New centre to be 'the pulse of the Malay community'

The five-storey, 6,700 sq m Wisma Geylang Serai (above) is currently 95 per cent complete. It sits on a site that is the size of a football field and designed with potential for connection with the neighbouring areas.
The five-storey, 6,700 sq m Wisma Geylang Serai (above) is currently 95 per cent complete. It sits on a site that is the size of a football field and designed with potential for connection with the neighbouring areas.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

In three months' time, residents of Geylang Serai will have a one-stop community and civic centre offering facilities for the young and old, including arts and cultural spaces.

The Straits Times was given a sneak preview of the five-storey, 6,700 sq m Wisma Geylang Serai yesterday.

Currently 95 per cent complete, it will house facilities such as the new Geylang Serai Community Club, South East Community Development Council office, Ministry of Health Senior Care Centre and Ministry of Social and Family Development Childcare Centre and Family Service Centre.

The arts and cultural spaces will include a Malay Heritage Gallery.

Mayor of South East District, Dr Maliki Osman, who is overseeing the project, said: "The civic centre was meant for government agencies to come together to integrate certain services for the community.

"At the same time, to ensure that we have a space that envisions to be the hub for the Malay community, to be the pulse of the Malay community, where the heritage of Geylang Serai can be understood by Singaporeans."

Dr Maliki said the centre will also house an "integrated Malay-Muslim organisations hub", offering services ranging from scholarships and tuition matters to counselling and legal services.

He also announced the formation of an advisory committee to provide guidance on programmes and key events.

During a tour of the centre - which is built on a site about the size of a football field - deputy chairman of the People's Association, Mr Chan Chun Sing, said: "This is truly an integrated complex, it is not a standalone complex where it is isolated from the rest of the community.

"It has been designed with potential for connection with all the neighbouring areas and neighbouring developments that are upcoming so Dr Maliki and (his) team have put a lot of thought into this."

Resident Syed Alwi, 24, said the centre will be a good place to spend time with friends: "I usually hang out at OneKM (shopping mall), but once this centre is opened, it will be closer and I will have activities to try out too."

Ms Nurhayati Darman, 36, hopes that the centre will be able to provide employment counselling opportunities.

"Right now I work part-time at a pharmacy, so if they can help me look for any job, I will try it," she said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 10, 2018, with the headline 'New centre to be 'the pulse of the Malay community''. Print Edition | Subscribe