Mendaki and Muis to set up joint office

(From left) Mendaki chief executive Rahayu Buang, Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli and Mendaki deputy director of finance Nizar Mustafa at yesterday's media conference.
(From left) Mendaki chief executive Rahayu Buang, Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli and Mendaki deputy director of finance Nizar Mustafa at yesterday's media conference.PHOTO: MENDAKI

Move will improve coordination between the two Malay-Muslim organisations: Masagos

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

The office will be at Wisma Geylang Serai - the new Malay-Muslim social, cultural and heritage hub which opened earlier this month - said Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli yesterday 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 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.

Collaboration between the two organisations would help create more impact for beneficiaries, said Mr Masagos, who was appointed chairman of Mendaki last month.

The joint office - to 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.

Collaboration between the two organisations would help create more impact for beneficiaries, said Mr Masagos, who was appointed chairman of Mendaki last month.

The joint office - to 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, Mr Masagos said the collective strength of three key Malay-Muslim organisations - Muis, Mendaki and the Malay Activity Executive Committees Council (Mesra) - had to be built up to tackle the challenges facing the Malay-Muslim community.

Mendaki, which celebrated its 35th anniversary last year, saw an income of $42 million last year, an increase of more than $5 million from the previous year.

The bulk of this amount - $30 million - came from funding and grants from the Government.

Even as the Mendaki Tertiary Tuition Fee Subsidy scheme - which subsidises the cost of higher education for Malay students - was revised this year to allow more to qualify, financial prudence must be exercised, said Mr Masagos.

"This is so that when we carry out our programmes, and expand them in the future, we do so in the most cost-effective way," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 10, 2018, with the headline 'Mendaki and Muis to set up joint office'. Print Edition | Subscribe