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Commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s birth

Response to parliamentary question on whether the Government has plans to observe the 100th anniversary of Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s birth.

1.  As our founding Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew holds a special place in Singapore’s history.

2. 16 September this year will be the 100 th anniversary of Mr Lee’s birth. Many groups from the community – business leaders, the grassroots, academia, media to name a few – have come up with ideas to pay tribute to Mr Lee this year. They felt it was important to remember Mr Lee’s contributions to Singapore and the ideals he represented. They especially wanted to raise awareness of Mr Lee’s contributions amongst Singaporean youths, many of whom were very young or not yet born when Mr Lee stepped down from Cabinet.
3. Some ideas that have been suggested include conferences to examine Mr Lee’s legacy, publications drawing inspiration from Mr Lee’s values and life work, and activities to engage a new generation of Singaporeans on Mr Lee’s role in Singapore’s history. Some business leaders have also proposed setting up a fund for private donations that will go towards supporting educational causes. Education was a cause dear to Mr Lee’s heart and they felt the fund would be a fitting tribute to him.

4. The Government is working with these parties to coordinate these efforts. We welcome these ground up initiatives and the spirit in which they have been conceived.

5. On the Government’s part, some agencies have planned initiatives for this year, in which Mr Lee will feature. For example, the National Heritage Board has an ongoing travelling exhibition for the Founders’ Memorial, as part of a public call for artefacts and stories from our nation-building years. Later this year, they will have a more extensive exhibition at the National Museum on key historical milestones our founding leaders rallied our people through. This year also marks the 60th year of Singapore’s greening journey since Mr Lee launched the first tree planting campaign in 1963 and NParks will have various activities to mark this milestone. MAS will also be issuing a commemorative coin,later in the year, as a reminder of Mr Lee’s values and vision. The respective agencies will announce more details in due course.

6. As PM Lee said in his April 2015 Parliamentary Statement, how we honour Mr Lee “must be faithful to the ideals he lived by and fought for”. Efforts to mark the 100 th anniversary of Mr Lee’s birth should, as Mr Sitoh said, serve to remind us of the values Mr Lee stood for and the ideals he and his fellow founding leaders fought for. Through such efforts, we hope that a new generation of Singaporeans will be inspired, and continue the work of our Pioneer and Merdeka generations in nation building.
Last updated on 07 February 2023