Joint Mendaki/Muis office to be set up by year's end

Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli (right) at the Yayasan Mendaki's 29th annual general meeting on June 9, 2018.
Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli (right) at the Yayasan Mendaki's 29th annual general meeting on June 9, 2018.ST PHOTO: ZULHILMI MOHD HASSAN

SINGAPORE - Self-help group Mendaki will set up a joint office with the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) by the end of this year (2018) as part of efforts for greater coordination between the two organisations.

The office will be located at Wisma Geylang Serai, said Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli on Saturday (June 9) on the sidelines of Yayasan Mendaki's 29th annual general meeting.

Yayasan Mendaki addresses the educational concerns of the Malay-Muslim community, while Muis focuses on religious issues.

Mr Masagos, who is also Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, said Mendaki and Muis have existing collaborations, noting that Mendaki had set up centres in some of the mosques here.

"However, how this is done now is opportunistic and not coordinated," he said, adding that there was a need for greater synergy between the two.

Muis, for example, could tap on Mendaki's database of about 10,000 students who receive tuition from the self-help group to reach out to potential beneficiaries of zakat - the annual tithe paid by Muslims to the needy.

"A simple handshake between the two organisations would help create more impact (for beneficiaries)," Mr Masagos said.

The joint office, which would be manned by staff from both Mendaki and Muis, would also strengthen Wisma Geylang Serai's position as a hub for Malay-Muslim organisations here, he added.

In Parliament last month (May), Mr Masagos said the collective strength of three key Malay-Muslim organisations - Muis, Mendaki and the Malay Activity Executive Committees Council - had to be built up to tackle the challenges facing the community.