SG50 note to recall Mr Lee's 'merdeka' moment

SG50 note to recall Mr Lee's 'merdeka' moment

The late Lee Kuan Yew will be featured on a new commemorative $50 note that is already in production, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in Parliament yesterday.

The note will feature a transparent panel showing Mr Lee with fist raised, leading the crowd with the rallying cry of "Merdeka!" which means "freedom" in Malay.

The design was finalised last year.

The $50 note is part of an SG50 commemorative set of notes that capture significant achievements in Singapore's history, and the values and aspirations that underpin the country's progress. The set includes five $10 notes.

"We had hoped that Mr Lee would launch the commemorative set of notes himself. Sadly, that is not to be," said PM Lee.

"But we have decided to continue with the project and will launch the notes later this year. They will form part of our SG50 celebrations, which will honour our founders even as we pledge ourselves to continue their work," he said.

PM Lee added that printing Mr Lee's image on Singapore's currency notes and coins, which MPs Foo Mee Har (West Coast GRC) and Lily Neo (Tanjong Pagar GRC) suggested, "is certainly something we can consider for the future".

In response to a suggestion by Dr Neo that Changi Airport be renamed after Mr Lee, given his decisive role in relocating the airport from Paya Lebar to Changi, PM Lee reiterated that these decisions should not be rushed, but should be made over adequate time so that future generations do not regret any such moves.

Ms Foo had also suggested that a Founder's Day be designated to honour Singapore's founding generation of leaders.

"These are all good ideas. But we should not rush into making decisions on this matter, especially so soon after Mr Lee has passed away.

"We should allow some time to pass, consider the ideas carefully, and make calm, considered decisions which will stand the test of time," said PM Lee.

"We want to honour Mr Lee, but we must do so in the right way."

PM Lee urged Singaporeans to honour Mr Lee in ways which are "faithful to the ideals he lived by and fought for".

"Mr Lee lived his life for Singapore, not for himself. Let us take time to consider the best way to honour his memory, in a way that is in keeping with his ideals," PM Lee concluded.

"In remembering the past, we must also look to the future. Whatever memorial we decide upon should not only be right for Singaporeans living today, but also for generations not yet born.

"The memorial should reflect and strengthen in all of us our sense of what it means to be a Singaporean, why Singapore is worth striving and fighting for, and how we can continue to build a harmonious and successful Singapore for future generations." 

This article by The Straits Times was published in MyPaper, a free, bilingual newspaper published by Singapore Press Holdings.

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