Monday 25 November 2013

Govt will continue to help Malay community in Singapore

789 get $1.2m worth of bursaries; Shanmugam urges support for community in tackling concerns
By Feng Zengkun, The Sunday Times, 24 Nov 2013

The Government is committed to helping the Malay community in Singapore, Law and Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam said yesterday.

He was speaking as the guest of honour at a ceremony which gave out $1.2 million worth of bursaries to 789 students yesterday.

The annual event, which was held at ITE College Central this year, is organised by the Prophet Muhammad's Birthday Memorial Scholarship Fund Board, which has been giving out bursaries and scholarships to needy students of all races since 1965.

Mr Shanmugam said the group's work has helped the Malay community make strides in the past decade. He pointed out how last year, about nine in 10 Malay pupils who attended Primary 1 were admitted to post-secondary institutions, compared with about eight in 10 in 2003.

He also highlighted the accomplishments of Mr Adil Hakeem Mohamad Rafee, who made history last year when he became the first Malay in 44 years to be awarded the President's Scholarship, Singapore's most prestigious undergraduate award.

However, Mr Shanmugam said there was still cause for concern, including the small portion of pupils who do not pass the PSLE, and the divorce and drug abuse rates within the community.

He added that the Government, non-government groups, the Malay community as well as society in general have to pull together to tackle these issues.

"The Government has a laser-like focus to try and help the Malay community," he said, citing how the Government has a Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs, and instituted the Mosque Building and Mendaki Fund.

He revealed that other communities had questioned why they did not receive the same provisions.

"We've always taken the position that there are reasons why the Government gives additional support to the Malay community, and we will continue to give that, and please don't ask for equality. And they have accepted it."


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