukkan setiap tahun bagi menaja mereka yang berpotensi dalam sektor keagamaan kita. Biasiswa itu akan ditawarkan kepada calon-calon yang terbaik dan layak bermula tahun ini.  Mahasiswa yang berpotensi boleh ditaja untuk pengajian pos-siswazah. Muis akan umumkan butiran lanjut kemudian. Namun harus ditekankan bahawa semua ini memerlukan sumber masyarakat bagi mendanai sektor keagamaan kita secara mampan seperti melalui penubuhan Wakaf Masyarakat Singapura (WMS) kelak.

     

    Tuan-tuan dan puan-puan,

    Memperkukuh Sokongan bagi Masyarakat menerusi M3

  8. Satu ciri yang menyerlah sepanjang krisis COVID-19, ialah sikap prihatin terhadap keselamatan dan kesejahteraan bersama. Atas sebab inilah, kita menjarakkan diri daripada satu sama lain sewaktu solat berjemaah, berwuduk sebelum ke masjid serta menggunakan sejadah sendiri demi menjaga keselamatan semua. Ramadan juga tidak lengkap jika kita tidak prihatin dan menyantuni mereka yang lebih susah.

  9. Ramadan dan krisis ini turut menonjolkan semangat gotong-royong kita dalam menyokong satu sama lain, terutamanya golongan yang lebih memerlukan. Ini juga didorong niat mahu sama-sama bahagia dan berjaya.

  10. Maka saya gembira dan bangga apabila cendekiawan A*STAR, Dr Muhammad Nadjad Abdul Rahim dan Profesor Madya Yusuf Ali serta teman-teman mereka turun padang untuk mengasah bakat belia kita dalam bidang sains data kesihatan. Inisiatif dalam sektor yang sedang membangun ini dilakukan melalui program kesihatan di Tampines dan Choa Chu Kang, di mana para pengkaji muda bakal menerbitkan dapatan kajian mereka dalam jurnal-jurnal sains antarabangsa. Dengan pendekatan ini, Dr Nadjad dan Profesor Yusuf ingin juga menyuntik minat terhadap mata pelajaran STEM dalam kalangan lebih ramai penuntut, InsyaAllah.

  11. Sempena majlis ini, saya ingin berkongsi pencapaian terkini rangkaian sukarelawan M3 menerusi Muis, MENDAKI dan PA MESRA yang juga bekerjasama dengan pelbagai agensi Pemerintah serta badan-badan Melayu/Islam (MMO) menerusi program-program di 11 bandar M3.

  12. Berkat kerjasama dan keprihatinan para anggota masyarakat untuk satu sama lain:

    a. Lebih 15,000 pasangan telah dibimbing para Kadi dan Naib Kadi untuk meraih manfaat daripada program Bersamamu bagi menggalak rumah tangga yang kukuh lagi stabil.

    b. Sejak ditubuhkan pada 2019, FITRAH telah menyokong sekitar 2,600 keluarga dan lagi 3,000 pesalah untuk meraih manfaat daripada program keagamaannya. FITRAH juga kini menganggotai sebuah rangkaian merangkumi 26 MMO seperti 4PM, Jamiyah, Pergas, dan 11 M3@bandar yang diterajui Menteri Negara Dr Faishal Ibrahim.

    c. M3@bandar di bawah pimpinan Menteri Dr Maliki Osman dikemas kini dengan pelancaran Project Dian@M3 tahun lalu di M3@Bedok, M3@Geylang Serai dan M3@Jalan Besar. Kita harap Project Dian@M3 dapat memperkasa keluarga di flat-flat sewa untuk berdikari dan mencapai mobiliti sosial hingga memiliki rumah sendiri. Di sini, saya menyeru lebih ramai lagi sukarelawan tampil kehadapan untuk membantu dalam pembelajaran anak-anak yang bersekolah atau melakukan lawatan ke rumah keluarga yang menetap di flat-flat sewa di bawah Project Dian@M3 yang mempunyai anak kecil berumur 6 tahun ke bawah. Melalui pendekatan dan intervensi khusus untuk keluarga-keluarga ini, kita ingin memastikan tiada siapa yang  tercicir  tetapi sebaliknya dapat maju bersama sebagai sebuah masyarakat inklusif yang lebih kukuh.

