The number of people applying for financial assistance through the Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (MUIS) has risen slightly over recent years, said Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, who is the Minister in charge of Muslim Affairs.
The number of applicants for zakat financial assistance has risen from 5,210 applicants in 2012, to 5,306 applicants in 2013 and 5,454 applicants in 2014. Dr Yaacob added that over this time period, MUIS approved an average of 99 per cent of applications each year.
Unsuccessful applicants might have sought help on matters for which MUIS does not have an assistance scheme. In such instances, MUIS would refer the applicants to the appropriate public agency, he added.
Dr Yaacob said the per capita income cap of the assistance scheme is decided based on the long-term sustainability of the scheme and how it supplements existing national assistance schemes such as ComCare.
With regards to enhancing services for needy families, Dr Yaacob said that MUIS regularly reviews the adequacy of its current financial assistance schemes and studies social trends and challenged faced by needy households. MUIS has also trained over 520 Mosque Befrienders to conduct regular home visits to long-term zakat recipients.