Mendaki, Muis, Mesra open joint office for collaborative support

(Standing from left) Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli, Minister of State for National Development and Manpower Zaqy Mohamad, MUIS chief executive Esa Masood and Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs Maliki Osma
(Standing from left) Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli, Minister of State for National Development and Manpower Zaqy Mohamad, MUIS chief executive Esa Masood and Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs Maliki Osman with pre-schoolers who are part of a Mendaki reading programme. Mr Masagos, who launched the joint office at Wisma Geylang Serai, said "the most important thing is that the public are not pushed from door to door".ST PHOTO: KHALID BABA

As part of efforts for greater coordination, Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli launched yesterday a joint office in Wisma Geylang Serai that will facilitate support given to the community by three key Malay/Muslim organisations.

Popularly known as M³, it is made up of self-help group Mendaki, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) and the People's Association Malay Activity Executive Committees Council (Mesra).

The M³ initiative aims to allow the three organisations, housed under one roof, to collaborate with each other and with other government agencies to improve support for the community.

At the launch, Mr Masagos said: "The most important thing is that the public are not pushed from door to door when they come here. We believe there is no wrong door policy. Staff of each organisation have been briefed that they will own the clients until the clients find the help that they need."

The idea was first mooted by Mr Masagos, who is also Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, at his inaugural Minister's Hari Raya gathering last year. It was also highlighted by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at last year's National Day Rally when he noted the Government's aim to combine the resources and volunteers of the various agencies.

In its first collaboration in September last year, the initiative rolled out a free educational programme to help students with mathematics skills, encourage creativity and strengthen family bonds.

While the new joint office is run by Muis and Mendaki, Mesra will be involved in coordinating support and programmes for the community under the initiative.

 
 

All three also aim to extend its outreach to the heartland.

This is Muis' first external office, while Mendaki has several centres across the island.

The joint office will also work with eight Malay-Muslim organisations, including the Association of Muslim Professionals, the Singapore Islamic Scholars and Religious Teachers Association (Pergas) and Berita Harian newspaper.

They will be housed in Wisma Geylang Serai under a one-stop service centre called Kurnia@WGS.

Muis volunteer Siti Khatijah Haron, 39, looks forward to the collaborative efforts. "The joint initiative makes it easier for volunteers to refer a beneficiary who needs various services under different organisations to a suitable agency."

Starting yesterday and continuing until tomorrow, the cultural and community hub Wisma Geylang Serai is celebrating its opening by hosting a festival called Geylang Serai: Past, Present, Future to showcase the Malay community's arts, culture and lifestyle. There will also be outdoor multimedia displays, festive bazaars and fireworks.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 26, 2019, with the headline 'Mendaki, Muis, Mesra open joint office for collaborative support'. Print Edition | Subscribe