SINGAPORE: Malay-Muslims will get more say in Singapore's policy-making, in line with the Government's overall strategy for the future, said Mr Masagos Zulkifli in a media interview pertaining to issues to do with the community on Tuesday (Dec 17).
Ciptasama@M3, or Co-creation@M3, is the name of a new programme to encourage the community to participate in policy-making. It will be launched next year, led by Minister of State for Manpower and National Development Zaqy Mohamad.
The programme will be part of the M-Cube initiative, which comprises MENDAKI, MESRA and MUIS. Focus areas include responding to marital problems, providing support for families of former prisoners and mentoring youths.
“Towards the first quarter, next year, we will launch Ciptasama@M3. This is an effort to get our community involved in co-creation and participation of policies going forward,” said Mr Masagos.
"Going forward, we cannot always expect … that the Government has the wisdom, monopoly of wisdom in everything. We really ought to discuss together and understand the trade-offs and then, with those trade-offs, formulate policies together,” he added.
MUSLIM COMMUNITY DOING WELL: MASAGOS
Singapore’s Muslims are doing well, the minister noted.
He cited the recent Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), highlighting how Malay students in Singapore have outperformed their peers in other countries in Mathematics, and are now on par with them in reading and science.
Singaporean Muslims also possess a sense of citizenry - an area that Mr Masagos said many Muslim minorities in other countries are “always grappling with”, and in which problems may arise due to different interpretations of the religion.
This is why those who graduate from overseas Islamic studies programmes are required to take an additional one-year course if they want to teach the religion in Singapore. The course helps them apply concepts to the local, multicultural context.
However, some teachers have given feedback that the course delays their careers. Mr Masagos said the issue is being looked into.
“We will make sure that as much as possible, it does not disrupt and prevent them from earning, from teaching but they must complete this before they can be properly qualified,” said Mr Masagos. “We’re … seeing how this will be done for them. I think the detail of this will be shared, but we have heard their feedback and we will try to address these issues."
Mr Masagos also stressed the need for strong cooperation across M-Cube to deal with future challenges such as extremism.
M-Cube volunteers and partners currently operate in eight towns. A forum will be held in February to help them share best practices and collaborate.
In the interview, Mr Masagos also spoke of new Malay leaders identified by the People's Action Party to contest in the next General Election.
“Many of them are on the ground,” he said, but added that the party is keeping its options open.