SPEECH BY CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF MUIS MR ESA MASOOD AT THE EAST CLUSTER MOSQUE INVESTITURE CEREMONY AT SINGAPORE ISLAMIC HUB AUDITORIUM ON SATURDAY, 6 APRIL 2019

Deputy CE Mr Md Fahmi Aliman

Muis Council Members

Mosque Veteran Leaders

Respected Mosque Management Board members

Colleagues from Muis

Assalamualaikum Wr Wb

Alhamdullilah, today we will be witnessing 224 volunteers from 18 mosques of the East Mosques Cluster receiving their appointment letters as members of the Mosque Management Boards or MMBs. I would like to express my appreciation to all of you who have come forward to volunteer as MMB Members. You will join about 600 other members of the MMBs who are serving selflessly in our other 52 mosques.

As you embark in your journey, I applaud and thank you for your will and resolve to serve. It signifies your commitment to give your invaluable time to help govern and administer our mosques to serve and to uplift the Muslim community. Almost one out of 3 here (33%) appointed today are new faces in the MMB.

The work of serving the community will have its challenges, but I am confident that you will also find it deeply fulfilling and rewarding. I encourage you to work with your fellow MMB members and staff as a cohesive team in charting the programmes and services to cater to the socio-religious needs of the Muslim community in your neighbourhood.

I am glad to note that though the Enhanced Mosque Clusters, mosques are also working more closely together with other mosques. Indeed, the primary objective of the EMC is to harness collective strength and resources of all our mosques to meet the needs of the community. At the same time, our mosques are more empowered with oversight over zakat matters and related assistance schemes so that they could provide those in need with convenient, timely, and holistic support.

6th Muis 3-year Plan (6M3YP) & MC18

This year also marks an important milestone for all of us in the mosque sector. Muis has embarked on the 6th Muis 3-year plan which will be from 2019 to 2021, and this was shared by Minister Masagos Zulkifli in his speech at the Muis 2019 workplan seminar. There will be 4 focus areas for Muis in the next 3 years. They are:

  1. First, Strengthening Support & Development of Our Asatizah
  2. Second, Strengthening Social Cohesion
  3. Third, Rallying Support for the under-served in the community
  4. Fourth, Strengthening our Religious Institutions

Our mosques, as an important institution for the community, play a very significant role in all the 4 areas above. This is especially in the areas of social cohesion and support for the under-served.

In line with Muis’ 3-year plan, the Mosque Convention 2018 held last year has adopted the 3 key strategies:

  • First, Serving Beyond Mosque,
  • Second, One Mosque Sector and
  • Third, Collaborative leadership.

These strategies are to achieve the vision of a mosque that serves all segments of the Muslim community and works with the larger Singapore society to strengthen social cohesion, for greater benefit of the larger community.

To support the first strategy of Serving Beyond Mosque, Muis has set up the Community Engagement Strategic Unit to formulate strategies to harness the collaboration between the 3 agencies (Muis, Mendaki and Mesra) under the M3 Framework.

Within the unit will be several Community Engagement officers, who will be deployed on the ground at the mosque clusters, to facilitate this collaboration between mosques and our partners Mesra and Mendaki.

With greater synergy between Muis/Mosque and Mendaki and Mesra, we hope to be able to be able to deliver the last mile delivery of programmes and services more effectively.

M3 Collaboration – Harnessing Our Asset for effective last mile delivery

One critical factor for this collaboration to be successful is to harness the assets of the community. And the most important asset in our community is our people. This of course includes yourselves as mosque leaders, as well as mosque staff and other volunteers such as befrienders, and youth volunteers.

Several of our mosques leaders are also represented in the M3@Town committees in Bedok, Tampines and Pasir Ris-Punggol, and are working with community partners to enhance our outreach to the under-served and encourage greater participation in volunteering to serve the community.

Under the M3 Framework, several initiatives have already been rolled out by our mosques. For example, Muis has been working closely with our M3 partners in supporting the prison inmates and their families. In addition, our mosques are already involved in the KelasMatematika@CC and Marital First Responder (MFR) initiatives. We hope to involve more mosques in these initiatives going forward and look forward to your support.

