Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli paid tribute to four departing Malay/ Muslim Members of Parliament yesterday, saying they had each made invaluable contributions to the community.
Former minister for communications and information Yaacob Ibrahim, 64; Dr Intan Azura Mokhtar, 43; Associate Professor Fatimah Lateef, 54; and Mr Zainal Sapari, 54, are not standing in the upcoming general election.
In a Facebook post, Mr Masagos lauded the "strong leadership, guidance and support" of the Malay/Muslim MPs, which contributed to the effective implementation of policies and community projects.
"Our Malay/Muslim MPs have always remained dedicated and steadfast in the commitment towards the betterment of our community," he wrote.
Dr Yaacob, who entered politics in 1997, served as the Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs for 16 years from 2002 to 2018.
In his tribute to Dr Yaacob, Minister Masagos said that "his leadership was pivotal in Singapore maintaining her racial and religious harmony as Muslims globally were subjected to criticism in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of Sept 11, 2001".
"It was a time of anxiety and uncertainty for the local Malay/ Muslim community but we faced it courageously and continued to soar under his firm leadership."
Mr Masagos also praised Dr Intan for speaking up on education and development of asatizah (religious teachers), and for the underprivileged and marginalised; Prof Fatimah for her committed support of her constituents in Geylang and championing women's issues; and Mr Zainal for his focus on helping members of the Malay/Muslim community upskill so they can enjoy better career mobility and prospects.
Speaking to reporters yesterday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong also thanked Dr Yaacob for his contributions, saying he had raised matters of concern to the Malay community, including terrorism and religion.
"These are not easy matters ever and they are particularly not easy matters for a person who is a minority or a Malay to take a stand and express his views and persuade people that this is the right way to go for Malays, for Singapore and for our solidarity as a nation," said PM Lee.
On Monday, PM Lee had also spoken about the PAP's new slate of Malay candidates, describing them as role models. There are six of them: Dr Wan Rizal Wan Zakariah, 42; Ms Nadia Ahmad Samdin, 30; Mr Sharael Taha, 39; Mr Mohd Fahmi Aliman, 48; Ms Mariam Jaafar, 43; and Mr Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim, 39.