Transcript of Remarks by Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law on the Sidelines of Berita Harian’s Podcast Interview on the Topic of Yishun Mosque

Published: 26 August 2023

Question: There was a lot of good feedback from residents when the temporary prayer space was opened in Yishun, after Darul Makmur was closed for renovations. Any updates since then?

Minister: To me, this is an indication of how our community works. I went for Hari Raya, to Darul Makmur, together with my fellow MPs, and of course Professor Faishal. At that time, they said, “We have been looking for an alternate space and we’ll have to close for renovations and we haven’t yet found an alternate space.” So, we immediately looked for an alternate space. They actually did not ask us while they were looking themselves. I said to Faishal and my fellow MPs, I think we should try and help. I talked to my grassroots leaders and two days after, we identified this school, and we went there and looked around. We asked the mosque community to come. It is a school that is not in use. We said okay, we can do it. SLA, the community, the mosque, all came together. I asked my grassroots leaders, can we pay half the rent? Help the mosque, because they need the money for renovations. Our grassroots leaders said yes. 

And again, you talk about race in another context; most of my grassroots leaders are Chinese. But the fact that they are willing to come forward and help with the rental, is an indication of what Singapore is. I think that is what makes Singapore special. 

The alternate arrangements had been made for people to go to Admiralty or Seletar, but of course, having it in Nee Soon, particularly for the older folks, is much more convenient. So, today, every Friday, they hold two prayers, 12pm and 3pm. About 1,100 people come every Friday. So, you can see how important it is for them and they expressed it; they said so. 

So, SLA moved very fast, they were happy to help. The mosque community also moved very fast, in conjunction with Muis. My community leaders came together, cleaned up the place, made it suitable, said the necessary prayers for it to be used as a mosque. I visited one of the Fridays, it was very good. 

BH: On a personal note, I am one of the congregants at the Darul Makmur mosque. Also, my father-in-law, he stays in Yishun, I stay in Sembawang. He is extremely happy that there is a mosque still in Yishun because the other mosques are pretty small so if you can have the Yishun people go there then it might be very crowded especially on Fridays. So, on a personal note, thank you to you. 

Minister: Most welcome, this is what makes Singapore special.

BH: Indeed.