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2,950 more spaces for Friday Muslim prayers from Jan 1, says Masagos

SINGAPORE — From Jan 1, a total of 18 more mosques will offer 2,950 more spaces for Friday prayers, making available 22,500 spaces in total across all mosques in Singapore.

2,950 more spaces for Friday Muslim prayers from Jan 1, says Masagos

From Jan 1, a total of 18 more mosques will offer 2,950 more spaces for Friday prayers.

  • Around 3,000 new spots will be offered for Friday prayers in 2021
  • Mr Masagos Zulkifli said the Malay-Muslim community was able to help bring the Covid-19 under control because of “sound advice” from doctors to religious leaders
  • He lauded the community’s efforts to combat the virus and look out for each other
  • He also urged the community to get vaccinated

 

SINGAPORE — From Jan 1, a total of 18 more mosques will offer 2,950 more spaces for Friday prayers, making available 22,500 spaces in total across all mosques in Singapore.

Of these, 13 mosques will offer three zones each for every Friday session, and five will offer four zones. Each zone will have a maximum capacity of 50 congregants.

Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs, announced these changes on Saturday (Dec 26) in a year-end media interview.

He and five other political office holders who represent the Malay-Muslim community here sketched out their priorities for the coming year to lead the community out of the Covid-19 crisis, focusing on four areas: Education and youth, jobs and employment, marriage and parenthood, and vulnerable households.

The other political office-holders at the interview were: Dr Maliki Osman, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office; Mr Zaqy Mohamad, Senior Minister of State for Manpower and Defence; Dr Faishal Ibrahim, Minister of State for Home Affairs and National Development; Ms Rahayu Mahzam, Parliamentary Secretary for Health; and Mr Fahmi Aliman, Mayor of South East District.

Taking stock of the Malay community’s efforts to fight Covid-19 in the past year, Mr Masagos extolled the measures taken that have allowed Singapore to control the coronavirus and make Phase Three of the nation's gradual reopening a possibility.

“We were the first in the world to shut down our mosques to daily prayers, Friday prayers, terawih prayers and Hari Raya prayers ahead of all the pronouncements made by other authorities,” he said.

The annual Haj pilgrimage was also postponed.

Mr Masagos, also the Minister for Social and Family Development and the Second Minister for Health, added: “(All that) can only be possible because the doctors gave sound advice to our religious teachers that congregations… can result in more people being infected.” 

He also lauded the efforts of M3 — an alliance comprising the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis), self-help group Mendaki, and the Malay Activity Executive Committees Council (Mesra), which stepped up to the plate during the pandemic to support vulnerable Malay families.

For example, the network was able to call on its volunteers during the Ramadan period, which occurred during the partial lockdown in April and May, to quickly raise money and give out some 20,000 daily buka puasa meals (meals for the breaking of fast).

Dr Maliki said that the Covid-19 Muis Support Fund had also given out around S$2.2 million to Malay families affected by the pandemic, above the S$1.6 million planned initially.

Mendaki had teamed up with the Infocomm Media Development Authority to ensure low-income families had access to computers and devices for home-based learning, he added.

Making an appeal to the community to be vaccinated when the time comes, Mr Masagos said that it is his hope that Covid-19 vaccines will be the “ultimate cure” that will allow Singapore to reopen its economy.

Among other moves, the ministerial panel said that it will be strengthening its Bersamamu programme to raise the capabilities of its volunteers through training. The programme aims to provide counselling and marriage support for newlywed Malay couples for up to two years after their solemnisation, with the help of volunteers.

Since its launch last July, the Bersamamu programme has helped more than 6,000 couples, Dr Faishal said.

There will also be three new M3@Towns in Geylang Serai, Bishan-Toa Payoh and Jalan Besar, on top of the eight now.

The programme is a heartland community initiative that seeks to create opportunities for community members to volunteer, with the Geylang Serai branch set to launch on Jan 23.

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Mosque Muslim prayer Masagos Zulkifli

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