  13. Terima kasih saya ucapkan kepada semua sukarelawan dari M3 dan kerabat kerja Muis, MENDAKI dan MESRA serta MMO atas usaha anda yang tidak terhingga sepanjang krisis COVID-19. Sokongan serta sifat prihatin dan ihsan anda sudah mula menunjukkan putik-putik pembaikan, Alhamdulillah. 

    Tuan-tuan dan puan-puan yang saya hormati,

    Menjaga Kesihatan Jasmani Kita

  14. Sikap disiplin masyarakat kita – antara lain akur selama dua tahun ini memakai pelitup, membawa sejadah ke masjid, dan tidak berkumpul di restoran dan rumah –  adalah ciri yang menyerlah dalam kita mengharungi krisis COVID-19 ini. Disiplin juga menjadi tiang dalam kita menjalani ibadah puasa sepanjang bulan Ramadan, tahun demi tahun.

  15. Dengan sikap disiplin masyarakat kita ini, saya yakin kita akan dapat mengatasi dan mengelak daripada berlakunya satu lagi krisis sebagaimana ia telah memperkasakan kita mengharungi cabaran COVID-19. Krisis ini berkaitan trend kesihatan masyarakat Melayu/Islam kita. Secara jujur, ia semakin membimbangkan.

  16. Menurut Tinjauan Nasional Kesihatan Penduduk, masyarakat kita menyaksikan kes kencing manis meningkat kepada sekitar 14% pada 2020. Mungkin ini kelihatan kecil. Tetapi sewaktu saya menjadi Anggota Parlimen pada 2006, kadar kes kencing manis dalam kalangan masyarakat kita adalah sekitar 7%. Jadi ia sudah naik seganda. Penyakit kencing manis mungkin juga menambah jumlah kes sakit kronik tahap lima buah pinggang, hingga memerlukan dialisis. Pada masa yang sama, kes tekanan darah tinggi dalam kalangan masyarakat Melayu pada tahun 2020, adalah 1.5 kali lebih tinggi berbanding 2017.

  17. Kesihatan jasmani kita sangat penting kerana ia adalah bahtera yang melayari  kehidupan kita. Walaupun trend kesihatan membimbangkan, saya tetap yakin masyarakat kita dapat menewaskannya, InsyaAllah. Ini kerana kita masyarakat yang berdisiplin – yang telah mengharungi krisis yang sangat kritikal, krisis COVID-19. Disiplin termasuk perlunya kita menghadkan dan menjaga pemakanan – sama seperti sewaktu berpuasa. Apabila dilengkapi pula dengan disiplin berolah raga, serta daya tahan dan iltizam untuk menghentikan tabiat merokok, kita pasti akan mematahkan trend tersebut!  Yang penting, kita akan lebih sihat dan sekaligus kita dapat menikmati semua ibadah dengan sempurna – termasuk solat, haji dan puasa.

  18. Setiausaha Parlimen Puan Rahayu Mahzam akan menerajui peningkatan usaha Program Saham Kesihatan untuk mengurangkan gejala-gejala penyakit kronik dengan pendekatan yang sesuai untuk masyarakat kita. Oleh itu, saya menggalak anda untuk mendaftar sebagai rakan atau peserta program tersebut dengan mengimbas kod QR yang ditayangkan ini. Puan Rahayu sudahpun memulakan usaha dengan menubuhkan satu kumpulan kerja bersama pemimpin-pemimpin masyarakat kita bagi meneliti aspek pemakanan, kegiatan jasmani, pemeriksaan kesihatan, tabiat merokok dan kesihatan mental. Beliau juga akan menumpukan fokus kepada sebuah program perintis di M3@Bandar bermula dengan menyasarkan keluarga-keluarga muda di M3@Jurong dan program serupa di M3@Tampines. Kita bertujuan untuk meluaskan program ini kepada setiap M3@Bandar.

  19. Bercakap tentang makan, di sepanjang bulan Ramadan dan Hari Raya, kita juga sentiasa diingatkan oleh cogan kata kempen “Kita Dah Cukup Manis, Kurangkan Okay?” Selaras dengan kempen itu, saya telah meminta para penganjur majlis ini menyediakan hidangan Hari Raya yang lebih sihat. Menu kita malam ini bertujuan untuk membuka minda kita kepada pilihan makanan lebih sihat, jumlah yang tepat tapi mampu memenuhi selera rasa. Masih sedap, InsyaAllah!

