Mr Mohamed Faizal Mohamed Abdul Kadir was conferred the BH Achiever of the Year award at the Anugerah Jauhari Berita Harian 2020 held on 18 November 2020. Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam was Guest-of-Honour for this event.
Mr Mohamed Faizal Mohamed Abdul Kadir is the 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.
Click here or see below for speech by Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs, at Anugerah Jauhari Berita Harian 2020 (Berita Harian Achiever Of The Year Award Ceremony), 18 Nov 2020, 03.00 PM at SPH News Centre Auditorium.
Mr. Ng Yat Chung,
CEO of Singapore Press Holdings,
Mr. Anthony Tan,
Deputy CEO of Singapore Press Holdings,
Mr. Warren Fernandez,
Editor-in-Chief of Singapore Press Holdings,
Mr. Saat Abdul Rahman,
Editor of Berita Harian,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
A very good afternoon to all of you.
As you’ve heard, this is the 22nd year of the Anugerah Jauhari Berita Harian Awards.
These awards recognise the honour and talent within the Malay/Muslim community, and their valuable contributions to Singapore.
This is an area of considerable personal interest to me, so when Saat approached me, I said yes immediately, and agreed to come. I have spoken on this many times – the progress of our Malay/Muslim community, why it is important for all of us that every community progresses well, and that every community has an important stake in Singapore. It is also important for the well-being of Singapore as a whole. The progress of a community is measured in many ways, and I will come back to mention three aspects specifically, but one measure specifically, is the young people who excel – because they serve as role models, they inspire, and they help to pull up even more people.
This year, the Achiever awards go to Mr. Mohamed Faizal Mohamed Abdul Kadir and Mr. Ikhsan Fandi. We congratulate them.
Coincidentally, both are known to me, and I think, to many of us. Faizal is currently a Deputy Chief Prosecutor with the Attorney-General’s Chambers. He was appointed Senior Counsel earlier this year at the age of 39 – very young to be appointed as a Senior Counsel. I congratulate him for being the youngest Senior Counsel in the Legal Service, and our first Malay/Muslim lawyer to be appointed Senior Counsel. We congratulate him on this milestone.
What is very good to note also, is that despite all these achievements, the sense of humility and the sense of understanding that one doesn’t achieve all of this by himself, and that society makes it possible and that you give back to society. I think that is something that is very, very good to hear and see in someone so young. The Attorney-General’s Chambers, the Legal Service, his superiors have every confidence in him; a good, young officer.
Critically, since the approach to prosecution or how prosecutors approach prosecution has been in the news recently, the Attorney-General’s approach to prosecution has been set out, that it is not a question of getting a conviction at any cost. It is a question of approaching it fairly. Faizal – as many of his colleagues will testify – epitomises the fair approach. He is known as a fair, honourable prosecutor, and Defence Counsel like to deal with him. He is open, he is honest, he is honourable, and he doesn’t look at it as just a case I have got to win. He looks at it as this is the State taking the case up, we put everything fairly and we see whether we can prove the case beyond reasonable doubt. He should go far in his legal career.
In addition to his legal career, he is also an active member of the community. He serves on MUIS’ Appeals Board, and holds adjunct teaching positions in various institutions. He won the President’s Volunteerism and Philanthropy Award for Youths in 2015 – the second person from the Malay/Muslim community to have received it – and gives back actively to Mendaki, particularly on education initiatives. He is an excellent role model, not just for the Malay/Muslim community, but for all young people in Singapore – young lawyers, young people. He has made a difference in society.
Now, turning to Ikhsan, the Young Achiever of the Year 2020. He is a professional footballer with Norwegian club Jerv, and of course the Singapore National Team. He has scored 10 league goals in Europe, which I think only one other person from Singapore has managed. We have very high hopes for him. Many of us know Ikhsan and his brother from a young age, because they’ve been in the media and the newspapers, because some of us know his father – someone called Fandi, who is quite famous. Ikhsan is flying our flag very high, in a different part of the world.
My sincere wish for Ikhsan, and a summary of everything I want to say about him, is that while many now know him as Fandi’s son, I hope one day, that Fandi will be known as Ikhsan’s father.
Faizal & Ikhsan are both deserving winners. They have achieved much.
There are many more like them in our Malay/Muslim community, who have inspired others, achieved outstanding feats, and have become role models for the next generation.
This reflects the general progress of our Malay/Muslim community.
Let me touch on the community’s progress in three aspects.
First, income. If you look at the median monthly household income of Malay households in the last 15 years, from 2000 to 2015, it has risen by more than 80%, from $2,900 in the year 2000, to about $5,340 in the year 2015.
Second, education. Today, more than 90% of Malay students go on to pursue post-secondary education, and one in two Malay students progress to publicly funded full-time degree or diploma courses. That is an increase from 25% just 20 years ago. It’s very significant progress. And one in four, 20 years ago, is already very high, compared to the 20 years before that.
Third, home ownership. Nine out of 10 Malay households own their homes. More than 60% live in a 4-room flats or larger.
Tremendous progress has been made.
Bright future for the children. Children can get good jobs and excel.
I would like to take this occasion to make another point. To be a successful community, there needs to be a vibrant next generation. Which brings us to the topic of Total Fertility Rate (TFR). What has TFR got to do here?
Like other communities in Singapore, Malay resident TFR is going down. It’s gone down from 1.85 in 2018, to 1.80 in 2019. It’s below the 2.1 replacement rate, so the Malay community is not replacing itself. Of course, the figures are even worse for the Chinese and the Indian communities, but that’s not a consolation. It’s difficult (for our country) to be successful if we don’t have children.
The Malay community continues to be at 15% of our citizen population. The Government has guaranteed that the proportion will be kept stable, citizen population. The Government has said the proportion of citizens would be kept stable, and it has remained stable at 15%.
The Government will continue to work and partner with the Malay/Muslim community to encourage excellence and success for all, and achieve better outcomes for all.
And the M3 initiatives under MUIS, MENDAKI and MESRA is an example of this partnership.
During this COVID-19 situation, the SG Teguh Bersatu Taskforce led by Minister Masagos, has brought together community partners and Government agencies to improve the last mile delivery of support measures in areas such as employment, upskilling, and mental health.
On the employment and upskilling front, Senior Minister of State Zaqy Mohamad is leading a workgroup comprising MENDAKI SENSE, the Singapore Malay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, NTUC, and other community partners, to coordinate the strategies outlined by the National Jobs Council, and to help those in the community to bounce back and prepare for a better future.
To date, MENDAKI SENSE has assisted over 3,500 Malay/Muslim job-seekers of whom more than 650 have been gainfully employed.
These are real, tangible outcomes, which can only be achieved with the support of the Malay/Muslim community and our partners on the ground.
We must build on our successes, and contribute to a thriving, integrated, vibrant Malay/Muslim community.
On that note, I would like to thank Berita Harian for inviting me to this event.
Berita Harian has been a responsible community partner, and has played an important role in enriching public discourse and strengthening the Malay/Muslim community tremendously since its founding in 1957.
Let me end by congratulating the award winners once again, and Berita Harian for a successful event.