Malay/Muslim community to honour pioneers, tap experience

Dr Yaacob Ibrahim(centre), MCI and Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs.

SINGAPORE - Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim wants self-help group Mendaki and the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore to come up with programmes to honour pioneers and tap their experience to bring about a transfer of values between them and the younger generation.

Speaking to reporters after recording a television forum on the Budget last Friday, he said the Malay/Muslim community could take pride in the many pioneers in the community who had contributed to nation-building.

He will announce details of the programmes at a later date. But they will be separate from the Pioneer Generation Package, the $8 billion bundle of health-care subsidies and top-ups to honour some 450,000 of Singapore's pioneers.

Many in the Malay/Muslim community made the choice to remain here when Singapore left the Federation of Malaysia in 1965.

These pioneers worked with the other communities to build Singapore, committing to the new nation and the principles of meritocracy and multiracialism, said Dr Yaacob.

"I think it's important that the Malay/Muslim community itself celebrates our pioneers. The values which they live by, the kind of commitment they had towards Singapore... we believe it's still important," he said.

Dr Yaacob also addressed concerns about rising costs. Budget 2014 included rebates for service and conservancy charges, and goods and services tax vouchers for seniors and for families living in Housing Board flats, to help them with living costs.

Dr Yaacob said that while costs will go up in certain areas, because many things in Singapore are imported, the Government will try to prepare families for it through subsidies in the Budget.

He also urged businesses to tap schemes that will help them become more productive, such as the ICT for Productivity and Growth programme that will cost the Government $500 million over the next three years. ICT stands for information and communications technology.

"I would appeal to businesses to consider this seriously, because we want to transit to a higher level in terms of our productivity and we believe ICT is one of the key enablers," he said.

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