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Founders’ Memorial to be built at Bay East Garden

In a press release today (19 Oct), the Founders’ Memorial committee has declared that a five-hectare site at Bay East Garden will be allocated for the "home of the Founders’ Memorial". The memorial is to commemorate the values and ideals of Singapore’s pioneering PAP leaders.

The site will include a garden, within which an indoor gallery will be built including a visitor centre, the Founders’ Memorial committee said. The next stage of the development, which will span two years, will focus on the memorial's design and content.

The memorial will focus on stories and events in Singapore’s growth as a nation, the committee said, adding that it aims to take visitors on a journey that is “moving and inspiring, educational and reflective”.

"It intends to also capture the context for key milestones in Singapore’s nation-building history, the experiences and dilemmas of our leaders which shaped their values and principles, and how these affected their actions, policy deliberations and decisions," the committee added.

"The site at Bay East Garden will reflect Singapore’s journey as a nation through elements such as the panoramic view of the evolving cityscape, which is a nod to Singapore’s urban planning."

The memorial’s scope will cover the period before independence to the first few decades of Singapore’s independence. It's not known if David Marshall who was the founder of Workers' Party (WP) as well as Singapore's first Chief Minister from 1955 to 1956, will also be honored at the Memorial. David Marshall was instrumental in the many negotiations with the British when Singapore was still a colony.

More details of the memorial will be released in the future, the committee said.

Founders’ Memorial committee Chairman Lee Tzu Yang

The Founders’ Memorial committee is chaired by Lee Tzu Yang who was recently appointed as deputy chairman of Public Service Commission (PSC) in May this year.

He was appointed to lead the committee looking into building the memorial in 2015 after the death of PM Lee's father, Lee Kuan Yew, who was the first Singapore PM.

Then, PM Lee told Parliament shortly after his father's death:

"One idea that has been suggested is to have a memorial for all of the founding fathers, perhaps coupled with an exhibition gallery to honour their legacy and educate future generations. Indeed, Mr Lee himself had thought that there was value in such a memorial...

I have therefore asked Mr Lee Tzu Yang to chair a committee to gather views from the public, and conceptualise such a memorial for our founding fathers. He has agreed to do so. If the idea of a Founders’ Memorial finds resonance among Singaporeans, the committee will take the project further.

When I met Mr Lee Tzu Yang last week, he shared that in the week of National Mourning, he like many others was moved by the sense of solidarity. Everyone grieved together, and in our grief, looked out for one another – in the queues for the Lying-in-State, and along the streets as people bade farewell to Mr Lee in the rain. With time our grief will subside, but our unity should remain. If the memorial captured some of that same spirit, we will have succeeded.

I agreed with Mr Lee Tzu Yang. Let us focus our attention and energies on how best to achieve this, especially given Mr Lee’s longstanding views, and the wishes he expressed in his Will."