PAP Seniors' Group calls for a memorial park in Fort Canning to honour Singapore's founders

Fort Canning Centre at Fort Canning Park. The PAP Seniors' Group has called for a memorial park to be located in the park to honour Singapore's founders.
Fort Canning Centre at Fort Canning Park. The PAP Seniors' Group has called for a memorial park to be located in the park to honour Singapore's founders.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The PAP Seniors' Group (PAP.SG) has called for a memorial park to be located in Fort Canning Park to honour Singapore's founders.

The advocacy group under the ruling People's Action Party submitted its recommendation to the Steering Committee in charge of canvassing views and coming up with a Founders' Memorial to honour Singapore's first generation of political leaders.

The Founders' Memorial Steering Committee was set up in April, a month after the death of founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.

The proposed memorial park could have artistic sculptures and features such as pools and landscaped gardens to allow visitors moments of reflection, said the PAP.SG on Friday.

It could also have spaces for exhibitions, talks and activities for children, it said.

But as far as possible, the exhibits and design should not feature personalised monuments to honour individuals or individual statues or busts, said PAP.SG in its proposal, released also to the media.

Explaining why it chose Fort Canning Park, PAP.SG said that there was sufficient space at Fort Canning to allow for the construction of a proper memorial that can accommodate large numbers of visitors, and also leave room for the memorial site to be expanded in the future.

The group also cited its public accessibility and its previous incarnation as a seat of political power as reasons behind their choice.

The monument should not simply honour individual leaders, but highlight half a century of state-building and nation-building that took Singapore from a struggling port city to a first world metropolis, the group added.

Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob, who chairs PAP.SG, said in a statement: "We believe that setting a memorial in an accessible, public park is a fitting tribute to the vision of Singapore as a garden city-state."

"The vision of a garden city encapsulates not only the efforts to enhance the quality of life in a small city-state but also embodies the ideals of inclusiveness, which our founders fought for with passion, all their lives," she added.

A spokesman for the Steering Committee thanked the PAP.SG for its proposal, and said that the ideas would be taken into account in its ongoing discussions.

"We appreciate all feedback and we aim to consult widely to develop a concept for a memorial that resonates with Singaporeans," the spokesman told The Straits Times.