Transcript of DPM Teo Chee Hean's speech at the 65th Anniversary Dinner of PPIS on 24 Nov 2017.
“Building Strong Families, Empowering Women and Promoting an Inclusive and Caring Society”
Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications & Information, Minister-in-charge of Cyber Security, and Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs,
Mdm Rahayu Mohamad, President of PPIS,
Mr Mohd Ali Mahmood, CEO of PPIS,
Dr Mohamed Fatris Bakaram, Mufti of Singapore,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Congratulations to Persatuan Pemudi Islam Singapura, or PPIS, on your 65th anniversary.
Celebrating PPIS’ Achievements
In 1952, 22 pioneering women founded PPIS to improve the lives of their fellow Muslim women and their children. I am glad that PPIS has continued to build on the strong foundation of your pioneers.
Over the years, PPIS has been helping women to uplift themselves through skills development and employment. This will provide our women with more choices, opportunities and respect. This is part of our mission as a nation to give every Singaporean, and every segment of society in Singapore, more opportunities, more choices, and respect, and to participate fully in the life of our nation. PPIS can further these efforts to build strong families, empower women in our community, and promote a caring and inclusive society.
Building Strong Families
First, our PPIS counsellors and volunteers can help to develop programmes to build strong families. We can extend our support network to provide help more holistically to those who require more assistance.
Our social service organisations can expand capacity and build partnerships to tap on one another’s resources. For instance, the PPIS’ Family Service centres work with social welfare organisations to provide a wide range of support – from women who require help for employment, to the elderly who support young children with incarcerated parents.
PPIS has extended its family support services as well. In May this year, PPIS started to help the Government recruit, screen and train foster parents. This is a very valuable service that PPIS is providing to the community as well as to the most vulnerable of our children. PPIS’ programmes also help couples adjust to married life and strengthen the foundation of their relationship. Couples are linked up with other agencies for further support and resources when needed. This will help to strengthen our families which are the basic building blocks of our society. Unfortunately, there will be some families who face conflict and an inability to get along with one another. For these families who are unfortunately affected by divorce, PPIS As-Salaam helps to encourage these parents to place their children’s well-being first, and to educate them on co-parenting skills. These services have helped to provide more focussed and holistic support for those in need and to strengthen the family as the basic unit of our society.
Second, we can empower women to contribute more to the community and to our nation. I am glad that we have a growing number of Muslim women professionals, leaders and successful entrepreneurs, and Muslim women participating fully in society, with all the abilities that they have to contribute.
Last month, PPIS organised the Symposium Wanita and the Young Women in Leadership Dialogue together with Mendaki. Such platforms recognise the achievements of our Muslim women and allow PPIS members to discuss how they can contribute more to society. This also provides an opportunity to encourage young members to chase their aspirations and tap on the energy and knowledge of successful professionals to inspire others.
Promoting an Inclusive and Caring Society
Third, our social organisations have an important role to play in building an inclusive and caring society, regardless of race or religion. We are a multi-racial and
multi-religious society, and do not exist as individual communities. This is the strength of Singapore. We are inclusive and we live, work and play together. We need to recognise the danger of exclusivist teachings to our social cohesion, and the threat that violent extremist ideology poses to our peace and security. We must reject exclusivist and extremist teachings and not let them take root here in multi-cultural, multi-religious Singapore. One of the events that has disturbed me a little this year, is that for the first time, we have had to deal with young women who had become affected by such extremist ideologies. We must do our best to prevent young women from being led astray in this way.
We should reach out to each other across communities and encourage openness and interaction to build even stronger community bonds of trust and understanding. Recently, PPIS organised a celebration with friends from the Taoist Mission, Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations, and the Interfaith Youth Circle to promote conversations among various faith groups. I commend PPIS and your partners on this initiative which will strengthen our bonds of friendship.
I am also heartened that PPIS is a strong supporter of SG Cares. This is a national movement dedicated to build a strong civic culture and to support one another. PPIS’s work to mobilise volunteers to help the less fortunate, regardless of race or religion, reflects the spirit that SG Cares wishes to inculcate in society. With more Singaporeans stepping forward to volunteer their time and support, we can build a caring and inclusive home for all.
PPIS terus berjaya memainkan peranan penting dengan membantu membina keluarga yang kukuh dan memperkasakan wanita dalam masyarakat kita. PPIS juga telah berusaha untuk mewujudkan Singapura yang lebih inklusif dan penyayang
tanpa mengira bangsa atau agama. Saya berterima kasih kepada ahli-ahli PPIS atas sumbangan dan dedikasi anda. Saya doakan agar anda terus berjaya dalam memberikan khidmat kepada masyarakat dan negara kita.
Once again, I congratulate PPIS on your 65th anniversary and may you continue to contribute to our society. Thank you very much.
PPIS continues to play an important role by helping to build strong families and empowering women in our community. PPIS has also worked to bring about a more inclusive and caring Singapore regardless of race or religion. I thank PPIS members for your dedicated contributions and wish you many more years of successful service to the community and our nation.
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