Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth Committee of Supply 2021 – Cuts by WP MPs

Islamic Religious Council of SingaporeMuhamad Faisal Badul Manap

Tuan,

Masyarakat Melayu/Islam Singapura seperti masyarakat lain di negara ini peka dan prihatin terhadap isu-isu semasa yang dihadapi. Sifat orang Melayu, saling membantu – yang berat sama dipikul. Dalam mencegah penularan Covid-19 contohnya, mereka pantas mematuhi pelbagai peraturan kesihatan termasuk menutup pintu masjid bagi mengekang jangkitan koronavirus di sini.

Tuan, saya berbangga rata-rata masyarakat Melayu/Islam di sini kekal tabah dan bersatu walau diasak pelbagai ujian dan cabaran. Cuma sejak kebelakangan ini, sesetengah anggota masyarakat dan asatizah kita mengadu, ada isu-isu genting yang disuarakan dan masalah yang diajukan, tidak mendapat jawapan yang jelas dari badan berwenang yang dipertanggungjawabkan mengurus kebajikan, keperluan dan kesejahteraan kita.

Saya akan mengemukakan beberapa soalan hasil dari pemantauan saya pada perbicangan yang berlaku di media sosial dan secara zahir dengan tujuan untuk meminta penjelasan dan pencerahan, agar yang keruh menjadi jernih, yang kabur menjadi cerah.

Isu-isu yang akan disentuh adalah (i) ajaran sesat, (ii) pengurusan sijil halal dan (iii) soal tadbir urus dan pengurusan kewangan membabitkan Madrasah Irsyad Zuhri Al-Islamiah (Madrasah Irsyad).

Ajaran Sesat

Tuan, pada November tahun lalu, akbar The Straits Time telah mengeluarkan laporan mengenai isu ajaran sesat melibatkan seorang lelaki dengan ramai isteri. Walaupun ianya adalah satu-satunya laporan akhbar tempatan mengenai isu ini, namun ada beberapa pihak mengatakan aduan terhadap individu ini telah dibuat beberapa tahun lalu sebelum ini.

Soalan-soalan saya:

1.         Bilakah aduan pertama yang diterima oleh MUIS mengenai individu yang telah dikatakan mengamalkan ajaran sesat?

2.         Mengapa siasatan lanjut HANYA diteruskan MUIS selepas penerbitan berita itu di akhbar berkenaan?

3.         Apakah hasil siasatan MUIS sejauh ini?

4.         Apakah peruntukan Amla mencukupi atau perlu disemak dan dipinda bagi perkukuh keberkesanannya dalam soal menangani ajaran sesat?

Pengurusan Sijil Halal

Isu kedua adalah mengenai tuduhan kemungkinan berlakunya salah laku dalam tadbir urus dan salah guna kuasa dalam pengurusan sijil halal.

Saya mohon agar hasil siasatan oleh pasukan siasatan dalaman (IVT) yang diketuai Dr Albakri Ahmad, Timbalan Ketua Eksekutif MUIS, serta panel semakan bebas (IRP) yang dipengerusikan Encik Abdul Hamid Abdullah, dibentangkan sepenuhnya di Parlimen demi ketelusan dan kebertanggungjawaban. Menurut MUIS, ia telah merujuk perkara ini kepada Biro Siasatan Amalan Rasuah (CPIB).

Apakah yang dirujukkan kepada CPIB jika benar “siasatan Muis tidak menemui bukti” rasuah atau penyelewengan kuasa? Kata orang Melayu, kalau tiada angin masakan pokok bergoyang.

Selanjutnya, MUIS telah selesai menyiasat dan memaklumkan hasilnya pada 15 Disember 2020 tetapi selang dua minggu kemudian pada 29 Disember 2020, berita diterima dari sebarang tambak mengenai skandal sijil halal daging di Malaysia.

