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SPEECH BY MR ESA MASOOD, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, MUIS, AT MOSQUE MANAGEMENT BOARD INVESTITURE CEREMONY FOR NORTH MOSQUE CLUSTER ON SATURDAY 2nd FEBRUARY AT MUIS AUDITORIUM, SINGAPORE ISLAMIC HUB

Deputy CE, Dr Albakri Ahmad

Muis Council Members

Mosque Veteran Leaders

Respected Mosque Management Board members

Colleagues from Muis

Ladies and Gentlemen

Assalamualaikum Wr Wb

1 Alhamdullilah, today we will be witnessing 182 volunteers from 16 mosques from the North Mosque Cluster receiving their appointment letters as members of the Mosque Management Boards. I would like to express my appreciation to all of you who have come forward to volunteer your services as Mosque Management Board Members. You will join about 600 other members of the Mosque Management Boards who are serving selflessly in our other 54 mosques.

2 For the majority of you, this is not the first time that you are appointed as an MMB member. Your re-appointment is a testimony to your commitment to continue your service in contributing to the mosque and the community.

3 As for those who are appointed for the first time, I would like to welcome you on board and applaud your willingness to give your invaluable time to help govern and administer our mosques.

4 For those who are stepping down from the MMBs, I would like to express my sincere appreciation for all you contributions in building up our mosques and may Allah (swt) reward you generously.

Importance of Mosque Leadership

5 Indeed, as respected leaders of our mosques, you play a very important role. You will be leading and managing our mosques in ensuring that the needs of the Muslim community in your neighbourhood are being met. But more importantly, you will be fulfilling a very important amanah from Allah (swt) to influence positive change and transformation to our society. I encourage you to work together with your fellow MMB members and the mosque staff as one cohesive team, build strong bonds with other partners and stakeholders in the community, and serve your jemaah to the best of your abilities.

6 At the same time, you will be faced with challenges in meeting the needs and rising expectations of your jemaah, many of whom donate generously to our mosques, but expect that funds are used prudently and responsibly. For this reason, Muis has put in place Mosque Financial Regulations and Standard Operating Procedures, and periodic independent audits to ensure compliance. I am glad that over the years, we have seen our mosques performing better and better at these audits. Indeed, having a clear and robust system we will not only protect the interest of our MMBs, it will also ensure trust from the community of our mosques is maintained.

2018 - A Milestone Year with Muis50

7 2018 was indeed a milestone year for Muis. We celebrated our 50th Anniversary with the community and several events and activities were carried out throughout the year to commemorate the momentous occasion. I would like to express my utmost gratitude for the mosque leaders’ support for these events.

8 We started the activities at the end of 2017 with the Muis50 Conversations. It was heartening to note that the mosque fraternity took part and contributed many ideas. The findings, ideas and recommendations have been compiled in the Muis50 Conversations Report titled “Connect, Consult, Co-create”, and many of the ideas for the mosque sector were incorporated into the Mosque Convention 2018 document.

9 The major highlight of the Muis50 celebrations was the 3-day Salam Singapore event held at Our Tampines Hub in September, and attended by more than 20,000 people altogether.

10 During Salam Singapore, we organised the Mosque Family Fiesta, which saw about 3,000 participants from the mosque fraternity – MMB, staff, volunteers and their families. Besides food, fun and games, Muis also presented certificates of appreciation to our befrienders and the winners of the Mosque Exemplary Team Award. We also set a new record in the Singapore Book of Records for the longest non-stop beating of the bedok and kentung. My special appreciation to Masjid Kampung Siglap, Masjid Abdul Hamid Kampung Pasiran and Masjid Darul Aman for letting us use their bedok and kentung for the event. Finally, in the spirit of Rahmah, the mosques collectively raised a total of $50,000 for five beneficiary organisations providing invaluable support and assistance to the underserved and vulnerable in our community.

Working Together as One Mosque Sector - MC18

11 The Mosque Convention 2018 also took place during the Salam Singapore. The MC18 event was held successfully on 9 September 2018. It was attended by 1,500 MMBs, mosque staff and invited guests.