  20. Saya sendiri ingin bersama masyarakat dalam perjalanan ini supaya hidup kita sihat. Untuk itu, saya sering menjalani pemeriksaan kesihatan. Sebenarnya, beberapa tahun yang lalu, saya dikejutkan dengan tahap kolestrol yang semakin tinggi dan berat badan yang membimbangkan. Maklumlah banyak majlis makan! Maka tidak hairanlah, ini disusuli penemuan bahawa pembuluh darah saya tersumbat walaupun belum tahap bahaya. Saya tidak berlengah dan terus ikut nasihat doktor memakan ubat setiap hari untuk mengawalnya. Baru-baru ini, saya juga menggunakan kesempatan bekerja di rumah untuk menambah waktu berolah raga dan menjaga pemakanan saya. Setelah lebih 7 bulan, berat badan saya turun 13 kilogram dan sekarang tahap kolestrol terkawal sepanjang krisis COVID-19 ini. Alhamdulillah. 

  21. Kerana sudah mengalaminya sendiri, saya sedar proses penurunan berat badan dan tahap kolestrol tidak mudah. Tetapi dengan disiplin, ia boleh tercapai dan sangat berbaloi. Doktor menasihati saya supaya jangan ambil jalan mudah seperti memakan supplement tetapi juga tidak perlu merana hingga tidak makan coklat, yang saya gemari!

  22. Saya menyeru kita semua sebagai pemimpin masyarakat, menjadi teladan. Ambillah langkah utama - jumpalah doktor secara rutin untuk menjalani penyaringan kesihatan (checkup). Apatah lagi, banyak subsidi diberikan di bawah Pemeriksaan Kesihatan Demi Kehidupan (Screen For Life) agar boleh dimampui rakyat Singapura yang layak – paling tinggi, ia berharga $5 sahaja. Janganlah tunggu apabila sudah sakit.

  23. InsyaAllah tahun depan kita berjumpa lagi di majlis ini, dengan lebih ramai daripada kita dalam keadaan lebih sihat dan sudah kurang berat badan. Seperti lagu Saloma – “Tiru macam saya”.

    Tuan-tuan dan puan-puan,

    Conclusion

  24. Akhir kata, COVID-19 dan Ramadan banyak mengajar kita tentang pentingnya ilmu, keprihatinan dan disiplin dalam menjaga keberadaan kita dan masyarakat kita. Saya yakin itulah ciri-ciri yang telah dapat menyelamatkan kita dari bahaya COVID-19. Ilmu, disiplin dan keprihatinan juga akan dapat mengelak krisis kesihatan dalam masyarakat dan menjaga kesejahteraan kita semua. Ini supaya kita dapat menempuhi masa hadapan yang penuh bermakna kerana Masyarakat Gemilang terbina atas umat yang sihat!

         Hendak memacu puncak jaya
         Jiran tetangga jangan dilupa 
         Disiplin dijaga, kesihatan diutama
         Masyarakat Gemilang, aman terpelihara
  25. Ladies and gentlemen, tonight, as we celebrate the full festive spirit of this special Hari Raya together, let us take heed of the lessons throughout our journey in the last two years. In our return to normalcy, let us as a Community of Success, continue to build competencies for a stronger future, uplift the vulnerable segments through M3 and remain strong and healthy for a better future. By doing this together, we will “Berdiri teguh, Melangkah kukuh”.
  26. On this note, I wish all of you Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri. Maaf zahir batin. Thank you.

    English translation of the Malay section

    Respected ladies and gentlemen,

    Building Competencies to Move Forward, Stronger Together

  1. Our approach in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis was done carefully based on knowledge, care and discipline. Every decision, whether to tighten or ease Safe Management Measures (SMM), was done with the understanding of the different variants of the virus. We made the difficult decision to close all places of worship, including mosques and we have not been able to send our congregants for haj during the past two seasons due to the deadly spread of the virus throughout the world. Similarly, fasting throughout Ramadan is not only in experiencing hunger and thirst, but the process should be complemented with generosity towards others to increase one’s spirituality. This cannot be achieved without knowledge.

  2. As Singaporeans understand the basis of the facts shared, we accepted and followed the tough decisions that had to be made during the Circuit Breaker period even though we faced challenges and an uncertain crisis. We wisely and quickly assessed the opinions of doctors and public health experts, as well as our religious leaders.

