New civic centre at Geylang Serai to open in 2018

(From left) Associate professor Fatimah Lateef, ESM Goh Chok Tong, Dr Maliki Osman, Mr Tan Chuan-Jin and Mr Seah Kian Peng at the ground-breaking ceremony for Wisma Geylang Serai, which will open in 2018.
(From left) Associate professor Fatimah Lateef, ESM Goh Chok Tong, Dr Maliki Osman, Mr Tan Chuan-Jin and Mr Seah Kian Peng at the ground-breaking ceremony for Wisma Geylang Serai, which will open in 2018.PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN

SINGAPORE - Residents at Geylang Serai can expect a new civic centre come 2018, as work will start on the new Wisma Geylang Serai after a ground-breaking ceremony on Sunday morning.

The project, developed by the People's Association, will house the new Geylang Serai Community Club, the South East Community Development Council office, a Malay Heritage Gallery and arts facilities, along with senior care, childcare and family service centres.

Located where the Malay Village used to stand before the heritage attraction shut in 2011, the five-storey, 10,000 sq m centre is intended to be a community hub for the area which reflects Geylang Serai's rich local heritage.

It is estimated to cost $55 million and is part of a multi-agency effort including the Ministry of National Development, National Arts Council, Ministry of Social and Family Development, Ministry of Health, National Arts Council and National Heritage Board.

Speaking to reporters after the ground-breaking ceremony, Mayor for South East District Dr Maliki Osman said the centre was originally slated to open in 2017, but was delayed to 2018 as the design reviews had to go through the approval of all stakeholders before construction could proceed.

"Because there were many stakeholders, we needed to make sure that everybody's space that is to be allocated makes full utilisation of the space that we have," said Dr Maliki, who is also Minister of State for National Development and Defence.

"It took a bit of time to ensure that the needs of all the different stakeholders are met. It's a little bit longer than what we had hoped for, but nonetheless I'm very happy that today we're able to ground break and that the community can look forward to a brand-new hub."

The ceremony was officiated by guest of honour Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, along with three other MPs for Marine Parade GRC, which Geylang Serai falls within - Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin, Associate Professor Fatimah Lateef and Mr Seah Kian Peng.

lesterh@sph.com.sg