Representing the Malay Community


By Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs and National Development

The People’s Action Party was established to build a better Singapore for all Singaporeans. Multi-racialism has been a part of the party’s makeup from the start. In fact, the blue circle in our logo stands for the unity of all races. We have always endeavoured to ensure that all voices are considered in our nation-building journey.

On top of this, our Constitution recognises the special position of the Malays, and commits the government to advancing the interests of the Malay-Muslim community and the Malay language. Hence, the Malay MPs and activists in the PAP have a greater duty to ensure the continual development of our community.

The Malay Affairs Bureau (MAB) of the PAP was formed in the same year as the Party itself, in 1954. Under the leadership of past Chairpersons Ahmad Ibrahim, Othman Wok, Ahmad Mattar, Abdullah Tarmugi, Yaacob Ibrahim and current Chairperson Masagos Zulkifli, the MAB represented the Malay-Muslim community’s views to the Party leadership and Cabinet. The MAB successfully supported and pushed for many policies such as the Mosque Building Fund, formation of self-help group Yayasan Mendaki and strengthening the Syariah Court.

Starting out as an activist and later as an MP, I have served alongside then-Minister Yaacob and currently, Minister Masagos. I have seen first-hand how the concerns of the community has directed their efforts in MAB. These include supporting the education of our young, strengthening families and marriages, promoting lifelong learning and professional development, upgrading mosques as well as developing Islamic education. The efforts of the government, Party and MAB over the years have meant that the education and income levels of the Malay-Muslim community have increased steadily. More importantly, the continual engagement with the community has helped us build strong connections with the ground and organise for the betterment of the community and country. MAB has forged a growing network of activists supporting the needs of the community. This is a crucial resource to understand how policies unfold on the ground and to provide feedback to the party leadership.

Over the years we have witnessed the rise of political participation from the Malay-Muslim community. MAB has thus built up a diverse pool of activists who wish to be more involved. Around the end of 2018, the MAB refined its structure to further empower rank-and-file activists. Now, more rank-and-file activists are represented and are taking significant roles in our Exco. The MAB is also conducting more outreach efforts together with PAP branches across the island. By empowering our activists and diversifying our engagement methods, we have further developed feedback channels to propose policies that would benefit our community and Singapore.

Malay youths are also becoming more vocal and engaged, with new challenges due to the changing domestic and global landscape. Therefore, we have established MAB Muda, led by young MPs Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim and Nadia Ahmad Samdin. MAB Muda is looking into new avenues and engagement to better represent the concerns of youths and develop their aspirations.  

Our activists and MPs will be sharing their views on issues affecting the Malay community in If you are passionate about the development of our community, look out for these pieces, events and dialogues.

The Malay-Muslim community has come a long way, since the country’s independence. The MAB will evolve to serve the needs of our community as it develops. At the heart of MAB’s future is the tenet on which it was founded: advocating for the community’s interests within the framework of Singapore’s racial and religious harmony.

Cover photo credit: MAB. Malay Members of Parliament and activists at a MAB dialogue in February 2019.