  3. Improving our knowledge is important as we face an unpredictable future due to the impact of COVID-19 and economic uncertainties following the war in Ukraine. Thus, we must uphold the saying “Knowledge is the Guiding Light” in building a Community of Success.

    a. Our community has achieved success in education. However, the education landscape has changed and many new important skills are required. Therefore, we need to be concerned with our children’s early education. If not, they may not be at all able to read when they enter primary school. I am glad that more parents are putting in effort to complement their children’s learning needs through M3 programmes such as KelasMateMatika (KMM@CC) dan KelasSiapSekolah (KSS) organised by MENDAKI, under Senior Minister of State Zaqy Mohamad. 

     

    b. Equally important is lifelong learning. This is needed because we have to be resilient and shift from sunset sectors to the growth sectors. In fact, industry changes will be even faster. Mayor Fahmi Aliman together with NTUC union leaders have already identified more than 15 companies that will be offering various job opportunities in growth sectors at a career fair next week. Housewives who want to go back to work also stand a chance to benefit from the Women@Work programme initiated by MENDAKI. 

     

    c. However, knowledge alone is not enough. Our Community of Success must be driven by a religious sector that is competent. The COVID-19 pandemic clearly demonstrates that our religious leaders have to be ready to face complex issues especially in a crisis. Moving forward, they have to be capable and confident in delivering religious instructions based on Singapore’s context that is modern, open and multicultural. This requires us to build critical bodies of knowledge specific for our local Islamic community. Thus, we have to support madrasah students and our asatizah – from their salaries to education development as well as career prospects. Here, I am pleased to announce that Muis will be expanding the Sheikh Isa Semait scholarship for madrasah students who have excelled in their studies, to pursue their undergraduate studies at prestigious Islamic universities around the world. A million dollars will be set aside every year to award the scholarship to undergraduate students with potential in the religious sector. The scholarship will be offered to the top candidates starting this year. Graduates with potential may be offered scholarships for their postgraduate studies. Further details will be announced later. However, it needs to be emphasised that all these require community resources to sustainably fund our religious sector such as through the establishment of Singapore Community Wakaf (WMS) in the future. 

     

    Ladies and gentlemen,

    Strengthening Support for our Community through M3

  4. A prominent feature throughout the COVID-19 crisis, is our care for the safety and well-being of one another. Because of this, we maintained a safe distance from each other when we carry out our congregational prayers, took our ablution before going to the mosques and used our own prayer mats to safeguard everyone’s safety. Ramadan is also incomplete without showing care and helping those who are less fortunate.

  5. Ramadan and this crisis also provided an opportunity for the gotong-royong spirit in supporting one another, especially those who are less fortunate, to be demonstrated. This is motivated by the desire to be happy and succeed together. 

  6. Therefore, I am happy and proud that A*STAR scholars, Dr Muhammad Nadjad Abdul Rahim and Associate Professor Yusuf Ali, together with their team initiated an effort at developing our youth talents in the field of health science data. This initiative in a growth sector is carried out through health programmes at Tampines and Chua Chu Kang, where budding researchers will publish their findings in international scientific journals. Through this approach, Dr Nadjad and Professor Yusuf aim to spark interest in STEM subject amongst more students, InsyaAllah. 
  7. In conjunction with today’s event, I would like to share the latest milestones of our M3 volunteer network through Muis, MENDAKI and PA MESRA that also work together with different Government agencies and Malay/Muslim organisations through various programmes at the 11 M3 towns.

  8. Through working together and caring for each other:


    a. More than 15,000 couples have received marriage guidance from our Kadi and Naib Kadi and benefitted from Bersamamu that encourages strong and stable marriages.

    b. Since it was established in 2019, FITRAH has supported around 2,600 families and another 3,000 offenders have benefitted from its religious programmes. FITRAH is now also part of a network consisting 26 MMOs such as 4PM, Jamiyah, Pergas, and the 11 M3@Towns spearheaded by Minister of State Dr Faishal Ibrahim.

    c. M3@Towns under the leadership of Minister Dr Maliki Osman has been updated with the launch of Project Dian@M3 last year at M3@Bedok, M3@Geylang Serai and M3@Jalan Besar. With this, we hope that Project Dian@M3 can empower families at rental flats to be independent and achieve social mobility in owning their own flats. On this note, we would like to call on more volunteers to tutor school-going children or conduct home visits to families with children below the age of six in these rental flats under Project Dian@M3. Through such targeted based support and intervention to these families, we will make sure we leave no one behind, and move together stronger as a community.
  9. I would like to express my gratitude to all the volunteers from M3 and colleagues from Muis, MENDAKI and MESRA as well as MMOs for your unwavering efforts throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Your support and care as well as empathy for others are already bearing signs of improvement, Alhamdulillah.