Serving Beyond Mosque – Ground-up Initiatives

Under the strategy of Serving Beyond Mosque, we also hope that the mosques will continue to initiate ground-up initiatives to cater to the under-served. Thus far I am happy to note that our mosques have been very active in collaborating with partners in pursuing such causes. For example, Al Islah organises programmes for children with ADHD[1], Al Istighfar provides Islamic Learning for youth with low intellectualability (known as MADANIS). Some other mosques are also collaborating with national agencies to serve the community. For example mosques such as Al Ansar and Al Mawaddah and Darul Ghufran are promoting Healthy lifestyle with HPB under the Jaga Kesihatan Jaga Ummah[2] initiative.

In last week’s work plan seminar discussion, I noted there was keen interest among our mosques to reach out to the special needs/under-served group in our community. I hope this can be further discussed in our Mosque Workplan Seminar to be held next Saturday, 13 Apr 2019.

Good Governance, Better Transparency

As we move forward, it is timely to remind ourselves that, as leaders, our mosques are an amanah to each of us, built and funded by the community for the service of the community. It is thus our duty to ensure good governance, so that the trust of the community is always upheld. In particular, all income from donations and from other sources, as well as all expenditures made by the mosques must be properly managed in accordance with the policies and procedures spelt out in the Mosque Financial Regulation (MFR).

Under the Administration of Muslim Law Act (AMLA), the financial statements of all mosques must be audited by a public accountant after the close of each financial year and the completed audit report must be submitted to Muis not later than 6 months after the close of the financial year, i.e. 30 Jun. I seek your cooperation to meet these important statutory requirements.

Attack on Mosque in Christchurch

Dear Mosque leader

While we are busy in our pursuit to better our community, our hearts go out to our brothers and sisters who were killed in a terrorist attack at 2 mosques at Christchurch on 15 Mar 2019.This attack is a grim reminder to us all that terrorism and extremism have no boundaries. It could happen anywhere, anytime. Coping with such crises requires strong solidarity and cohesion among people across faith groups, as such, our efforts over the years in engaging other faith leaders and communities to build mutual trust must continue to be strengthened.

Indeed, since 2017 our mosques have embarked on Emergency Preparedness exercises, as part of the national SG Secure Movement. We have also held several Table-Top and Ground exercisesin 2018 and 2019. Our mosques have set up Emergency Response Teams (ERTs) and many of our staff are trained in First Aid/ CPR and our mosques have installed Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs). In all, we have conducted six exercises over the past 2 years involving 4 mosques and the Cluster HQ, and 40 staff and volunteers and we thank the mosques who have supported these exercises.

Muis will continue to strengthen our efforts to ensure our mosques are better prepared to deal with emergencies, and we will involve more mosques in our exercises. Moving forward, the Cluster will continue to refine our emergency planning procedures, train our staff and volunteers with the necessary skills so as to ensure that our jemmah are better safeguarded when they come to our mosques.

Conclusion

Allow me to conclude. Dear Mosque leaders, your appointment is a testament of your commitment to make the difference to the community. Serving at the mosques can be challenging given the ever increasing demands and expectations of our community, but I am confident that if you work cohesively as a team, and together with your respective mosque cluster offices, we will be able to serve the community better together year after year, Insya Allah.

Let me again express my heartiest congratulations and thanks to all of you, our dear mosque leaders for your contributions and for working with us to serve our community; and to make our mosques trusted and respected institutions for the service community. May Allah grant us His Guidance and bless us with Wisdom us in this endeavour, amin.

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me now to say a few words in Malay.

Para pemimpin masjid sekelian,

Saya ingin ucapkan tahniah Dan terimakasih  kepada anda semua yang tampil ke hadapan untuk  berkhidmat kepada masyarakat Islam Singapura. Ia merupakan suatu tanggungjawab yang besar dan mulia untuk memakmurkan Rumah Allah.

