Founders' Memorial a reminder of values that underpinned Singapore's founding: Halimah Yacob

Madam Halimah (above) at Bay East Garden for a brisk walk to mark Mr Lee's first death anniversary. She said the PAP Seniors' Group prefers the Founders' Memorial to be built at Fort Canning Park (left) because the park is historically significant.
Madam Halimah (above) at Bay East Garden for a brisk walk to mark Mr Lee's first death anniversary. She said the PAP Seniors' Group prefers the Founders' Memorial to be built at Fort Canning Park because the park is historically significant. PHOTOS: LAU FOOK KONG, ST FILE
Madam Halimah (above) at Bay East Garden for a brisk walk to mark Mr Lee's first death anniversary. She said the PAP Seniors' Group prefers the Founders' Memorial to be built at Fort Canning Park (left) because the park is historically significant.
Madam Halimah at Bay East Garden for a brisk walk to mark Mr Lee's first death anniversary. She said the PAP Seniors' Group prefers the Founders' Memorial to be built at Fort Canning Park (above) because the park is historically significant.

It should remind people about values that underpinned Singapore's founding: Halimah

Fort Canning Park is historically significant, which is why the People's Action Party (PAP) Seniors' Group prefers the location for the Founders' Memorial.

Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob, in her capacity as chairman of the ruling party's seniors' wing, said she hoped the memorial will remind people about the values that underpinned Singapore's founding.

And Fort Canning has played an important role so "we want to remember what it stands for, what it means to our country, and how it has contributed to our history".

The PAP Seniors' Group had recommended last September that the memorial to honour Singapore's founding leaders be built at the park. It cited how it was previously a seat of political power.

In the 14th century, Singapore's former rulers had palaces on the hill there, and Sir Stamford Raffles built his first residence there soon after arriving in Singapore in 1819.

"There may be some access challenges, but if it's doable, that's one area that the Government should seriously consider," said Madam Halimah in response to questions from reporters.

A fortnight ago, the committee tasked with conceptualising the memorial made its recommendations to the Government, and indicated that while both sites had their merits, it preferred Bay East Garden at Gardens by the Bay over Fort Canning Park. The two sites had been identified in consultation with the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

Speaking to reporters following a brisk walk at Bay East Garden to mark the first anniversary of founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew's death, Madam Halimah said the Founders' Memorial is a "very useful project" to remind Singaporeans of the values that Mr Lee stood for, such as multiracialism, meritocracy, self-reliance and inclusivity.

Mr Lee died on March 23 last year, aged 91.

"To me, his greatest legacy is infusing in us a sense of pride: pride in being Singaporean," she said.

She added that while there have been numerous events marking the one-year anniversary, the point was not to glorify Mr Lee but to instead remind Singaporeans, especially the young, of how far the nation has come.

"It's not to glorify Mr Lee... but it's a great reminder to Singaporeans of how far we have come, but that our job is not done," she said. "We have to continue with the good work that Mr Lee and his generation of leaders have done, for another 50 years, or another one hundred years."

Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said at a separate remembrance event in Marine Parade that Mr Lee would have wanted Singaporeans to reflect on the values he stood for and to look to the future, instead of celebrating his death anniversary in a big way every year.

He also said, when asked by reporters, that he agreed with Mr Lee's daughter, Dr Lee Wei Ling, who said in a Facebook post on Friday that Mr Lee would not have wanted the anniversary to be an occasion for "hero worship".

Mr Goh also cited a commentary by Straits Times editor-at-large Han Fook Kwang on Sunday on what Mr Lee had to say about Singapore's future, saying: "Mr Lee was always focused on the future, and he would want life to carry on normally, and in fact, you know, for life to be even better after him.

"So that's the best way to remember him: build on Singapore."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 28, 2016, with the headline 'Founders' Memorial 'a reminder of key values''. Print Edition | Subscribe