     

    Respected ladies and gentlemen,

    Taking Care of our Physical Health

  10. Our discipline – of which in the last two years includes wearing a mask, bringing our prayer mats with us to the mosques, and avoiding gatherings at restaurants and at home – is an outstanding trait in overcoming the COVID-19 crisis. Discipline also is a pillar in observing the fast for a whole month, year after year.  
  11. With our community’s level of discipline, I am confident that we can overcome and avoid another crisis like how we were empowered to manage the challenges of COVID-19. This crisis is the health trends of our Malay/Muslim community. In all honesty, it is very worrying.

  12. Based on the National Heath Population Survey, our community saw the prevalence of diabetes increase to around 14% in 2020. This may not seem much. But when I was Member of Parliament in 2006, the prevalence of diabetes in our community was around 7%. This has now doubled. Diabetes may also add to the increase in the incidence rate of chronic kidney disease stage 5, where dialysis is required. At the same time, the prevalence of hypertension amongst the Malay community in 2020 was 1.5 higher than in 2017.

  13. Our physical health is very important as it is a conduit that carries us through life. Although our health status is worrying, I am confident our community can reverse it, InsyaAllah. This is because we are a disciplined community – that overcame a very critical crisis, the COVID-19 crisis. However, this requires us to limit and be conscious of our eating habits – similar to when we are fasting, and this should be complemented by the discipline in exercising regularly and resilience in quitting the habit of smoking. We will reverse the trend. More importantly, we will be healthier and with that we can carry out all our religious obligations more comfortably – including our prayers, haj, and observance of fast. 

  14. Parliamentary Secretary Rahayu Mahzam will lead enhanced efforts through the Saham Kesihatan programme aimed at reducing symptoms of chronic diseases catered to our community. I would like to encourage everyone to register as a partner or participant of the program by scanning the QR code shown on the screen. Mdm Rahayu has already started with the formation of a workgroup with our community leaders to look at nutrition, physical activity, health screening, smoking and mental health. She will also focus on a pilot programme for the M3@Towns starting with young families at M3@Jurong and a similar programme at M3@Tampines. We plan to expand the program at every M3@Towns.

  15. Talking about food, throughout Ramadan and Hari Raya, we are constantly reminded of the campaign slogan, “Kita Dah Cukup Manis, Kurangkan Okay? (We Are Sweet Enough, Reduce It Okay?)”. In line with the campaign, I have asked organisers of this event to serve healthier Hari Raya dishes. Our menu tonight aims to open our minds to healthier food options, with right-size portions enough to satisfy our taste buds. Still as delicious, InsyaAllah.

  16. I will join the community in our journey to better our health. To that end, I regularly go for health screening. Actually, a few years ago, I was shocked by my increasing cholesterol level and worrying body weight. Too many dining receptions! Thus, it was expected that my blood vessel was slightly choked but not at a life-threatening stage. I did not delay and immediately followed the doctor’s advice to consume my medicine daily to control my cholesterol level. Lately, I also took the opportunity of the work from home arrangement to exercise more as part of my routine and watch my eating habits. After more than 7 months, I lost 13 kilograms and controlled my cholesterol levels throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Alhamdulillah. 

  17. Because I experienced this myself, I am aware that reducing cholesterol level and body weight is not easy. But with discipline, it can be achieved, and the results are worth the journey. My doctor advised me to not take the simple way out by consuming supplements but to also not make myself suffer to the extent that I totally avoid my favourite snack, chocolates!

  18. I urge all of us, as community leaders to become examples. Let us take key steps – visit the doctor and go for health check-ups. Furthermore, a lot of subsidies has been given under the national Screen for Life (SFL) programme so that it is affordable for all eligible Singaporeans – it is at most $5. Don’t wait until one is sick.

  19. InsyaAllah next year, when we meet again for this event, more of us will be even healthier and would have lost any excess weight. Just like Saloma’s song – “follow me”. 

    Conclusion

  20. In conclusion, COVID-19 and Ramadan have taught us a lot about the importance of knowledge, care, and discipline in ensuring the well-being of ourselves and our community. Let us take heed from these experiences that have taught us to care of our health together for a meaningful future. Knowledge, care and discipline will similarly help us avoid a health crisis in our community and maintain our well-being. This will allow us look forward to a fulfilled future, as a Community of Success is also built on a healthy community!

 

Last updated on 17 May 2022