SINGAPORE - The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) will be headed by a new chief executive and a new senior management team from next month.
Mr Esa Masood, 39, currently the council's deputy chief, will take over from Mr Abdul Razak Hassan Maricar, 64, on Jan 1.
Muis is the statutory board that looks after the administration and interests of Singapore's Muslim community.
Mr Abdul Razak is retiring after 43 years in the public service, the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) said in a statement on Monday (Dec 3).
He began his public service work in social work before moving on to Muslim community matters, holding appointments in the Syariah Court and the Community Relations Unit for the then Ministry of Community Development and Sports. He joined Muis as secretary in 2007.
In a separate statement on Monday, Muis said Mr Abdul Razak has prepared his team for the leadership transition.
Said Mr Abdul Razak: "Over the years, Muis has stabilised and strengthened its processes and programmes, and established strong relationships with its partners, stakeholders and the community.
"For this to continue, Muis needs to maintain a strong team, recruiting new talent at all levels in the organisation. I have confidence in my staff, in particular the management team which Muis has built over time."
The MCCY said that during his time in Muis, Mr Abdul Razak oversaw many key Muslim initiatives, including legislative amendments to the Administration of Muslim Law Act and the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Rules in 1999.
Mr Esa - a Muslim of Malay and Chinese family background who joined Muis late last year - expressed his gratitude to Mr Abdul Razak for his guidance.
"I have been very fortunate to have benefited from the mentorship of Haji Abdul Razak and his wealth of experience during my time in Muis, and I also benefited from Mufti and the Muis Senior Management," he said.
"We will continue to work together with the Muslim community, through our various platforms, to strengthen the community's religious life. We also hope to further strengthen ties with other faith communities as part of a multiracial and multicultural Singapore that we hold very dear to us."
In a Facebook post on Monday, Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli congratulated Mr Esa, saying that he was “sharp, but humble and open to ideas”.
“I am confident that he, together with his team of dedicated colleagues, will bring Muis to greater heights in fulfilling the socio-religious needs of our Muslim community and strengthening Singapore’s social cohesion,” Mr Masagos said.
In his post, Mr Masagos also thanked Mr Abdul Razak for his public service.
“My deepest appreciation goes to Haji Abdul Razak Maricar for his significant contributions to Muis, especially in the last five years as Chief Executive. Haji Razak is a veteran in serving the Malay/Muslim community and the nation,” he said.