Stronger inter-agency links will deliver more support: Masagos

Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli emphasised the importance of upstream work and early intervention so that potential problems can be identified.
Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli emphasised the importance of upstream work and early intervention so that potential problems can be identified.PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN

Minister says collaboration can deliver integrated support, urges community to also help the vulnerable

Better coordination across agencies will deliver more support to vulnerable families, said Mr Masagos Zulkifli yesterday.

The Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs told a seminar at the Carlton Hotel that strong families are the building blocks of a successful community.

He added that agencies must leverage one another's efforts, and work across agency lines, to deliver help in an integrated manner.

Mr Masagos cited the M³ joint office - comprising the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore, self-help group Mendaki, and the People's Association Malay Activity Executive Committees Council - which began operations last month.

The office provides a place where the Malay/Muslim community can get the help and services offered by the three agencies under one roof, while serving as a centre of collaboration with other community organisations, he said.

The need for collaboration was also underlined by Dr Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Senior Parliamentary Secretary at the Ministry of Social and Family Development.

He spoke at the event about the need for agencies to work in tandem when helping at-risk families facing complex challenges address their issues.

The event was attended by about 250 representatives from Malay/Muslim organisations, voluntary welfare groups and government bodies.

Mr Masagos also emphasised the importance of upstream work and early intervention so that potential problems can be identified before they arise, and families can be set "on a virtuous cycle".

SOCIETY HAS A PART TO PLAY

Supporting the vulnerable among us requires a whole-of-society approach. We need the community and every Singaporean to play their part, looking out for one another, sharing resources, and offering their time and skills to help the less privileged amongst us.

MR MASAGOS ZULKIFLI, Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs

He pointed to Inspirasi hubs, where marriage preparation and enrichment services are run by the Singapore Muslim Women's Association and the AMP.

The two groups support couples who marry young and start their marriage with limited resources, by referring them to help schemes, and childcare and employment assistance.

Other programmes that help these young couples include support groups and workshops on planning for home ownership, and skills training to generate income.

 
 

Mr Masagos said families that require the most support are those that face multiple issues at major life transitions, such as marriage, parenthood and caring for the elderly.

"These challenges are compounded when families do not have a stable income, or experience abuse, addictions or poor health. Such social issues are complex and multi-faceted," he added.

Mr Masagos also urged everyone in the community to play a part in helping individuals or families in need. "Supporting the vulnerable among us requires a whole-of-society approach.

"We need the community and every Singaporean to play their part, looking out for one another, sharing resources, and offering their time and skills to help the less privileged amongst us."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 22, 2019, with the headline 'Stronger inter-agency links will deliver more support: Masagos'. Print Edition | Subscribe