SPEECH BY CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF MUIS MR ESA MASOOD AT MUIS WAKAF DISBURSEMENT CEREMONY 2019 ON MONDAY, 13 MAY 2019
Sohibus Samaha Mufti of Singapore, Dr Mohamed Fatris Bakaram
Respected Members of the Muis Council and Muis Wakaf Disbursement Committee
Board Members of Warees Investments Pte Ltd
Trustees, Mutawallis and Beneficiaries of Wakaf
Respected Ladies and Gentlemen,
Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.
1. Alhamdulillah, I am very glad we are all gathered today, during the blessed month of Ramadan, for this very meaningful ceremony. Today we will be witnessing the annual disbursement of income from wakaf properties for the financial year ending 31st December 2018. I am pleased to announce that Muis will be disbursing more than $4 million this year to various beneficiaries including our mosques, madrasahs and Muslim organisations that strive to benefit our community’s needs and well-being.
2. This ceremony is an important annual occasion for us as it is an opportunity for us to remember the philanthropists of the past who had laid the foundations of Wakaf in land scarce Singapore. It is through their foresight and noble intentions that our community is able to benefit from Wakaf income year after year.
3. The first Wakaf in Singapore was Masjid Omar Kampong Melaka created in 1820 by Syed Omar Bin Ali Aljunied, a philanthropist from Palembang as a meeting point for local Malays and Jawi Peranakans, as well as early Muslim immigrants such as Arabs and Indonesians. In the earlier days, each Wakaf was managed by one or two individuals known as trustees or mutawallis, typically descendants of the wakif. They actively participated in all aspects of the wakaf. However, as the social, religious and economic landscape changed in Singapore, so too has the management of Wakaf. In 2018, the number of Wakaf under Muis management has grown to include four additional wakaf with various beneficiaries including beneficiaries in Singapore, overseas charities, an education fund as well as Muslim organisations. Thus, it is our honour to be disbursing additional funds on behalf of these wakaf today.
4. This year, close to $1.8 million of wakaf income will be channelled to 32 mosques in Singapore to help in funding mosque upgrading projects and mosque programmes to benefit the community. Additionally, our six full-time madrasahs and the part-time mosque madrasahs will be receiving more than $400,000 this year. Madrasahs serve an important role to nurture future religious leaders of the community and these funds will assist the madrasahs in developing programmes as well as upgrading of their facilities to provide a more conducive learning environment.
5. Apart from the mosques and madrasahs, Muslim Organisations play a big part in fulfilling the socio-religious needs of the different facets within the community. Muis will be disbursing more than $380,000 to 30 Muslim and Voluntary Welfare Organisations to help support social initiatives and religious programmes for the community. These include welfare homes that shelter persons facing difficult family or personal circumstances, food banks which provide food supplies and rations to the poor and needy, youth-focused organisations as well as welfare organisations that provide services to those who struggle with mental illness, women facing injustice and cancer patients. May Allah bless and reward your meaningful efforts, insyaAllah.
Sustaining and Developing Wakaf in Singapore
Implementation of Wakaf Renovation & Restoration Works
6. Ladies and gentlemen, the management of Wakaf is an amanah that Muis takes very seriously. Apart from the day to day overseeing of our wakaf, ensuring compliance to regulatory controls and that our wakaf are tenanted, we do our very best to ensure that wakaf assets are revitalised and continue to be a source of pride for the Muslim community here. The process of revitalisation also improves the value of wakaf with the ultimate goal of improving income for the beneficiaries.
7. Muis, through its subsidiary Warees Investments Pte Ltd, adopts a proactive approach to improve the tenantable condition of Wakaf properties and upgrade infrastructure facilities to be in line with the market. We have implemented the Wakaf Improvement Plan to upgrade our Wakaf properties while maximising returns for our beneficiaries – achieving economies of scale with minimal disruptions to business operations.
8. All these upgrading works would not have been possible without a healthy and vibrant wakaf ecosystem comprising businesses, Muis, Warees and also wakaf beneficiaries. In the downtown cluster, there are various F&B establishments operating from Wakaf properties, such as the popular Victory Restaurant that supports Wakaf Raja Siti Kraeng Chanda Pulih, and hipster cafes such as Tash Tish Tosh that supports Wakaf Rubat Habban. The net income generated from the rental to such businesses enables Muis to fulfil its duties as the administrator of wakaf and disburse to the beneficiaries. Alhamdullilah.
9. Ladies and gentlemen, today’s disbursement is made possible by Allah’s grace and benevolence as well as the foresight of philanthropists who created wakaf as instruments to provide for the needs of our Muslim community. We are glad that mutawallis, many of whom are family members or descendants of the wakif, are also doing their part to ensure that the wakaf is able to bring the best returns for our community while complying with Muis’ requirements. Muis would like to thank the mutawallis for the support and tireless contributions towards improving the socio-religious life of muslims in Singapore. May Allah grant all of you with the best of all rewards.
10.I hope that all of us will have a blessed Ramadan this year and may all our good deeds be accepted by Allah swt.
Wabillahi taufiq walhidayah wassalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.