The composer of the Singapore national anthem Zubir Said, the Republic's first woman Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob and footballer Fandi Ahmad were among the notable figures mentioned at the launch of a book on the Malay/Muslim community.
The 700-page Majulah! 50 Years Of Malay/Muslim Community In Singapore was launched by Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing at The Arts House yesterday.
Mr Chan took over as the event's guest of honour from Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, who remains in hospital after suffering a stroke during a Cabinet meeting earlier this month.
"I know that he would dearly like to have come here to give his support and affirmation to what the Malay and Muslim community has done in Singapore and for Singapore," said Mr Chan, who is also labour chief.
The launch was attended by some 100 guests including former President S R Nathan, Minister-in- charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim, Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Social and Family Development Faishal Ibrahim, labour MP Zainal Sapari, community leaders and foreign dignitaries.
The book, which traces the evolution of the Malay/Muslim community here and its progress in fields such as education and the arts, was published by World Scientific.
It is co-edited by former senior minister of state for foreign affairs Zainul Abidin Rasheed and Dr Norshahril Saat, a fellow at the Iseas-Yusof Ishak Institute.
Among its 41 contributors are current and former ministers and Members of Parliament, as well as community leaders and academics.
Noting that the history of the community stretches beyond 50 years and the founding of the Republic, Mr Chan said "one can never talk about the history of Singapore without talking about the Malay and Muslim contributions to modern Singapore".
The Malay/Muslim identity in Singapore is constantly evolving, and also forms part of the Singaporean identity, he added.
Dr Yaacob, the special guest at the event, said the book is an important effort on the part of the community to document its history, so that the next generation can build on the legacy created by pioneers.
The book is available at all major bookstores and retails at $68 for the hardcover edition and $37 for the paperback version.