SINGAPORE: A one-stop service centre bringing together eight different Malay-Muslim organisations offering a gamut of services such as childcare and senior care, was launched on Saturday (Jan 26).
The Kurnia@WGS service centre will allow residents to access a variety of programmes and facilities under one roof at Wisma Geylang Serai, a social and cultural heritage hub located at 1 Engku Aman Turn.
The service centre houses Malay-Muslim organisations such as the Association of Muslim Professionals, Muhammadiyah and the Creative Malay Arts and Culture.
It was launched at Wisma Geylang Serai’s official opening by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who first mooted the idea of transforming the area in 2011.
GEYLANG SERAI NO LONGER AN ENCLAVE
Speaking at the opening of the heritage hub, Mr Lee said Geylang Serai was no longer an enclave, but had become a well-integrated community that reflects Singapore’s multi-racial and multi-religious society.
He said that although other races had moved in, it retained its cultural uniqueness and identity.
“Wisma Geylang Serai was conceived in this spirit not just to be a symbol of heritage and nostalgia for the Malay community, but to be a vibrant centre which reflects the diverse interests and continuing progress of Singapore’s Malays,” said Mr Lee. “At the same time, (it is) a venue where all races and religions are welcome, and are interested to visit.”
Mr Lee added that with the hub completed, Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs Maliki Osman will engage with the community to develop Geylang Serai further.
Mr Maliki said a key factor behind the concept of the hub was to ensure relevance and sustainability while adapting to the needs of the community.
“Our goal is to develop and deliver traditional and signature programmes that will bridge and bond the Malay-Muslim community and the larger non-Malay-Muslim community,” said Mr Maliki.
Some of those programmes will come in the form of new facilities such as the PPIS Family Service Centre (East), NTUC First Campus’ My First Skool and the Geylang Serai Heritage Gallery.
On Friday, Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli launched another joint office called M3@WGS, also located at Wisma Geylang Serai.
It houses three key Malay-Muslim organisations: Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS), self-help group Mendaki and the Malay Activity Executive Committees Council.
The centre will operate seven days a week, allowing the public to engage Mendaki and MUIS on its services beyond office hours.
Geylang Serai Community Club and the South East Community Development Council have also relocated to Wisma Geylang Serai.
A three-day festival celebrating the opening of the hub is ongoing and is made up of five different zones, featuring a variety of arts, culture and lifestyle programmes and events.
Called “Geylang Serai: Past, Present, Future”, the festival aims to feature past and upcoming Singapore Malay band groups, since Wisma Geylang Serai was a seeding ground for budding talent in the past.
Screening of old Malay classic films, cultural exhibits and family carnival games will be available to members of the public.
The festival will end on Sunday.