Following Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s National Day Rally speech on 14 August 2011, many new initiatives and policies were introduced or enhanced which addressed issues raised during the General Election.
Here, I’ll attempt to discuss on his speech directed to the Malays.
- Tertiary Tuition Fee Subsidy
PM mentioned that there will be a revision of the TTFS to accomodate to the changing landscape of the Malay community since 20 years ago. More families are slated to be eligible for the TTFS with the revision.
This is definitely a big boost for the Malay community although it should have been revised 10 years ago. Nonetheless, I’m excited to see on what will be the new income ceiling or the revised TTFS percentage subsidy.
- Redevelopment of Malay Village
As the lease on the Malay Village expires, PM stated that Dr Maliki Osman will be overseeing the redevelopment of the Malay Village which will see the setup of a Community Centre, a heritage site reminding of what Geylang Serai used to be and the construction of a civic centre as well as a plaza.
For the longest time, the Malay Village has been under-utilised and seriously requires refurbishment or at least upkeeping. The current condition looks appropriate to house insects and the homeless. With the redevelopment, I hope the government will set aside an area for performances. A proper one at that with stage, lights and all the necessary setup required for a decent outdoor performance.
Currently, there’s only the Kuda Kepang performing once a month on a Saturday. I propose that the site be utilised to allow more of such traditional Malay performances, ie; Bangsawan, Mak Yong, Wayang Kulit, etc. I definitely have a ready group of individuals who’d be more than happy to be able to have that space to perform. In addition, it’ll also add vibrance to the heritage of the Malay community and Singapore.
With another heritage site being constructed for the Malays, what then of the Malay Heritage Centre or Taman Warisan currently located at Kampong Glam? Would the heritage site at Malay Village be free and open to the public? Currently, there are panels in the Malay Village which give an insight into the Malay community in Singapore which isn’t available at Malay Heritage Centre.
This will no doubt be a headache to the Malay-Muslim. A Focus Group Discussion should perhaps be convened to find a solution to the white elephant at Kampong Glam as well as address the matter with Malay Village.
- Malay Integration
PM mentioned and I quote, “You have integrated yourself into our multi-racial society, achieved tremendous progress and yet remained rooted to your heritage and history. You are a successful Community of Excellence and a working model of a moderate Muslim minority that has progressed together with the nation.”
I think this is where whoever wrote his speech got it wrong because:
1) The Malays are the original inhabitants of this country. It is others who came and integrated with the Malay society to make it multi-racial.
2) Islam is a religion which promotes moderation. By that, it would mean that Muslims are already moderate.
To read more on PM Lee’s address to the Malay community, click here.