'Vibrant new generation needed to boost Malay/Muslim community'
The Malay/Muslim community has made good social progress, but for it to continue to be successful, it needs a vibrant next generation, said Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam.
He said the total fertility rate of the Malay community has dipped even further from 1.85 in 2018 to 1.80 in 2019, well below the replacement rate of 2.1.
"So the Malay community is not replacing itself. Of course these figures are even worse for the Chinese and Indian communities, but that is not a consolation. It is difficult to be successful if you do not have children," he said yesterday.
But Mr Shanmugam, who was speaking at Berita Harian's Achiever of the Year award ceremony, gave the assurance that the Government will keep the proportion of Malays here stable. The community currently forms 15 per cent of the Singapore citizen population.
He said the Government will continue to work with the community to encourage excellence and achieve better outcomes for all.
Mr Shanmugam sketched out three broad areas where he said the Malay community has made progress.
First, in the area of income, the minister noted that the median monthly household income of Malay households has risen by more than 80 per cent over 15 years, from $2,900 in 2000 to $5,340 in 2015.
In terms of education, one in two Malay students progress to publicly funded full-time degree or diploma courses - an improvement from the one in four from 20 years ago, he noted.
The third area is in terms of home ownership, as nine out of 10 Malay households now own their homes, and more than 60 per cent of these people live in a four-room flat or larger, Mr Shanmugam added.
He said: "Tremendous progress has been made, (and there is a) bright future for the children… who can get good jobs and excel. And that is also our wider Singapore story."
Mr Shanmugam presented the Berita Harian Achiever of the Year award to Mr Mohamed Faizal Mohamed Abdul Kadir, Deputy Chief Prosecutor and Senior State Counsel at the Attorney-General's Chambers.
The award was given in recognition of Mr Faizal's contributions to the legal sector as well as to the community.
Berita Harian's Young Achiever of the Year title went yesterday to national team footballer Ikhsan Fandi, 21, who is currently playing for Norwegian First Division club Jerv.
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