Minister for Communications and Information, Minister-in-charge of Cyber Security and Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim
Chief Executive Muis, Hj Abdul Razak Maricar
Sohibus Samahah Mufti of Singapore, Dr Mohamed Fatris Bakaram
Respected Mudirs & Mudirahs of our Madrasahs,
Ladies & Gentlemen, Students
Assalamu’alaikum wr wb
1. I am happy that we are able to gather today to celebrate the achievements of our students.
2. This year, a total of 514 students from all six madrasahs will receive Madrasah Student Awards, an increase of 21 students (4%) from last year. These include the 140 students who will receive more than one award today, in this auditorium. We hope your achievements will inspire others to continue scaling peaks of excellence as they develop into future leaders of the community
3. These Awards are made possible through the Government-Muis Assistance Scheme, introduced last year to strengthen the madrasah sector. The Awards are given to top students in Secular as well as Religious stubjects, as well as those showing good progress.
4. In addition to recognising your good achievements, these awards also signal the importance we attach to the pursuit of knowledge both in the secular and the religious fields.
5. As the issues faced by the community become increasingly complex, our students will need the breadth of knowledge to better grapple with complex challenges of the future. For example, our Ulama in Singapore have needed a sound understanding not just of religious sciences, but also medical and technological advances in developing Fatwa, or religious opinions, to guide the community in areas of Organ Transplant, acceptability of certain medicines and vaccines, etc.
6. With technological and biomedical advances continuing to accelerate, your generation will be faced with even more complex issues, and hence a broad and deep understanding of both secular and religious disciplines will be even more important.
LEARNING BEYOND THE CLASSROOM
7. Beyond academic learning in the classrooms, it is also important that, as students, you are able to harness the learning opportunities outside the classrooms. Participation in co-curricular programmes and community service activities will develop you holistically and hopefully, allow you to discover ways to make a difference to society. Such experiences will hone your leadership skills and enable you to grow as individuals who are grounded in the faith, well-adjusted to the realities of our society and able to confidently engage their peers and the larger Singapore community. I am glad that in the past year, there have been more such activties. For example, in 2017, Madrasah Al-Arabiah conducted a humanitarian project in Cambodia by offering humanitarian aid through a food distribution programme as well as constructing washing facilities for villagers for hygeine improvement. They also spent time interacting with Cambodian secondary and tertiary students, discussing challenges and issues facing muslims and conducted oral hygiene education for cambodian primary students.
PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE
8. Going forward, the Madrasahs are an important institution for us to continue to preserve. Muis is committed towards supporting all Madrasahs in having more developmental programmes for our students. This will continue to be done in a few ways, such as grants to improve the teaching of religious and secular subjects, as well as improving the range of programmes to support learning outslide the classroom as well as the emotional well-being of our students.
9. Importantly, being in a multi-cultural and multi-religious society, we also want our Madrasah students to have a good appreciation of the diverse society that we live in, and at the same time have a sense of togetherness with fellow Singaporeans. This is important so that you will be confident to be good ambassadors when interacting with Singaporeans from other backgrounds, and help in prompting a positive image of Islam.
10. Having a good understanding of the Singapore context, coupled with strong foundation in secular and religious disciplines, is essential for you in the future - either as Asatizah, or as leaders in the community, or in other fields that you may aspire - to overcome the challenges that lie ahead, as well as find new opportunities to harness. Many of our former Madrasah students exemplify these virtues and continue to be role models that we can be proud of.
11. As a final note, to all our award winners today, it is indeed a proud moment for you. At the same time, do remember that your achievements will not be possible without the support of your parents, your teachers, your friends as well as not forgetting the abundance and blessings that Allah has bestowed upon us.
12. Once again, my sincere congratulations to all recipients today. I hope that these awards will not be an end, but a new starting point for you to strive for even greater heights, to become the best that you can be.
13. May Allah continue to help us in our quest for knowledge, in strengthening our character and values, and in applying ourselves in His service, for the betterment of those around us. Amin.
Wabillahit Taufiq Walhidayah, Wasalamu’alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabaarakatuh.