4 August 2021
1. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted the economy and affected many businesses including tenants of wakaf properties. Muis responded swiftly by providing a special disbursement to businesses and Muslim organisations, and matched the relief measures provided by the government such as rental waivers, property tax rebates and cash grants.
2. Thus, despite some decreased returns from wakaf, through prudent management of our wakaf1 assets, wakaf beneficiaries continue to receive their disbursements each year. Muis will disburse a total of $4,018,273 from the income of Muis-managed wakaf to various beneficiaries this year. Of this, $2,936,016 will be channelled to local beneficiaries while the balance of $1,082,257 will be channelled to foreign beneficiaries. (Refer to Annex A for wakaf disbursement details).
Asatizah and Madrasah Development
3. To promote the upskilling and development of asatizah at the mosques, $200,000 from the Mosque Asatizah Development Fund (MADF) will be allocated for the training of asatizah at mosques to be all-rounded marriage solemnisers under the “Bersamamu” programme. Asatizah under the programme will be equipped with marriage counselling and guidance skills. As mosques play an important role as key nodes in the community to meet their religious affairs, this programme will further strengthen the family unit and become a cornerstone for Muslim marriages in the community.
4. In the future, there will be plans to utilise the fund to support the career pathways of Asatizah under the Asatizah Skills Upgrading Plan which is currently under development.
5. In addition, our six full-time madrasahs and part-time madrasahs at mosques will be receiving a total of $464,884 including proceeds from Wakaf Ilmu, a wakaf created for the benefit of Islamic religious education in Singapore. This disbursement will support madrasah programmes and initiatives to develop future religious leaders for Singapore.
6. This year, a total of $1,458,104 will be disbursed to the mosque sector including to fund mosques’ operational needs as well as upgrading and renovation works. Amongst those receiving such support are Masjid Jamae Chulia and Masjid Khalid.
7. To support various social needs of the Muslim community given the impact of the COVID-19 situation, a total of $285,826 will be disbursed to 26 Muslim organisations such as 4PM, Club Heal, PPIS, Pertapis Homes and United Indian Muslim Association. This disbursement is intended to support Muslim Organisations, especially charities who serve social causes that support the varied needs of the community.
8. Commenting on the disbursement, Mr Esa Masood, Muis Chief Executive said: “In the last 20 years, we managed to grow our wakaf more than 6 fold – from $150 million in the year 2000, to more than $900 million in 2020. This is testament to the foresight of our religious and community leaders over the years in developing the necessary religious guidance as well as coming up with plans to ensure that our wakaf continue to benefit the community and be developed to honour the noble intent of philanthropists and donors who had set up the wakaf. Muis will continue to work hard to ensure that our wakaf are managed and governed soundly, based on both our statutory and religious obligations.”
Sustaining Our Wakaf
9. Wakaf which has been established by our pioneers in the community and continues to support a range of beneficiaries today. However, more needs to be done to ensure the long-term sustainability of our institutions such as mosques and madrasahs so that the community remains resilient in fulfilling its religious needs even in times of crisis. The Wakaf Masyarakat Singapura (WMS) advisory committee has provided their recommendations on strategies to support our religious institutions, asatizah development and community programmes. Muis is currently studying the recommendations and will be providing more information in due course.
MAJLIS UGAMA ISLAM SINGAPURA
1 Wakaf comprise assets belonging to the Muslim community which were contributed by benefactors in the past and used for the good of the community such as Mosques, Madrasahs and Muslim Organisations. Every year, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) disburses income from Muis-managed wakaf to various beneficiaries.