You would remember that in March this year, Minister-in-charge for Muslim Affairs Dr Yaacob Ibrahim shared how the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS), MENDAKI and the mosques were collaborating to bring social assistance to the community through MENDAKI@Heartland, as well as educating low-wage workers on training schemes and their employment rights through working with the NTUC’s U Care Centre (UCC).
On 23 June 2015, Dr Yaacob attended a Iftar (Breaking of fast) event organised by the UCC for 300 low-wage workers and their families, more programmes were announced by Dr Yaacob to benefit more low-wage Malay-Muslim families, which means that more low-income families in the Malay community will be able to receive help to progress.
So let’s ask, why does this slew of programmes seem to only benefit the Malay community?
The reason is simple: The constitution of Singapore provides for it.
“The Government shall exercise its functions in such manner as to recognize the special position of the Malays, who are the indigenous people of Singapore, and accordingly it shall be the responsibility of the Government to protect, safeguard, support, foster and promote their political, educational, religious, economic, social and cultural interests and the Malay language.”
– Article 152 (2), Constitution of the Republic of Singapore.
And since Singapore’s independence in 1965, special provisions such as the following have been made to support the Malay community in Singapore:
1.) Tertiary Tuition Fee Subsidy
The Tertiary Tuition Fee Subsidy (TTFS) scheme, was introduced in 1991 to subsidise the tuition fees of Malay students at their tertiary institutions.
The income criteria is based on a three-tier system where students who come from households with per capita monthly household income (PCI) of below $1,500 will be eligible for TTFS subsidies.
2.) Land for Mosques
To ensure Muslims have modern mosques over the years, land for mosques have been allotted without tender and the land price set at affordable rates.
These are all efforts to help not just Malay-Muslim low-wage families progress, but actually, low-wage workers of all races and their families advance into the future, with better prospects and living standards.
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