SPEECH BY CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF MUIS HJ ABDUL RAZAK MARICAR AT THE WEST CLUSTER MOSQUE INVESTITURE CEREMONY AT THE SINGAPORE ISLAMIC HUB AUDITORIUM ON SATURDAY, 21 APRIL 2018

President Muis, Haji Alami Musa

Sohibusamahah Mufti, Dr Mohamed Fatris Bakaram

Muis Council Members

Mosque Veteran Leaders

Respected Mosque Management Board members

Colleagues from Muis

Ladies and Gentlemen

Assalamualaikum Wr Wb

        Alhamdullilah, today we will be witnessing 174 volunteers from 16 mosques of the newly-formed West Mosque Cluster receiving their appointment letters as members of the respective Mosque Management Board. I would like to express my appreciation to all of you who have come forward to volunteer your services as Mosque Management Board Members. I am heartened that almost 25% appointed here today are appointed for the first time to the MMB. All of you will join another 600 other members of the Mosque Management Boards who are serving selflessly in our other 54 mosques.

2     As you embark on your journey as mosque leaders, I applaud and thank you for coming forward to serve.  It signifies your commitment to help administer our mosques and to serve the community. 

3     You journey will be challenging but definitely fulfilling as you work with your fellow MMB members and staff in charting the programmes and services to cater to the socio-religious needs of the local Muslim community in your neighbourhood. I have no doubt that you will work together to position our mosques strongly as nodes in the local landscape and also work closely with other agencies to bring services needed by the community.   

New EMC Boundary – Facing Rising Expectations

4 This investiture marks an important milestone in the mosque sector. This is the first group of MMBs who are appointed under the new enhanced mosque cluster boundaries that was announced early this month at the Muis Work Plan Seminar.

5 With the recent evolution of the social assistance landscape, with ComCare moving from CDCs to becomes Social Service Offices,  retaining current EMC boundaries may not be efficient. Accordingly, Muis has reorganised the current six EMCs into four clusters – the North, South, East, and West clusters. This revised cluster configuration takes into account all existing and planned mosques, and regroup them for better balance and optimisation of resources. For example, mosques in the new North, East, and West clusters will run programmes that cater to congregants from the heartlands, whereas we have quite a number of mosques in the South cluster within the city area that  cater to the working population there. The changes will take effect 1 May 2018.

6 EMCs have been able to harness the collective strength and resources of every mosque to achieve economies of scale. Through the EMC, our  mosques have done very well in bringing services and programmes to the community, enabled more to receive zakat assistance and programmes, and help build social trust and confidence.  From the bottom of my heart, I wish to express my gratitude to all of you, the mosque leaders for the support and going the distance to achieve all these! Alhamdulillah.

7 However, with these successes, our mosque sector is also experiencing greater expectations to implement better services and more effective programmes as well as outreaching and engaging the under-served segments of the Muslim community.

8 I acknowledge that our mosque leaders are already doing a lot to make a difference in our community now. And that these rising expectations may put additional demand on their time and effort.  However, rest assured that Muis will do the needful to assist our mosque leaders in the rising expectations being placed on them. At the same time, I seek all the MMB members to focus and work cohesively as a strong team and do your utmost best to support each other. I believe we all can rise to the challenges, Insya Allah.

Muis 50th Anniversary – Celebrating Achievements with Community

Ladies and Gentlemen

9 In my watikah speech earlier this year, I mentioned that this year will be an exciting year for all of us. Together with the community, Muis will be celebrating its 50th Anniversary. To share more about Muis and the community contributions with the wider society, we will organise the Muis Community Fest – a three-day community event in September this year at Our Tampines Hub. Leading up to this event, we conducted a series of Muis50 Conversations with our various stakeholders since Oct 2017 in three tracks[1]; Community Religious Life, Madrasah and Mosque. The objective of these conversations was to elicit ideas and at the same time envision the community as we journey together to better our community in the next phase of Muis’ growth.

10 I participated in several of these conversation sessions, and am very heartened by the energy and passion of our partners and stakeholders.
Insya Allah, we will share the findings, ideas and recommendation for the Mosque track in due course.