Persoalan baru timbul setelah beberapa laporan di sana mengaitkan Singapura dan individu tertentu dari MUIS dalam perkara ini. Saya nukil laporan berikut: “The Islamic Development Department (Jakim) does not discount the possibility that non-certified meat has been smuggled into the country and later sold as halal products. Jakim research division senior director, Datuk Dr Sirajuddin Suhaimee, in acknowledging this, said such cases had occurred in other countries. Speaking in a special live interview via the department’s Facebook page, he said Jakim learnt in a past forum that such cases had occurred in Singapore. “Because of this, Indonesia does not trust (halal) meat from Singapore. The (non-certified) meat reportedly enters warehouses at the port and the packaging is changed, then stamped with a halal label. So it is not impossible for this to happen in Malaysia today.”

Soalan saya untuk Menteri Bertanggungjawab bagi Ehwal Masyarakat Islam adalah seperti berikut:-

1.         Apakah usaha atau tindakan yang telah diambil MUIS untuk menyangkal kenyataan Datuk Dr Sirajuddin yang mempunyai unsur tuduhan yang amat membimbangkan ini, yang mana boleh menjejaskan keyakinan masyarakat Islam terhadap proses pensijilan halal di sini?

2.         Sudahkah Muis memulakan siasatan dan siapakah mengetuainya – susulan kenyataan dibuat Datuk Dr Sirajuddin itu?

3.         Adakah benar, individu yang dikaitkan dalam gambar yang tular di media

sosial adalah Penolong Pengarah di Unit Strategik Halal MUIS?

4.         Apakah benar dia kini menyandang jawatan sebagai ‘Pengarah Eksekutif’ atau ‘Executive Director’ Mosque-Madrasah-Wakaf Shared Services (UEN: T09MQ0002K)? Jika ia benar, kenapakah individu ini dialih tugas jika tiada kesalahan yang berlaku. Adakah dia dinaikkan pangkat pada Disember 2020?

5.         Dalam laporan siasatan MUIS pada 15 Disember 2020, telah dimaklumkan kekhuatiran MUIS terhadap berlakunya pembocoran maklumat berbentuk emel, mendakwa ia melanggar Akta Rahsia Rasmi atau OSA (Official Secrets Act). Apakah hasil siasatan tersebut? 

Tuan, isu ketiga adalah mengenai soal tadbir urus dan pengurusan kewangan membabitkan Madrasah Irsyad Zuhri Al-Islamiah (Madrasah Irsyad). Soalan-soalan saya adalah berikut;

1. Berapakah nilai modal yang disediakan Madrasah Irsyad bagi pembentukan Irsyad Trust Limited yang sebelumnya dinamakan sebagai Irsyad Foundation Limited?

2. Apakah jangkauan dan bidang kuasa Madrasah Irsyad dalam kebolehlaksanaan pembentukan sesebuah anak syarikat, dalam hal ini, Irsyad Trust Limited?

3. Adakah benar, seorang Pengarah Kanan Madrasah MUIS meletak jawatan pada 2016 dan kemudiannya dibenarkan menjadi CEO Irsyad Trust Limited?

4. Atas sebab apakah Pengarah Kanan Madrasah MUIS ini meletak jawatannya?

5. Siapakah yang meluluskan pelantikannya sebagai CEO Irsyad Trust Limited?

6. Dari sumber manakah modal didapatkan Madrasah Irsyad yang digunakan bagi mewujudkan Irsyad Trust Limited?

7. Saya mengunjungi ketiga-tiga laman rasmi: Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura, Madrasah Irsyad dan Irsyad Trust Limited, dan melihat kesemuanya tiada pengesahan kaitan antara satu sama lain, boleh jelaskan mengapakah demikian?

8. Bagaimanakah MUIS memantau, meneliti dan melakukan ‘Semak dan Imbang’ ke atas Irsyad Trust Limited?

Akhir sekali, saya mengharapkan jawapan yang jelas lagi terperinci dari Menteri Bertanggungjawab bagi Ehwal Masyarakat Islam untuk kesemua soalan yang diajukan demi menghilangkan keraguan masyarakat ke atas kewibawaan badan-badan berwenang.