12 Alhamdulillah, as a mosque fraternity, we endorsed the MC18 vision for the mosques of:- “Our Mosque: Strengthening Faith, Building Community, Spreading Compassion”.  

13 We have also identified three key thrusts for the next generation mosques: Serving Beyond Mosques, One Mosque Sector and Collaborative Leadership. I am pleased to note that since the Mosque Convention, the mosque sector has already been hard at work, setting outcomes, and discussing goals, key strategies and activities that will enable mosques to achieve the MC18 vision.

14 As we set out to implement the strategies and activities, I would like to bring our attention to a common thread that can be found in the three key thrusts of MC18, which is: mosques can no longer work in isolation or on their own. How much we can achieve depends on how well we work together as one sector as well as with others beyond the sector.

15 In fact, we have already seen the mosques coming together to support each other. For instance, mosques with surplus funds have donated to other mosques undergoing upgrading, for example, Masjid Annur, Al-Islah and Masjid Assyakrin supporting Masjid Darul Ghufran.

16 Other notable examples of collaboration include:

  a. Masjid Assyafaah supporting Masjid Petempatan Melayu Sembawang with HR matters.

  b. Masjid Assyakirin also seconded their staff to Masjid Hasanah to strengthen their operations. These are excellent examples of working together and leveraging each other’s strengths to better serve the community.  

M3 - A Partnership in Community Building: Bridging the Last-Mile

17 This idea of leveraging on each other’s strengths is also present in one of the key thrusts that Minister Masagos Zulkifli has been stressing – the partnership of Muis, MENDAKI and MESRA – or collectively term as M3. What this aims to do is to strengthen the last-mile service delivery of services to the community.

18 This is certainly a natural extension of the work of the mosque sector. Already, many mosques have also been collaborating with various local partners or organisations beyond the mosques. Thus, the M3 collaboration between Muis, MENDAKI and MESRA has been included as a key initiative in the MC18.  

19 An important initiative under M3, is that of M3@Towns. This is where the involvement of the mosques will be key, as the M3@Town aims to expand outreach and engagement to bring programmes to benefit more of the community – in other words “bridging the last-mile”.

20 To date, two M3@Towns have been rolled out – M3@Tampines and M3@Pasir Ris-Punggol. Six more M3@Towns are expected to be rolled out in the next few months namely at Bedok, Choa Chu Kang, Jurong, Marsiling, Nee Soon and Woodlands/Sembawang.

21 It is worthwhile to note that the M3@Town committees will also comprise our mosque representatives, including the Mosque Chairman himself. The involvement of the mosques in the M3@Town will mean that mosques will go beyond just playing a supporting role. Instead mosques will be in a position to create and influence impactful and meaningful changes in the community and society.

22 urge all mosque leaders to take advantage of this opportunity and do your utmost to help our community overcome its challenges.

Continued Engagement with Mosque Leaders

23 Over the past year since I joined Muis I have had the opportunity to visit many of you at various mosques, and enjoyed the very warm hospitality and feedback. I am very encouraged to hear about the various efforts you are doing, to reach out to groups in need, support the jemmah better, and also work with your neighbors to solve practical problems like parking.

24 Also benefitted from attending dialogue sessions with mosque leaders at the cluster level with Minsiter Masagos – many have understood his direction and approach, especially on M3.

25 Going forward, we hope to support the mosques better, and continue to meet you on the ground and understand the issues you face and how we can support you better and work together.

Conclusion

26 In conclusion, 2018 was watershed year for us. We celebrated our past achievements, but we also looked at what more we can do and achieve in the future through the MC18 vision. And we intend to do this not only by building on our strengths as one mosque sector, but also through working with others – through the M3 collaboration and even beyond the community.

27 This year, the real work on MC18 begins. To me, achieving the MC18 vision will not only bring about a transformational change to the community, it will bring our mosques to beyond being a node in the national grid, but to the forefront of community development and even nation-building. That will further “cement” our Muslim community as an effective and impactful contributing member of the Singapore society.

28 Once again, my heartiest congratulations on your appointment. May Allah grant us His Guidance and bless us with Wisdom us in this endeavour, amin.