SINGAPORE - Organisations like Berita Harian and Mendaki have been integral to improving the Malay/Muslim community’s well-being at all levels, said Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong on Thursday.
He said at the Berita Harian Achiever of the Year Awards that many Malay/Muslim organisations have been working closely with the Government to support and uplift the community, putting in practice the idea of mutual support.
This has helped the Malay/Muslim community to continue to progress, whether in school or business, he added.
“This idea of mutual support, by helping one another to progress and succeed, is not new,” he said, adding that Singapore has put this idea at the heart of its approach to help every Singaporean pursue excellence and success.
“In the last 10 years, we have seen a significant increase in the number of Malays among the top 10 per cent of scorers in national exams. We have also seen a substantial increase in Malay graduates at our autonomous universities.”
DPM Wong, who is learning Malay, spoke briefly in the language before transitioning to English.
He said SPH Media’s Malay title Berita Harian, which turns 65 in 2022, has established itself as a well-respected institution which has promoted both the community’s well-being and Malay language and culture.
He said Berita Harian partnered with local asatizahs (religious teachers) to produce socio-religious content on its social media platforms when in-person gatherings at mosques and other places of worship were suspended in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
It also recently collaborated with Mendaki to launch a portal offering free educational content for primary school pupils, he noted.
“Good education outcomes lead to better jobs and opportunities,” he said. “And this is also the reason why we are also seeing the incomes of Malay households increase steadily over the years.”
DPM Wong was speaking at the Four Seasons Hotel, where three Malay/Muslim individuals who have excelled in their fields received Berita Harian’s Achiever of the Year Awards.
They are Mr Mohamed Noor Mohamed Yusofe, 85, who received the Lifetime Achiever of the Year award for his 40-year illustrious career in music; Associate Professor Hadijah Rahmat, 64, who was awarded the Achiever of the Year award for her literary work and contributions to bilingual educational policy; and “hawkerpreneur” Lee Syafiq Ridzuan Lee, 30, who was named the Young Achiever of the Year.
DPM Wong also lauded groups such as Mendaki, which helps children from lower-income families, AMP Singapore, which develops Muslim professionals, and the Singapore Malay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which nurtures enterprises, for their efforts.
He said he hoped awards such as the Berita Harian achiever awards can inspire more Malay/Muslims to strive for success and excellence in their respective fields, while making sure those who are able to, give back to the community by helping and mentoring others.
“We all have valuable life experiences to share, skills to impart, and the privilege of being able to open doors and create more opportunities for others... If we continue to do this, I am confident that the Malay/Muslim community will continue to thrive and excel in the years ahead.”