Published: 11 April 2022
Ladies and Gentlemen
1. A very good morning to all of you, and thank you for taking time to attend today’s Malay-Muslim Organisations (MMO) Rehabilitation Network Seminar.
2. Today’s seminar is the network’s inaugural event since its formalisation last year. I’m glad to see so many of you here today. I hope that you will find the sharing by Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) and Singapore Prison Service (SPS) later insightful, and it will inspire you to continue working together to support our Malay offenders, ex-offenders, and their family.
CNB and Prisons 2021 Annual Statistics
3. Both CNB and SPS recently released their annual statistics for 2021, and we saw improvements in several areas.
4. Firstly, the number of drug abusers arrested in 2021 decreased by 11%. Specifically, the number of Malay abusers dropped by about 15%.
5. Secondly, the two-year recidivism rate of 20% for the 2019 cohort is the lowest since 1992.
6. Such encouraging statistics could not have come about without the strong collaboration and teamwork between the Government and community partners like yourselves.
7. If we keep up our efforts and partnership, I am confident that we can continue to see more encouraging outcomes.
Directory of Services and Programmes
8. When we formalised the MMO Rehabilitation Network last year, I shared that we would work with all of you to compile a directory of programmes and services, provided by members, for offenders, ex-offenders, and their families.
9. Today, I am pleased to announce that the directory will be going live on M3’s website shortly. We appreciate everyone’s help in putting this directory together. We will update and build upon the directory as more programmes and services are added. This is a wonderful start for us not only to get to know what each other is doing, but also to build platforms and ecosystems for collaboration, and share best practices in a collective effort to help offenders, ex-offenders and their families.
Human Interest Story
10. I also want to take this opportunity to share about the difference that our work makes in the lives of our beneficiaries.
11. During a recent house visit with FITRAH’s befrienders, I met Puan M, a 74-year-old grandmother living alone with her grandson after her son and daughter-in-law were incarcerated for drug offences. Puan M has mobility issues and suffers from chronic asthma.
12. Initially, Puan M was against the idea of having a befriender as she is a very independent lady. However, Puan M gradually warmed up to the befrienders as they accompanied her for her medical appointments. Over time, she saw that they were constantly looking out for her wellbeing. Most importantly, they provided a listening ear for her to share her emotions and feelings. Now, Puan M and the befrienders have a close relationship.
13. By being there for Puan M, the befrienders not only supported her, but also enabled her to provide the necessary support to her son, who was recently released from prison.
14. Our work has made a difference to Puan M and her family. I hope by sharing Puan M’s experience, I can encourage all of us to press on in our work, in supporting offenders, ex-offenders, and their families. When I spoke to Puan M about her journey, she shared that she is now so close to her befrienders that they are now like two extra children who look after and look out for her. Her befrienders shared that initially, their relationship with Puan M was not easy as Puan M felt awkward and did not understand their role. However, they managed to build trust and friendship with Puan M, and their relationship is now much stronger.
Upcoming Plans for the MMO Rehabilitation Network
15. This is something that we hope that each of you can achieve through your various programmes. At the MMO Rehabilitation Network launch last year, we shared that we wanted to achieve greater collaboration and synergy amongst the different community partners so that we can provide better support to the offenders, ex-offenders, and their families.
16. The seminar today is the first session for this year. More training and information sharing sessions and learning journeys are being planned. So, do keep a look out for our announcements.
17. At the same time, we also want to encourage members from the network to come forward, work together and organise events and activities to create opportunities for deeper collaboration.
18. Before I end, let me share the following pantun:
Anak Singapura sungguh berbakat
Tidak ternilai seperti sutera
Bekerjasama demi masyarakat
Negara damai rakyat sejahtera
Pergi ke Khatib memancing ikan
Pandangan indah kita nikmati
Terima kasih saya ucapkan
Atas segala jasa dan bakti
20. Once again, thank you for taking your time to attend the session today. I would also like to thank my colleagues from SPS and CNB, for organising and presenting at this event. I hope that you will find the session today useful and that it will spur each and everyone of you, including myself, to do more for our offenders, ex-offenders, and their families.
21. To my Muslim friends and colleagues, wishing you a Ramadhan Mubarak. May you and your family be blessed in this holy month of Ramadhan.
22. On that note, thank you.