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Nadia Samdin inquires about aid allocation transparency and community unity amidst Israel-Palestine crisis

In a recent parliamentary session, Ms Nadia Ahmad Samdin queried Minister Masagos Zulkifli about the utilization of aid for Israel-Palestine and the role of community leaders. Minister Masagos emphasizes diplomatic challenges and unity in Singapore’s diverse society.




SINGAPORE: In a recent parliamentary session on Wednesday (6 Mar), Nadia Ahmad Samdin, the Member of Parliament for Ang Mo Kio GRC, raised pertinent questions directed towards Masagos Zulkifli, the Minister-in-Charge of Muslim Affairs.

The focus of her inquiry revolved around the utilization of the initial aid tranche in the early stages of efforts to assist the innocent victims affected by the Israel-Palestine crisis and the subsequent rebuilding initiatives in Gaza.

Expressing concern for transparency and public understanding, Ms Nadia sought information on the intended use of future aid.

Her aim was to ensure that Singaporeans comprehend the significant impact of their contributions towards these humanitarian efforts.

Adding depth to her queries, Ms Nadia delved into the role of community leaders in aiding Singaporeans from diverse backgrounds.

She specifically addressed the importance of guiding individuals in processing the deep sense of injustice and helplessness stemming from the crisis.

Additionally, she emphasized the need to prevent divisive postings on social media, highlighting the potential for such content to exacerbate tensions.

The ultimate goal, as she pointed out, was to mitigate the real-world impacts on communities, including both Singaporean Muslims and Jews.

In February, the Ministry of Education (MOE) launched Citizenship Education (CCE) lessons on the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Despite being constrained to one hour and facing resource preparation challenges, the CCE lessons cover developments only from October 7 to December 2023.

Critics argue that the lessons lack historical context, ignoring the seven-decade-long conflict between Israel and Palestine.

MOE defended its approach, stating that the lessons aim to create a safe learning environment for students to understand the complexities of the situation and form their own opinions.

It also aims to help students think about how to promote unity and harmony in a diverse society.

The curriculum extends beyond the Israel-Hamas conflict, encompassing discussions on contemporary issues like casual racism, mental well-being, and other global conflicts such as the Russia-Ukraine war.

However, some educational materials have faced scrutiny for omitting critical information.

Lesson slides provide a brief summary of key events in the Israel-Palestine conflict since 1948 and highlight Hamas’s non-recognition of Israel’s right to exist.

Notably absent are mentions of Israel’s non-recognition of a Palestinian state and recent accusations against Israel of committing acts of genocide against Palestinians.

Minister Masagos Zulkifli outlines government-approved channels for RLAF funds

In response to a query posed by Ms Nadia during a parliamentary session, Minister-in-Charge of Muslim Affairs, Masagos Zulkifli, clarified the process for handling funds collected by the Rahmatan Lil-Alamin Foundation (RLAF).

He emphasized that all funds collected by RLAF must be directed through approved channels and utilized in accordance with government approvals.

In the previous tranche, collaboration occurred with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), while future tranches will involve cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) to determine the appropriate channels for fund allocation.

Addressing the need to take proactive steps for the community, Mr Masagos highlighted the importance of engaging in essential initiatives.

“I said just now that we will have to move on to do things for the community, important things that we need to do for the community,” he said.

Acknowledging the prolonged nature of the conflict, Mr Masagos indicated the likelihood of the necessity to raise funds once again.

Minister Masagos emphasizes Singapore’s diplomatic challenges

In a recent statement, Mr Masagos emphasized the unique challenges faced by Singapore as a small country, underscoring the importance of understanding the context behind the nation’s foreign policy decisions.

He highlighted that Singapore’s foreign policy is driven by long-term interests aimed at safeguarding independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, security, and the well-being of its citizens.

Mr Masagos pointed out the consistency in Singapore’s stance on Israel, emphasizing the country’s recognition of Israel’s legitimate right to defend itself against acts of terror.

However, he clarified that Singapore aligns its approach with international humanitarian law, ensuring adherence to principles such as necessity, proportionality, distinction, and humanity as enshrined in the Geneva Conventions.

“That is why we voted for two UNGA resolutions which call for humanitarian ceasefire to alleviate the suffering of the civilian victims in Gaza,” he stated.

The minister urged leaders to actively educate individuals discussing certain matters to comprehend the context and rationale behind government statements.

“I think it’s important that we leave as Singaporeans to know why these things have to be said the way they are,” he said.

Additionally, Minister Masagos pointed out that Minister Vivian had recently addressed the Israeli military response in Parliament, expressing concern that it had exceeded acceptable limits.

Minister Masagos advocates unity in Singapore’s diverse society

Acknowledging Singapore’s diversity, Mr Masagos emphasized the importance of unity in both government and the citizenry.

Despite personal sentiments, he emphasized the need for leaders, particularly in a multiracial and multireligious society, to speak with one voice to protect the national interest.

Recognizing connections with the Palestinians, he urged the community to preserve peace and unity, showcasing Singapore’s strength as a small but diverse nation.

“We have to work together to preserve the peace between ourselves, never be driven, never be divided.” he added.

As the situation evolves, Mr Masagos urged continued unity, emphasizing that diversity is a strength that must be upheld for Singapore to thrive in the face of ongoing challenges.

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Hello !!! if you want to donate to Palestine , please use your own money. Singaporeans First!!!

“I said just now that we will have to move on to do things for the community, important things that we need to do for the community,” he said.

Well said Masagos !!!!

Didn’t our ministars told Singapreans not to interfere with foreign politics ??

Hello!!! Hamas are terrorists ! Singapooreans need to put food and money on the table. Why don’t this lady you use your own money to donate? What do you think? Wake up please !! tsk tsk tsk

The Muslim PAP Minister betrayed his Muslim God Allah by supporting Israeli government to attack his fellow Muslims the Palestinians.

So well set up for Masagos to deliver his message of the govt.’s stance on continuing the support for Israel and giving lip service at the UN knowing very well the US will veto any effort to stop the genocide. The tape recorder is being played over and over. 10 months from now it will be the same message. We lack leadership in Singapore to be able to stand on the side of humanity.what we have are wimps like VB. We need a Wang Yi.