Berita Harian editor appointed Muis president from Aug 7

The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) will be chaired by a new president from next week, as its current president steps down after completing his term.

Mr Mohamed Sa'at Abdul Rahman, 60, will be the council's ninth president. He will be taking over from Mr Mohammad Alami Musa, 65, on Aug 7.

Mr Sa'at, who is the editor of Malay daily news publication Berita Harian, was appointed by President Halimah Yacob.

Mr Alami is stepping down after 18 years. He was first appointed president of Muis in September 2003, said the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) in a statement on Friday (July 30).

Muis is the statutory board that looks after the administration and interests of Singapore's Muslim community. The president of Muis holds a non-executive appointment and chairs the council.

Having served as Muis president since 2003, Mr Alami continued to chair Muis as non-executive president after August 2013, when the position of chief executive was created in the council.

MCCY said that in his years of service, Mr Alami played a key role in strengthening Singapore's mosque sector.

"Under his guidance, mosques have strengthened their programmes, capabilities and governance, including the introduction of social development schemes and establishment of the Mosque Executive Chairman scheme," said the ministry.

Mr Alami helped to set guiding principles for Muslims here to live their religious lives in contemporary multicultural Singapore, said MCCY, noting that he was instrumental in establishing the Muis Academy, the council's training arm. He also led efforts to strengthen the development of asatizah, or Islamic religious teachers.

The ministry said he played a pivotal role in improving Muis' capabilities to serve the community and was also a strong advocate of community bonding and religious harmony.

"He led Muis towards greater collaboration with Muslim and non-Muslim organisations, established the Harmony Centre and represented Muis at various local and international inter-faith platforms," it added.

Mr Sa'at expressed his admiration for Mr Alami and noted that under his leadership, Muis has grown and made significant progress in many areas, including mosque, madrasah and asatizah development.

"I look forward to contributing to the Muis Council, which is an important institution for the Muslim community in Singapore," he said.

MCCY pointed out that as editor of Berita Harian since 2012, Mr Sa'at has worked closely with Muis and other Malay/Muslim organisations to address the needs and aspirations of the community.

He also serves on three other statutory boards - the Land Transport Authority, Housing and Development Board, and the Street and Building Names Board.

"With his extensive experience in the media and community, Mr Mohamed Sa'at is well placed to lead Muis," said MCCY.

President Halimah said in a Facebook post that Mr Sa’at has close contacts with the Muslim community and understands their challenges, socio-religious needs and aspirations. “With his depth of experience, he is well suited to lead the council and to inject fresh perspectives and impetus to its work,” she wrote.

Muis is a key institution serving the Muslim community, she noted, adding that its guidance and leadership have been crucial to the community’s ability to remain resilient, and to adapt and grow within the context of a multi-religious and secular Singapore. 

She also thanked Mr Alami for his many years of service.

Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli also congratulated Mr Sa'at on his appointment and said that he looked forward to working with him to serve the community.

The minister made special mention of Mr Sa'at's experience in the media, and said that the the community will strengthen the capabilities of Muis as the council enhances its communications and engagement efforts.

Mr Masagos also thanked Mr Alami for his leadership of the council over the past 18 years. "He has been instrumental in transforming Muis and the religious sector to meet the evolving needs of the community, and to guide Muis in working with other religious and community organisations to strengthen religious harmony," he said.