Helping some to move faster

Helping some to move faster
Profile photo of Dr Mohamad Maliki Osman, Minister of State for National Development and Defence.

SINGAPORE - South East District Mayor Mohamad Maliki Osman was profiled in the October issue of Petir magazine.

In the report, Dr Maliki, who is also Minister of State for National Development and Defence and an East Coast GRC MP, talks about how his academic background in social work helps in his work as a mayor and MP.

Here is an excerpt of his interview.

1. How did you get involved in social work?

I never expected to get to university. I didn't know what to major in. I looked through the prospectus and found social work resonated with me because it talked about social injustice, bringing the lower strata of society up.

When the training started, I was exposed to groups of people who made me reflect on my own background. I started looking at dysfunctional families, drug addiction.

My own Malay community is very much affected by it. And to think there's something I can do, it spurred me on.

2. What drives you?

My personal desire is to bring the Malay community up. We've made a lot of progress, but we need to do more. My observation today is that because the pace of society is very fast, some Singaporeans are unable to keep up.

I want to see if I can put them on rollerblades to help them move faster. To do that, you really need to connect to as many people as you can, so that you feel for them and hold their hands up to a point when you can let go.

But if you don't know them, you don't know which hands to hold.

3. What issues keep you awake at night?

One issue is that of retirement adequacy and dealing with an ageing population.

Is a 35-year-old today consciously aware of the challenges he will face when he retires? Or if you ask a 45-year-old head of a household, what is your savings rate like today, are you ready to retire in 20 years' time, the answer is quite alarming.

If you are besieged with any medical illness, you can just imagine the whole family in crisis.

I don't think we have spoken enough about such issues. It worries me to see how families get stuck with a crisis situation.

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