President advises families to seek help early

President Halimah Yacob interacting with lorry crane operator Mohammad Faizal Abdul Kadir, 37, and his wife, admin assistant Zareeda Mosah, 36, at AMP Singapore's office at Pasir Ris East Community Building yesterday. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
President Halimah Yacob interacting with lorry crane operator Mohammad Faizal Abdul Kadir, 37, and his wife, admin assistant Zareeda Mosah, 36, at AMP Singapore's office at Pasir Ris East Community Building yesterday.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Despite the new challenges brought about by Covid-19, the future is not all doom and gloom, with support available for those requiring help. President Halimah Yacob shared this message, and her concerns for families with financial woes who are unaware of benefits and subsidies, during her visit to non-profit group AMP Singapore's office at Pasir Ris East Community Building yesterday.

She said: "I can see that families are under a lot of stress. Today, families face a lot of challenges. There're a lot of concerns because our society is evolving so rapidly.

"And then of course, there are new challenges and new concerns that they have to deal with. Then on top of all that, we are right in the midst of Covid-19. There are also concerns of loss of income, jobs and livelihood. So that exacerbates the whole situation. Therefore, it's very important that there's enough help being provided."

She advised families facing difficulties servicing their loans to "seek help early".

With a focus on the Muslim community, AMP, formerly known as the Association of Muslim Professionals, provides support to families, debtors, micro-business owners, students, youth and professionals. As part of its Debt Advisory Centre, AMP helps 140 clients facing problems by providing them with advice and information on how best to pay back their loans.

It also helps another 60 families who are part of its Adopt A Family and Youth Scheme, where donors sponsor underprivileged families in the interim, while a case worker helps them to upskill, find employment or tap subsidies and bursaries for the children's education.

During her visit, Madam Halimah met beneficiaries of AMP who had overcome adversities with the association's help.

One of them was document controller Simah Mohamed, 51, who received support to pay back her debts and cut ties with unlicensed moneylenders. The mother of two had turned to AMP in January 2018 after her debt snowballed. Now, she attends support group meetings to encourage others. "Be strong enough to voice out your problems, there will always be help," she said.

 
 
 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 21, 2020, with the headline 'President advises families to seek help early'. Print Edition | Subscribe