Malay/Muslim community to raise funds and spur youth to solve problems for SG50 effort

SINGAPORE - To mark Singapore's 50th birthday, the Malay/Muslim community will be spearheading a series of programmes this year called SG50Kita, meant to get Malays and Muslims here involved in SG50 celebrations while also reaching out to other communities.

'Kita' in Malay means 'us', and is notably the second word of the Singapore national anthem, Majulah Singapura.

Among the upcoming activities is Kita X, a four-month long programme starting in March, in which around 100 young people will be developing solutions to the problems of a Singapore 50 years in the future.

The youth, aged between 18 and 30, will be coming up with ideas in areas such as science and technology, religion and spirituality, and media and art. The groups with the best five solutions will receive about $5,000 in funding, and may even have their ideas pitched to policy-making bodies.

SG50Kita will also be raising funds for the Yusof Ishak Professorship in Social Sciences at National University of Singapore. The committee has already raised nearly $559,000 in this effort, and aims to raise $6 million - including a matching grant from the Government - by the end of the year.

Various Malay/Muslim organisations will also join in a week of community service projects in June, during the fasting month of Ramadan.

These will include an islandwide distribution of 'bubur', a porridge given out during Ramadan, from the 68 mosques here. Muslim families will also be encouraged to cook extra portions of bubur and share them with non-Muslim neighbours.

Other initiatives include the creation of a clay wall mural at the Malay Heritage Centre, and projects to do home makeovers and supply essentials to underprivileged families around Singapore.

Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Dr Yaacob Ibrahim said he welcomed the SG50 Kita efforts. "I think the word 'kita' is very useful as it shows inclusiveness, not just with the Malay/Muslim community but with the wider community of Singapore," he said.

Dr Yaacob, who is also Communications and Information Minister added: "But it is an effort spearheaded by the Malay/Muslim community here, and we should be proud of that."

oliviaho@sph.com.sg