Home Affairs and Law Minister of Singapore K Shanmugam observed that terrorism and radicalisation are one of three challenges besieging the community.
The Indian-origin Minister was addressing about 400 Malay-Muslim staff members and grassroot leaders organised by People’s Association (PA).
He noted that more cases of radicalisation have been reported in Singapore. Between 2007 and 2014, there were six restriction orders and five detention orders issued. Since 2015, there have been six restriction orders and 11 detention orders handed out. He observed that though it used to take around 22 months for people to become radicalised, the timeline has been shortened to nine months under the sway of the Islamic State (IS).
To face the problem of radicalisation, the Asatizah Recognition Scheme became mandatory in January, requiring Islamic religious teachers to be registered with the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis).
The Minister called the Muslim community to allow greater engagement by Muis, the Religious Rehabilitation Group and other community groups.
Shanmugam also dwelled on the other challenges facing the Malay-Muslim including its over-representation in drug statistics.
About half (53 per cent) of drug offenders arrested last year were Malay, up from 32 per cent in 2006. A similar proportion (54 per cent) of new drug offenders nabbed last year were Malay, more than double the 22 per cent recorded in 2006.
He observed that Malay-Muslim organisations can help address this problem. Grassroots leaders can reach out to residents in need through house visits and community aid programmes, and partner others in advocating against drugs.
He also spoke on the low participation rate of Malay-Muslims in community events which is lower than the national average.
The third challenge is employment for Malay-Muslim professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs). To help PMETs facing job loss or switching sectors, the Government set up a new committee — co-chaired by Parliamentary Secretaries Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim and Amrin Amin — in March.