Integration champions lauded at awards night

From left: People's Association (PA) chief executive director Desmond Tan, PA Integration Council adviser Fatimah Lateef, PA Integration Council chairman Goh Peng Hong, Ms Grace Fu, PA Integration Council adviser David Tay and Madam Rokiah Bee Mohame
From left: People's Association (PA) chief executive director Desmond Tan, PA Integration Council adviser Fatimah Lateef, PA Integration Council chairman Goh Peng Hong, Ms Grace Fu, PA Integration Council adviser David Tay and Madam Rokiah Bee Mohamed from Paya Lebar IN Committee.PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN

When grassroots volunteer Perumal Moorthy heard that a family of four wanted to return to India because the family's sole breadwinner and father of two had been retrenched, he stepped in to help.

He referred him to the Community Development Council and 10 years on, the man now has a stable job as a lift technician. The Singapore permanent resident is now looking to apply for Singapore citizenship.

"It is stories like this that make me want to continue serving as an Integration and Naturalisation Champion (INC), to make Singapore a second home for new immigrants," said Mr Moorthy, 49, who himself came to Singapore from India in 1993 and is now a citizen.

The engineer is from one of the 20 Integration and Naturalisation (IN) Committees recognised at the third annual INClusive Awards and Appreciation Nite held at the Orchid Country Club yesterday. The event was attended by more than 700 INCs, grassroots leaders and representatives from immigrant associations.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of INCs, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu launched a commemorative book, which compiled stories from 15 INCs who have worked hard to champion integration in the local community.

"We have seen how fault lines in other societies are causing political and economic upheavals... In this respect, we must continue to build positive local-foreigner relationships," said Ms Fu, who was guest of honour at the event.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 15, 2017, with the headline 'Integration champions lauded at awards night'. Print Edition | Subscribe