Ladies and gentlemen

Mosque Convention 2018 – Charting Our New Mosque Vision

11 One of the major events in the Muis Community Fest is the Mosque Convention 2018. Through MC18, we will take stock of our achievements, and at the same time seek to revitalise our vision, refocus our activities and set clear goals for the future.

12 I understand that many of you, both MMB members and staff, have been heavily involved in our Mosque’s Muis50 conversations since Oct 2017. We discussed how our mosques could further improve their programmes and services in the face of current and future challenges facing the Muslim community in particular and the larger Singapore society in general. We also sought insights on how the new Enhanced Mosque Cluster system could harness the individual and collective strengths of the mosques within and across the EMCs to be active partners in community building and to become community nodes catering to the needs of the various segments of our community.

13 So far there have been very rigorous and meaningful conversations in the past months with our mosque leaders. Till date, there have been a total of eight sessions involving 278 staff and MMBs, and over 1000 hours with more than 1500 ideas and suggestions. I understand there were several big ideas generated from the suggestions to ensure our mosques remain relevant and meaningful in a more diverse and challenging socio-religious landscape.  Idea such as One Mosque Sector, call for closer collaborations for common growth and sustainability and working together in the area of human capital development for both staff and volunteers, designing and delivering of new  key programmes, as well as long term financial sustainability. One Mosque Sector would also mean a common mosque culture in Singapore that will contribute more effectively to the development of the Muslim community and nation-building.

14 Another big idea was the Mosque for All which calls for our mosques to be more embracing in the spirit of blessings to all and to reach out beyond the community, as well as to collaborate with other agencies on common programmes such as active ageing, fitness and well-being.

5 There was also the suggestion to look at developing Impactful Collaborations. This entails our mosques leaders to be collaborative leaders who are able to spiritualise and create the spirit of community conscientiousness and play a more active role in community building and develop partnership across sector.

 16 I understand this conversation is still continuing. Insya Allah, I am looking forward to transformative and breakthrough ideas in the lead up to the Mosque Convention 2018 where we can refresh and chart a new blue print for the mosque sector for the next 5 years of its transformation.

Conclusion

17 As I mentioned earlier in my speech, your appointment is testament to your commitment to work as a team to make a difference to the community. Serving at the mosques can be challenging given the ever increasing demands and expectations of our community.

18 Let me again express my heartiest congratulations and my heartfelt thanks to you, our dear mosque leaders for your contributions and for sharing our vision to make our mosques transformational touch-points for our community and important local nodes in the national grid. May Allah grant us His Guidance and bless us with Wisdom us in this endeavour, amin.

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me now to speak in Malay.

Sidang pemimpin masjid sekelian,

        Sebentar lagi kita akan menyaksikan pelantikan 174  relawan yang bakal memimpin 16  buah masjid  dalam Kelompok Barat  sebagai anggota Lembaga Pentadbir Masjid (LPM). Saya amat menghargai dan ucapkan tahniah atas iltizam anda untuk tampil ke hadapan berkhidmat kepada masyarakat Islam Singapura. Ia merupakan suatu tanggungjawab yang besar dan mulia. Dan ia juga merupakan suatu pengorbanan yang besar dari segi masa, tenaga, pemikiran dan keselesaan, untuk memikul amanah tersebut  dalam memakmurkan Rumah Allah.

2 Alhamdulilah, semenjak EMC diwujudkan pada 2008, ia telah menampakkan hasil yang amat baik dari segi mutu program serta khidmat oleh masjid-masjid kita. Perlaksanaan program masjid semakin berkesan dan diminati. Khidmat lebih teratur. Masjid-masjid lebih proaktif dalam usaha mendapatkan huraian isu-isu sosial dengan adanya rangkaian bersepadu dengan agensi-agensi nasional termasuk sekolah-sekolah, SSOs dan banyak lagi. Malahan, EMC telah menjadi pemangkin perubahan dalam lanskap sosio-agama sekaligus berjaya memupuk hala tuju strategik masjid-masjid kita.