Tuan, jika Menteri tidak dapat memberi jawapan yang komprehensif di sesi ini atas faktor atau sebab yang tertentu, saya memohon agar Menteri dapat melakukan sedemikian melalui kenyataan media atau menerusi saluran-saluran media sosial. Terima kasih Tuan.

State of The Arts Amidst COVID – Sylvia Lim

Covid-19 has impacted the arts sector profoundly. Many organizations and artists saw their income plummet due to the restrictions around live performances.  Arts practitioners have felt the brunt of the pandemic, and many have turned to other sources of income.  Today I shall touch on the great uncertainty felt in the industry about whether it can emerge stronger through COVID. 

Artists amidst COVID

To cope with COVID, the Government has provided initiatives like the Arts and Culture Resilience Package, the Jobs Support Scheme for employees, and for freelancers, the Self-Employed Persons Income Relief Scheme.  These are certainly welcome measures.  Nevertheless, the curbs on earning income have led to arts practitioners taking on other gigs such as becoming Grab drivers in order to pay bills.  I wonder if the Ministry has an idea of the number of arts practitioners, technicians, and other freelancers who have moved on to other industries, perhaps never to return?

Related to earning income, there has also feedback that the restrictions on live performances appear relatively harsh when compared to other activities.  For instance, restaurants have customers at the same table at close proximity, chatting and laughing for hours without masks on; restaurants can also move their tables or chairs around to maximise their capacity.  In contrast, theatres and concert halls have fixed seats; when social distancing measures are applied, some are down to 25% capacity.  But their audiences are required to sit silently, with masks on during the entire performance.  Given the arguably lower risk, is there room for a review of the rules around live performances?

Physical Spaces

Venues like the Substation have long been associated with the pursuit of art for its own sake, understanding that incubation takes time, and artists need autonomy and flexibility.  Having spaces managed by independent arts groups gives artists the comfort that those in charge understand the nature of art-making, and will accommodate creative spirits as they undertake pioneering endeavours. 

I note that there has been some unease recently about several arts organizations losing their venues for various reasons, or being asked to relinquish autonomy over buildings they have long managed.  Some of these buildings will be upgraded by the National Arts Council and thereafter be leased by the NAC to multiple users, as part of a national plan.  There have been concerns raised about how such a move would undermine independence in arts creation.  Key concerns cited were the uncertainty of lease renewals, cost and bureaucracy.   

Some practitioners have also expressed dissatisfaction with a perceived lack of proper communication about physical spaces before momentous announcements are made.  How successful has the government been in getting buy-in from the arts industry regarding their urban governance plans? 

Finally, could MCCY elaborate on its COVID Recovery Plan for the Arts?

Booking System for Sports Facilities – Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap

Sir, the issue of third parties profiting from reselling of public sport facilities has recently received much attention after a couple of media articles were published on the matter.

It was mentioned in one of these articles that there is even a virtual shop space to purchase bookings at public sports facilities such as badminton courts.

A Straits Time article dated 1 February 2021 reported, social footballers had to fork out between $240 and $300 in order to play. In another media report it was said that the reseller is making a profit of about $180.

Sir, in responding to such unethical practices, Sport Singapore (SportSG) was reported as saying that it has vowed to clamp down on the “unscrupulous practice of few ActiveSG members who resell bookings of its sports facilities for a profit. A follow up media report dated 15 February 2021, mentioned that 255 ActiveSG accounts guilty of reselling bookings have been suspended by SportSG.

I would like to ask the Ministry, apart from suspension of ActiveSG accounts, what other measures or actions has SportSg implemented to further and better manage the situation?

Sir, we do have public sport facilities managed by other public entities such as People Association’s Community Clubs. I would like to urge MCCY and SportSG to initiate and lead a more concerted effort involving other public entities in eradicating such unscrupulous practice and exploitation of our public sport facilities. Thank you Sir.