Statement in support of staying united against COVID-19
“The members of the National Steering Committee (NSC) on Racial and Religious Harmony are saddened to hear about the loss of two lives due to COVID-19. Our hearts go out to their loved ones.
We also see that the number of cases of individuals with COVID-19 is increasing. More needs to be done urgently to reduce the risk of local transmission of cases. We stand together with our ethnic and religious communities in safeguarding Singapore from COVID-19.
Protecting Singapore and the health and well-being of our people against COVID-19 will require a concerted and sustained effort across our society. To keep our congregations safe, our religious leaders have been putting in place a comprehensive suite of precautionary measures. As the practices vary across the different faiths, religious leaders have customised the application of the MOH advisories to their religious settings. Some of these measures involve major adjustments to our religious practices that are necessary to reduce density, lower intensity and shorten duration of social interaction, and thus lower the likelihood of spreading the virus. We support these measures, which include suspending religious services and congregations, cancelling religious events, switching from physical gatherings to alternatives like live-streaming and teleconferencing, as well as avoid shaking hands and sharing of common prayer items. During this time, we also understand the need to only keep places of worship open only for private worship and essential rites and limit group sizes to 10 persons or fewer at any one time. Our religious leaders are united in these efforts, sharing best practices and resources across congregations and faiths. Whilst reassuring and guiding their respective communities in remaining positive and hopeful even as they make adjustments in their worship, we are united as one Singapore.
Our community and religious leaders also recognise the hard work and bravery of our frontline workers to save lives. We are leading multi-racial and multi-religious initiatives to support our frontline workers as well as more vulnerable groups in this fight against COVID-19.
We will continue to work closely with our communities to keep Singapore and our people safe. To protect everyone’s well-being, we urge our congregants to work with their religious leaders in implementing the precautionary measures advised by MOH and MCCY. By supporting each other in these challenging times and exercising social responsibility, we can overcome COVID-19, and emerge even stronger and more resilient.”
The NSC is chaired by Minister of Culture, Community and Youth and comprises the top level of leaders from the major faith and ethnic groups. It provides top-level guidance on joint efforts between Government and religious and ethnic communities to safeguard and promote racial and religious harmony.
The National Steering Committee (NSC) on Racial and Religious Harmony is a national platform to build close relationships at the top level of community, government and faith leaders. The NSC’s work is mainly to guide the MCCY cluster engagement plans on racial and religious harmony. Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Mr Edwin Tong, chairs the NSC, whose members comprise the apex leaders from the major faith and ethnic groups.
The NSC networks of trust have created safe spaces for dialogue on issues such as religious harmony and common space in Singapore. The social capital from NSC has resulted in multiplier effect beyond the first-tier of leadership.
The following organisations are represented in the NSC:
As a gesture of goodwill, NSC members take turns to regularly host meetings and networking opportunities at their premises, strengthening the ties between members. Since 2008, NSC members also took turns to spearhead and organise the annual Community Engagement Games Day, where different racial and religious communities come together for a day of sports and fun.