Muis telah melancarkan pelan 3-tahunnya baru–baru ini. Beberapa bidang utama telah dikenal pasti. Antaranya ialah Menambah sokongan kepada golongan yang lebih memerlukan. Dalam usaha ini, Muis telah menubuhkan Unit Strategik Pelibatan Masyarakatuntuk berganding bahu dengan Mendaki dan Mesra dalam memastikan penyampaiantahap akhir bagi program dan perkhidmatan yang ditawarkan, dari peringkat nasional mahupun peringkat masyarakat.

Dalam usaha ini, kita perlu menyatukan dan menggembeling aset masyarakat – termasuk anda semua, para pemimpin masyarakat serta relawan. Ramai di antara anda terlibat dengan Jawatankuasa M3@Bandar yang telah ditubuhkan sejakAug 2018 yang lalu. M3@Bandar telahpun melancarkan beberapa inisiaitf bersama yang melibatkan masjid-masjid kita, Alhamdulillah.

Justru itu, saya berharap anda semua akan terus melibatkan masjid anda dalam usaha berkhidmat kepada masyarakat yang memerlukan, seperti yang dilahirkan dalam maklum balas di Seminar Pelan Kerja Muis minggu lalu. Saya amat berharap segala gagasan ini dapat diperhalusi dalam Seminar Pelan Kerja Masjid-masjid yang bakal berlangsung Sabtu depan. Wadah M3 juga boleh digunakan bagi meneruskan usaha-usaha menyantuni masyarakat secara kolektif dan efektif, Insya Allah.

Sidang hadirin, Sedang kita melakarkan strategi serta program-program yang sesuai, kita tidak harus lupa peranan kita sebagai pengamanah masjid. Semua para pemimpin masjid perlu memastikan urus tadbir masjidyang kukuh. Lebih-lebih lagi dalam hal urus tadbir kewangan. Pengurusan kewangan mestilah mengikut Peraturan Kewangan Masjid-Masjid.Saya bermohon kepada semua agar kewangan masjid diurus secara betul dan audit tahunan dijalankan dalam jangka masa yang ditetapkan.

Para pemimpin masjd yang dihormati sekelian, 

Baru-baru ini kami juga dikejutkan dengan tragedi di dua buah masjid di Christchurch yang telah mengorbankan 50 nyawa jemaah. Insiden ini mengingatkan kita bahawa serangan ekstrimisme dan terorisme tidak mengenal sempadan. Ia boleh berlaku pada bila-bila masa dan di mana jua. Oleh sebab itu, hubungan baik yang telah kita jalinkan dengan ketua dan masyarakat agama lain saban tahun, telah meningkatkan lagi kepercayaan dan keyakinan masyarakat terhadap kita.

Dalam pada itu, beberapa masjid kita juga telah membuat persiapan dengan menubuhkan Pasukan Kesediaan Kecemasan (ERTs) dan telahpun melakukan beberapa latihan. Muis akan terus memastikan masjid-masjid kita sentiasa bersedia untuk berdepan dengan sebarang kemungkinan dan kecemasan. Kita juga akan terus memperbaiki prosedur Kesediaan Kecemasan (EP), serta melatih dan membangunkan kemahiran para pegawai masjid dalam menghadapi kecemasan. Ini semua agar para jemaah masjid kita dapat melakukan ibadah mereka dengan rasa tenang dan selamat.

Akhir sekali saya menyeru kepada semua para pemimpin masjid agar terus berkhidmat dengan penuh kesungguhan serta iltizam yang tinggi dan semangat ikhlas, demi menjadikan masjid sebagai pusat transformasi untuk masyarakat Islam dan negara. Mudah-mudahan Allah SWT merahmati dan memberi petunjuk dalam urusan memakmurkan rumahNya, Allahumma amin. Izinkan saya akhiri dengan serangkap pantun:

Mari menyemai setitis budi

Sambil merenjis seribu bakti

Mengharap Rahmat dari Ilahi

Semoga usaha kita terus diberkati

 

Wabillahitaufiq Walhidayah, Wassalamualaikm Wr Wb



[1] Al-Islah organized a programme for the ADHA.

[2] Al Mawaddah, Al Ansar, Darul Ghufran, Al Islah, Al Istighfar are mosques in the JKJU initiatives.

 

Last updated on 16/7/2019