19 June 2020
WAKAF MASYARAKAT SINGAPURA
1. As announced by the Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs, Mr Masagos Zulkifli on 5 June 2020, Wakaf Masyarakat Singapura (WMS) or Singapore Community Wakaf (endowment) will be set up to fund the community’s long-term needs, particularly for religious institutions, asatizah development, and general community needs and initiatives.
2. Wakaf creation is a familiar construct within the Muslim community in Singapore, where presently there are 91 wakaf with a combined value of more than $800m under the care of Muis. Each year, Muis will disburse income from Muis-managed wakaf to local beneficiaries such as mosques, madrasahs, Muslim charitable organisations, as well as the poor and needy. In the past 3 years, Muis has disbursed over $2.5m to local beneficiaries annually.
3. Like past wakaf practices, WMS is a voluntary funding mechanism to complement other more established community funds such as the Mosque Building and MENDAKI Building Fund (MBMF) and zakat. It is not compulsory for all members of the community to contribute to it. Those who have the financial means can opt to bequeath their assets and funds to WMS, in hope of accumulating the community’s reserves for future generations.
4. It is crucial to look into the long-term potential of our wakaf assets, and continue to build its value. The key principles for WMS are: 1) capital preservation1, 2) continuous and sustainable source of income, and 3) ease of community participation and contribution.
5. Two advisory panels have been set up to put forth recommendations on how to galvanise community support and operationalise the implementation of WMS. Both advisory panels will be chaired by Mr Abu Bakar Mohd Nor (details in Annex A).
6. Calling for the community to participate and contribute to Wakaf Masyarakat Singapura, Mr Abu Bakar said: “The act of giving and philanthropy through Wakaf is an age-old tradition that has historically supported many institutions and associations, including madrasah, mosques and various Muslim organisations. I strongly believe that if all of us take personal ownership on the WMS, through the collective work of the advisory panels and inputs from the community, we can take Singapore’s wakaf culture to the next level for the benefit of the community and our future generations.”
WMS ADVISORY PANELS
7. The WMS Expert Advisory Panel will comprise professionals and experts in religious, legal, investments, finance, audit and property fields, while the WMS Community Advisory Panel will comprise community
8. The WMS Expert Advisory Panel members will focus on critical aspects of asset creation, valuation and investment, to facilitate the growth of wakaf, including possible enhancements to systems, structures and regulations.
9. The WMS Community Advisory Panel members will focus on the outreach and public engagement efforts to gain crucial ground perspectives and insights. The Panel will recommend a comprehensive strategy to solicit feedback, and communicate the objectives and long-term outcomes of WMS to the Muslim community in Singapore, to encourage voluntary participation from the community.
10. To ensure that the recommendations and plans provided are holistic and robust, the two advisory panels will engage key stakeholders such as asatizah, business communities, professionals, as well as the mosque and madrasah sectors.
11. Details on the composition of the Advisory panels are provided in Annex B. The Chairman of the advisory panels will deliver the findings and recommendations to the Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs in December 2020.
MAJLIS UGAMA ISLAM SINGAPURA
1Ensuring the wakaf funds collected retain its value.