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Another MUIS PR blunder this Ramdan: Marginalising migrant workers for Eid Prayers

Following the controversy of initially disallowing Qaryahs to conduct Terawih prayers at void decks and the non-observance of booking for prayers during Good Friday, MUIS has yet again found itself in another PR blunder this Ramadan.

A circular by the Singapore Bangladesh Society was uploaded by local rapper Subhas Nair on his Instagram account on 16 April 2023.

The circular titled “A Request from MUIS (Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura), to the Migrant Workers on the Day of EID Ul Fitre 2023” claimed that the organisation had been advised by MUIS to celebrate Eid “safely and responsibly” by performing the eid prayers at their respective dormitories.

(Credit Subhasmusic on Instagram)

“This will help to avoid overcrowding and road blockages and ensure the health, and safety of everyone”, the statement added.

Subhas responded by questioning the circular whether celebrating and praying would affect health and safety, and whether MUIS would accuse other groups of “overcrowding” and “road blockages” when they celebrate their own festivals.

(Credit Subhasmusic on Instagram)

The comments section of Subhas’s Instagram post was filled with users questioning MUIS’ position on seemingly marginalising and segregation migrant workers from the larger Muslim community.

(Top photos all credit Subhasmusic on Instagram)

MUIS’ official Instagram account was also filled by netizens questioning their stance regarding migrant workers praying at their dormitories.

(top photos credit on Instagram)

On the same day, MUIS responded to some of the comments that were made on their Instagram.

MUIS claimed that it was never their intention to discriminate Muslim migrant workers but the request was due to the limited spaces in mosques.

MUIS apologised for the “insensitive language” and “will do better”.

(photo credit on Instagram)

However, several users pointed out that MUIS was just copying and pasting its responses and was not being professional and dealing with the issue at hand.

(top photos credit on Instagram)

It was only the next day that MUIS officially published a “clarification on the Singapore Bangladeshi Society (SBS) memo”.

MUIS denied that Muslim Transient Workers were being restricted to their dorms for Hari Raya prayers.

Instead, MUIS stated that their approach was to provide a “range of choices” to their congregants and that MTWs will have access to mosques and additional prayer spaces at dorms and recreational centres.

The carousel also appended four photos of MTWs in the mosques without any context.

Even after the clarification was published, netizens were still unhappy at the statement as no proper apology was made..

One noted that the clarification was just a PR strategy at damage control.

(top photos credit Instagram)

Since then, there were no further updates on the matter and it seems that MUIS deemed this as case closed.

Over about a month, MUIS’s public relations and communications team has put out several blunders. And it came during the time where Muslims are spiritually charged in making the best of Ramadan.

If anything, all these issues should be a learning point for their communication team, and the organisation as a whole, to be an inclusive organisation that aims to provide a viable, safe and comfortable religious life for Muslims in Singapore.

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