3 Dengan kejayaan-kejayaan ini, jangkaan masyarakat terhadap masjid-masjid kita semakin meningkat. Juga terdapat semakin banyak permintaan untuk masjid-masjid kita bekerjasama dengan organisasi setempat dan agensi nasional. Lanskap sosial masyarakat Islam telah banyak berubah. Bersesuaian dengan perkembangan ini, kita perlu menyemak semula sempadan dan struktur kerja EMC demi memastikan ia terus berkembang dengan efektif sejajar dengan jangkaan yang semakin meningkat masyarakat, di peringkat kejiranan dan nasional.

4 Dalam semakan ini, sempadan bagi kelompok masjidtelah diubahsuai. Bermula 1 Mei ini, kelompok masjid akan terbahagi kepada empat, iaitu: Utara, Selatan, Timur dan Barat.Saya amat berharap kepimpinan masjid akan terus bekerjasama dalam kelompok-kelompok baru ini demi memastikan program dan khidmat di masjid-masjid akan terus rancak dan berkesan. Insya Allah.

Sidang hadirin sekelian,

5 Seperti yang dimaklumkan, 2018 merupakan tahun yang amat bermakna bagi Muis serta masyarakat Islam Singapura. Muis meraikan ulangtahunnya yang ke-50. Hakikatnya, kewujudan Muis adalah untuk memenuhi kesejahteran kehidupan beragama masyarakat. Kita telah sama-sama bergerak memberikan sumbangan dalam kehidupan bermasyarakat di peringkat nasional dan di persada global.

6 Untuk berkongi pencapaian dan kegembiraan ini dengan masyarakat, Muis akan menganjurkan Festival Masyarakat pada September ini sempena Ulangtahun Muis ke-50. Festival tiga hari ini akan berlangsung di Our Tampines Hub. Ia akan menampilkan pelbagai acara termasuk Forum Pendidik, Seminar Belia, Fiesta Keluarga Masjid, Bicara Mufti dan Konvensyen Masjid-Masjid 2018.

7 Konvensyen tersebut bertujuan melakar gagasan dan huraian-huraian transformatif dan segar bagi sektor masjid kita. Alhamdulilah, beberapa sesi perbincangan dengan warga kerja serta LPM masjid secara intensif telah diadakan sejak Oktober lalu. Saya pernah juga menyertai salah satu sesi tersebut dan amat kagum dengan semangat yang ditunjukkan oleh para pemimpin masjid kita dalam usaha melakar gagasan-baru yang bakal memberikan anjakan transformatif dalam kehidupan masyarakatkita. Antara gagasan strategik yang dapat kami rumuskan termasuk “Kelompok Satu Masjid”, “Masjid Untuk Semua” serta “Kolaborasi Yang Berkesan”.Sesi–sesi perbincangan ini masih diteruskan. Muis akan mengumpul segala pandangan yang disarankan. Kami akan kongsikan segala saranan bernas tersebutdalam konvensyen mendatang ini, Insya Allah.

8 Akhir sekali saya menyeru kepada seluruh kepimpinanan masjid agar terus berkhidmat dengan penuh kesungguhan, iltizam yang tinggi beserta semangat ikhlas, demi menjadikan masjid sebagai pusat transformasi untuk masyarakat Islam dan negara. Ia bukanlah suatu usaha yang mudah tapi terarah kepada kebaktian kita kepada Yang Maha Pencipta. Mudah-mudahan Allah SWT merahmati dan memberi petunjuk dalam segala urusan kita untuk memakmurkan rumah-Nya, Allahumma amin.

9 Sebagai penutup saya terpanggil untuk merakamkan penghargaan saya kepada Tuan-tuan dan Puan-puan sekalian melalui keindahan pantun kita:

           Indah sungguh kain pelikat

           Corak tersusun terang warnanya

           Mulia berbakti kepada masyarakat

           Selalu tersenyum berlimpah pahala

           Ikat tali berlipat – lipat

    Tali disimpan di dalam peti

     Kita berbakti untuk masyarakat

     Pasti Allah akan memberkati 


Sekian. Wabillahitaufiq Walhidayah, Wassalamualaikm Wr Wb



[1] The 3 tracks: Track 1 – Religious guidance for a diverse Muslims community in a multi-religious Singapore; Track 2 – Strengthening delivery of full time and part time Islamic education so as to build a generation of connected and contributing youth; and  Track 3 – Enhance the role of mosques to be community nodes for all ages.

Last updated on 23/4/2018