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Speech by Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Minister for Finance, at The Assyakirin Family Day, on 17 Aug 2008, 10:35 am, at Assyakirin Mosque Auditorium

17 Aug 2008

Mr Suhaimi bin Mustar,
Mosque Executive Chairman,

Community Leaders,

Voluntary Welfare Organisations,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Thank you for inviting me to join in the annual Assyakirin Family Day.

2. This year's theme - "Education: For a Stronger Community", aptly describes two key objectives of today's event. The first is to raise funds for the Mosque's Education & Welfare Department, so as to support upgrading courses for families and also free tuition for their children. The second is to strengthen the sense of family and community - from free health screening for senior citizens, to forums and talks on managing familial relationships, to tournaments and competitions for children, there is something for everyone in the family who comes to the Assyakirin Family Day.

3. The main highlight of today's fundraising event is the segment called "Blow for Our Children's Future", whereby the mosque hopes to set a national record for gathering 2,000 people to blow balloons at the same time within one minute.

4. Through this activity, Assyakirin Mosque seeks to raise funds to provide more value-added programmes and social assistance. These will help to pave the way for a better future for the 1,200 students and 120 low-income families in the community that are currently being supported by the mosque.

5. It is events like these which remind us that we can all play a part in helping our fellow Singaporeans, be it making donations or simply by blowing a balloon. Every little bit counts.

6. Today's event is also an example of how our mosques have evolved from being a place of worship, to becoming an integral part of Singapore's social fabric. They are responsible for upholding their social and community responsibilities in the larger context of our multi-racial and multi-religious society such as caring for others, especially the less fortunate. The Assyakirin Mosque has been helping many families in the Taman Jurong and Jurong West Constituencies by providing them with food vouchers and school fee subsidies.

7. The active care and concern of the community also complements the Government's efforts to help the less fortunate overcome their difficulties and move to the same rhythm as the rest of our society.

8. I would like to commend Assyakirin Mosque as well as the various voluntary welfare organisations and self-help groups whose presence today is a testimony that in Singapore, we are ever ready to stand and work together for the common goal of enriching the lives of others in need.

9. I would also like to congratulate all sponsors, supporters, donors, volunteers, well-wishers and the Organising Committee for putting together a successful event. I wish them all the best in achieving the targets that they have set for today.

10. I wish you all the best in your attempt to set a record later!