Needy families receive financial aid in the spirit of Ramadan

SINGAPORE - Some 575 needy families received more than $209,000 in cash and vouchers on Sunday (June 4 ) from the Muslim Converts' Association of Singapore (MCAS), in the spirit of Ramadan.

Each family received $255 from zakat, an annual tithe given by Muslims to the needy, as well as $110 in FairPrice vouchers and a sponsored goodie bag containing meat and other food items.

Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob presented the financial aid to the poor, elderly and chronically ill at the association in Geylang Serai.

The MCAC, also known as Darul Arqam Singapore, is a non-profit organisation set up to oversee the welfare, religious guidance and problems of new converts.

The annual disbursement aids those in need during the fasting month, and helps them to prepare for upcoming Hari Raya celebrations. Of the recipients, about a fifth are converts to Islam, while the rest are Muslim-born.

In a speech at the ceremony, Madam Halimah said: "We have so many organisations and individuals who are involved in the collection and distribution of zakat, and thus, many more people who need assistance can be helped.

The last time I was here more than a decade ago, there were slightly less than 200 recipients receiving a total of $30,000. In contrast, this year's disbursement will see almost 600 people receiving over $200,000 in cash and vouchers. It says a lot about the generosity of Singapore Muslims and the effort taken by Darul Arqam to help more Singaporeans."

First-time beneficiary Nur Ain Peng Abdullah, 43, said that the money will go a long way, as her three children mainly on her income as a patient service associate at Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

"This will help a lot with household expenses, and pocket money and Hari Raya clothes for the children," she said.