There is no doubt that there is a need for a centralized organisation that helps to unify and elevate the Muslim community in Singapore. This organisation needs to be independent and non-partisan so that it can best serve Allah (p.b.u.h) and all Muslims.
Unfortunately, the main problem with MUIS is that while its role and functions have positive intents, it has been dirtied by its association with the government.
1. After so many years of government pressure, MUIS has been socialised into accepting and obeying their demands and instructions. Instead of representing and defending Muslim interests from a ground-up initiative, MUIS now thinks of itself as part of the government and they help the PAP solve their issues.
2. MUIS officials will argue that by virtue of their being in government, they are able to discuss their concerns with political leaders and have access to state instruments. But what they do not seem to realise is that their association with the government is not on an equal footing. They are seen to be the weaker, minor player. They can only request, not demand.
3. Be it the ban on the hijab for uniformed services, or the acquisition of wakaf land by the government, MUIS’ functions have been used to support the government’s demands against the Muslim community. Even the fatawa, the asatizah, the unity are all created to serve the government’s interests.
We do not need a government puppet to represent us. If MUIS wants to continue to remain relevant and be respected by the Muslim community, it needs to show that its loyalty lies with the community, not the government.
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