SINGAPORE – The late pioneer Cabinet minister Othman Wok was remembered by Muslims at prayers on Friday (April 21) in mosques across the island.
Mr Othman, who died on Monday (April 17) at the age of 92, received special mention in the second sermon for his contributions to racial harmony in Singapore.
“Racial harmony does not come easy. It requires courage, countless sacrifices, and careful planning from various individuals and community leaders. Among those who have significantly contributed to the growth and development of this nation is the late Mr Othman Wok,” the sermon said.
“His efforts in spearheading the development of multiracial policies have established Singapore as a successful pluralistic society.”
Mr Othman was the first Malay Cabinet minister in independent Singapore and was committed to multiracialism, despite intense pressure from Malay supremacists in the 1960s.
In the sermon, which was prepared by the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) to be delivered by imams at all 71 mosques in Singapore, worshippers were reminded of their role in preserving the peace that Mr Othman worked to build.
“Maintaining peace and harmony is especially crucial for a country with a multiracial society like Singapore. As such, it is imperative that we continue playing our roles in ensuring the preservation of peace and harmony that we have so enjoyed thus far,” the sermon said.
The racial riots of the 1960s are a reminder of the importance of socio-religious harmony, and maintaining this is a shared national responsibility, not just that of the country’s leaders, the sermon also said.
“We need to ensure that future generations have the opportunity to enjoy the peace and harmony that we have so inherited… May the efforts of the late Mr Othman Wok spark interest in our hearts and the future generations to contribute to the betterment of our state and religion,” it added.
Mr Othman received a state-assisted funeral, and was buried at Choa Chu Kang Muslim Cemetery on Tuesday. A memorial service was held in his honour on Wednesday at Victoria Concert Hall.
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