New Mendaki satellite centre in the west to be set up by next year

President Tony Tan Keng Yam (left) and Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Dr Yaacob Ibrahim (right) interacting with Mendaki beneficiaries at a Mendaki satellite centre in Pasir Ris on April 26, 2016.
President Tony Tan Keng Yam (left) and Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Dr Yaacob Ibrahim (right) interacting with Mendaki beneficiaries at a Mendaki satellite centre in Pasir Ris on April 26, 2016.ST PHOTO: RACHEL CHIA
Dr Yaacob Ibrahim (right) visiting the Mendaki satellite centre at Pasir Ris with President Tony Tan Keng Yam (second from right) on April 26, 2016.
Dr Yaacob Ibrahim (right) visiting the Mendaki satellite centre at Pasir Ris with President Tony Tan Keng Yam (second from right) on April 26, 2016.PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN

SINGAPORE - A new Yayasan Mendaki satellite centre is due to be set up by next year, taking the total number of such centres here to seven, Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Dr Yaacob Ibrahim said on Tuesday (April 26).

He made the announcement during a visit to the Mendaki satellite centre at Pasir Ris with President Tony Tan Keng Yam .

Dr Yaacob added that the West Coast and Boon Lay areas are being considered as locations for the new centre, as these areas have higher proportion of low-income Malays, who can benefit most from the programmes available.

Of the six existing Mendaki satellite centres, two - in Pasir Ris and Woodlands - are larger and housed in a void deck and community centre respectively, while the remaining four are in mosques.

These centres employ between two and four permanent staff, who reach out to the surrounding community and link families in need to Mendaki programmes such as tuition, job placement and financial support for education, such as bursaries.

Last year, about 15,000 individuals used Mendaki services, a spokesman said.

Elaborating on the planned new centre, Mr Yaacob said: "We want to base it in the heartlands, within the void deck space, so it can work with local grassroots organisations... that's important because for beneficiaries to travel from the West Coast all the way to Mendaki Headquarters can be quite a challenge,and sometimes they may even want to give up."

He added that the new centre, which is expected to be completed by the start of next year, will be modelled on the Pasir Ris centre as it is "well run, well utilised" and has effective community outreach.

It was one of the first two such satellite centres to be set up in 2013.

chiaytr@sph.com.sg