Singapore: New Muis chief executive says engagement, good governance are top priorities

Mr Kadir Maideen chief executive of Muis

SINGAPORE – Mr Kadir Maideen, 54, joined the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) in January this year in the thick of the Covid-19 pandemic, and one of the things he could not do was meet the many stakeholders in the Malay-Muslim communit face to face.

When he assumes his role next Monday (Nov 1) as chief executive of the statutory board that looks after the administration and interests of Singapore’s Muslim community, ramping up engagement will be one of his top priorities.

Mr Kadir spent 26 years at the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), where he had served as an assistant commissioner and been commander of the Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team.

His appointment to the head of the council has raised some eyebrows among detractors, who question his lack of religious credentials.

In response to this, Mr Kadir noted that the Office of the Mufti already gives religious guidance on policies, and Muis is essentially a statutory board, so those in leadership roles will need to perform administrative and governance functions.

He said: “I don’t think there is a need for a religious personality to helm Muis at this stage.”

He added that he hopes to ensure high standards of governance at the council.

He said: “One of the other things I wanted to also ensure internally within Muis is we maintain high standards of governance and accountability of our systems… This is one of the important things I have to look at.

“It’s already in there, and I think if I can do that, and the people in the organisation could follow suit, I think we have something good.”

Muis faced allegations of questionable halal certification practices and corruption in the past year, but an internal investigation determined that they were unfounded, and a probe by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau also concluded that there was no evidence of wrongdoing.

While he had not expected to be entrusted with the responsibility of helming Muis, Mr Kadir feels he is prepared for the role, not least because he has a good team at the council supporting him.

(edited version)