Singapore—At an hour-long session with members of the Malay community, Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs and Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli expressed appreciation that the big picture of Singapore’s future and well-being, as well as everyday issues, were given attention to and discussed.
Mr Masagos, along with Saktiandi Supaat, an MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, met with Malay community leaders, volunteers and youth for a dialogue on September 8, Sunday.
The topics discussed included ones that are pertinent on a national level—such as the environment and climate change, pre-schools and the economy.
According to the Straits Times (ST) Mr Masagos was happy at the wide scope of the discussion.
”I think this is a great sign, a good sign that our leaders in our community are able to articulate and be more concerned about longer-term issues that are as important as the bread and butter issues that we face.
The dialogue was attended by over 200 leaders, youths and volunteers from the Malay community, and was held at the Devan Nair Institute for Employment and Employability in Jurong East. It was organised by the People’s Association Malay Activity Executive Committees Council (Mesra), Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) and self-help group Yayasan Mendaki, and was the final one of three post-National Day Rally dialogues.
The Minister for the Environment and Water Resources began the dialogue with reminding attendees of three main points from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s National Day Rally Speech on August 18th— getting ready for climate change, forging a Singaporean identity, and searching for opportunities in troubled times.
He connected the issue of climate change with Islamic principles about waste minimisation, reminding the audience of how much waste each person is responsible for.
PM Lee said in his address, “Although Singapore may not be able to stop climate change by ourselves, we can contribute solutions, and we must do our fair share. Then we can be credible asking others to reduce their emissions too, and work towards a global solution to climate change.
Unfortunately, such a global solution is still very far off, so we must work for the best, but be prepared for the worst.”
As for identity, Mr Masagos talked about how the Malay community in the country is distinct from Malay communities in other countries such as Indonesia, or even in Malaysia itself.
But the Malay community in the country is set apart in its Singaporean identity.
“After 200 years of the coming of Raffles, and more than 50 years of our independence, we have found our own identity. And we know the interests of Singapore should be our focus and centre of everything that we do.”
In his speech in Malay on August 18th, PM Lee had said, “Your cultural and historical ties with our neighbouring countries enabled Singaporeans to understand and get along with the peoples of these countries. At the same time, your influence on Singapore society helped shape our national identity as a multiracial country in South-east Asia.”/ TISG
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