Assalamualaikum wr. wb.
President of the Republic of Singapore, Mdm Halimah Yacob,
Minister for Social and Family Development, Second Minister for Health, and Minister-in-Charge of Muslim Affairs, Mr Masagos Zulkifli,
Minister, Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for Education and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman,
Excellencies, Ambassadors and members of the diplomatic corps,
President Muis, Mohamed Sa'at Abdul Rahman
Mufti of the Republic of Singapore, Dr Nazirudin Mohd Nasir
Distinguished members of the Muis Council,
Community leaders, colleagues from Muis and friends.
A very good evening to all. I am very pleased to be able to host you this evening for the Muis Buka Puasa 2022. My appreciation to everyone present here and online, for making the time to be with us.
2 Today, we are very honoured to have President Halimah Yacob joining us as our Guest-of-Honour. Thank you, Madam President, for gracing this annual Muis tradition with us.
3 Over the past two years, COVID-19 has presented our community with various challenges. Here, I would like to acknowledge the hard work of officers and volunteers from the mosque sector for their service to the community. They have dutifully implemented the Safety Management Measures or SMMs to make mosques safe spaces for worship and ensure the well-being of our Jemaah.
4 Alhamdulillah, this year’s Ramadan is certainly more upbeat and joyous. Although we still have some COVID-19 SMMs in place, we can now go on with many activities that was restrictive over the past two years. With the calibrated re-opening of mosques, we are now able to welcome more Jemaah to perform daily congregational prayers. For Ramadan, this extends to the tarawih prayers in the evening. And this is only possible because we continue have dedicated volunteers assisting at the mosques and have strong support and cooperation from the community.
5 As the community moves towards living with COVID-19, it is time for us to rejuvenate the community spirit at our mosques. This was why we have launched the inaugural SalamSG Movement this year with the theme “Suburkan Salam. Sebarkan Rahmah.”, which means “Reinvigorate Salam. Radiate Blessings.”
6 Under this Movement, our mosques and community partners have lined up a series of meaningful activities throughout the month of Ramadan.
a. Last week, we focused on community engagement via food distribution and community outreach. Our mosques are also conducting bubur distribution to our community. Our zakat beneficiaries also received groceries, and we hope this will help as costs of grocery items for households have increased recently.
b. During the SalamSG Movement Day last Friday, my staff and I had the privilege of distributing sets of groceries to 125 households. The FITRAH Office has also distributed goodie bags including dates and milk powder to families of inmates, to help them welcome the month of Ramadan.
c. This week, we are strengthening our assistance to the underserved. This includes Ramadan Hamper and Raya Distribution, and home makeovers for our zakat beneficiaries.
d. Ramadan is not complete without efforts to reinforce our spiritual well-being and increasing our faith. This will be the focus for the final two weeks of Ramadan. The community can look forward to our annual Qur’an hour, attend tadarus and Al-Qur’an clinics at our mosques and our Night of Power event at Masjid Al-Falah on 22 May. For everyone’s info, the mosque has also created an online series of Quranic recitation called, “A Juz, A Day” in Spotify. So do tune in to this podcast!
e. All these efforts will continue to be amplified and communicated to our community online, or as we call it, our virtual Faith Space. We see the success of the SalamSG TV, which was launched back in 2020 during the circuit breaker, to meet the needs of our Muslim community in Islamic learning, education, and Ramadan reflections. This online platform continues to offer great content from our asatizah and you can tune in to SalamSG TV via YouTube. This Ramadan, we even have guidance on how to create healthy meals, so that the food we consume is not only halal but also wholesome, in line with the principle of halalan toyyiban.
7 I would like to now share that the Muslim community has stepped up exceptionally in sharing their blessings through Zakat last year. Alhamdulillah, in 2021 the community contributed a total of $59.5M (before audit) in Zakat contributions. And this was achieved with 90 percent of the community contributing their zakat utilising electronic payment methods.
8 These contributions have allowed Muis to support many more households in need.
a. Our monthly zakat assistance now benefit 7,800 households. An increase by 19% from the year before.
b. A further $13.1M was spent to support Islamic education through initiatives such as PROMAS and the Islamic Education Fund, where madrasah and aLIVE students from low-income families receive financial assistance.
c. In total, $28.7M was disbursed to help the poor and needy across various programmes and schemes in Muis.
d. This year, for Ramadan alone, Muis is disbursing two million dollars to a total of 6,500 beneficiaries. Besides direct disbursement, Muis is also working with 45 Welfare Homes and 20 Family Service Centres to disburse these zakat funds to their Muslim recipients.
9 I would like to conclude by commending our community partners, our leaders and volunteers from our mosques, as well as volunteers from the Rahmatan-lil-Alamin Foundation for all your efforts and initiatives to reach out and benefit the Muslim community and wider society.
10 I would also like to thank our mosque leaders who have been actively adapting to the needs of the community, be it by providing online Islamic learning programmes or supporting the various SalamSG Movement community projects.
11 May all your efforts be rewarded generously in this blessed month. Finally, I would like wish everyone a blessed Ramadan ahead.