Community Networks Key In Tackling Social Issues

At a ministerial community visit to Sembawang GRC yesterday (5 Aug), Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Indranee Rajah chatted with residents and others from nearby areas. During the time, Mr Mohammad Azahari Abdul Razak spoke about how his difficult family circumstances had led him into bad company. A former offender, he had been arrested for trafficking in heroin and sentenced to 20 years jail.

Asked how someone in his position could be helped, he said families in dire straits sometimes just need people to befriend and support them.

Ms Indranee said that what Mr Mohammad shared was insightful – which is that when we have families with difficulties, financial support is important, but that is not the key. The key is the moral support and all-round support in the community.

While the Government has put in place financial assistance programmes to help those in need, she added, “there’s much more room for community networks to be developed and for us to become more sophisticated about it, particularly when you’re talking about inequality and helping people to level up”.

Such networks can be modelled after the Community Network for Seniors scheme, which involves government bodies, voluntary welfare organisations and volunteers teaming up to visit seniors, suggested Ms Indranee.

Also with Ms Indranee were Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon and Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information, and Culture, Community and Youth Sim Ann. The three fourth-generation leaders had worked with the Member of Parliament for the area, Mr Amrin Amin, to speak with residents in small groups . 

Source: “Community networks also key to tackle social issues: Indranee” (The Straits Times, 6 August 2018)

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