100th anniversary of Lee Kuan Yew's birth to be commemorated with MAS coin, other initiatives

Lee Kuan Yew was born in 1923, a century ago.

Tan Min-Wei | February 07, 2023, 01:12 PM

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On Feb 7, Minister for Manpower Tan See Leng, answering for Minister of Culture, Community, and Youth Edwin Tong, set out in Parliament the government and grassroots plans for commemorating the 100-year anniversary of the birth of Singapore's first Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew.

Grassroots and ground-up

Lee Kuan Yew was born on September 16, 1923, and 2023 marks 100 years since the year of his birth.

Tan said that Lee had a special place in Singapore's history, and that many groups from the community such as business leaders, grassroots, academia, and the media, have come up with ideas to pay tribute to Lee and his ideals.

Tan said that these groups aimed to raise awareness among Singapore's youth of Lee's contributions, as they were too young to experience it first hand.

The various groups had suggested several ways to commemorate the occasion, such as conferences, publications, and activities to examine Lee's legacy, values, and life work, and engage youth on Lee's role in Singapore's history.

Tan said that some business leaders have proposed a fund for private donations that would support educational causes, which they felt would be a fitting tribute for Lee as "education was a cause dear to Mr Lee's heart".

The government is working with these groups to coordinate efforts, and such ground up initiatives are welcome.


Some government agencies have planned initiatives for this year.

The National Heritage Board has an ongoing travelling exhibition for the Founder's Memorial, as part of a public call for artifacts and stories from Singapore's nation-building years.

Later in the year, they will be holding a "more extensive" exhibition at the National Museum on "key historical milestones our founding leaders rallied our people through."

NParks will also hold various activities to mark the 60th year of Singapore's Greening Campaign. Lee had launched Singapore's first tree planting campaign in 1963.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore would also be issuing a commemorative coin later in the year, "as a reminder of Mr Lee's values and vision".

These agencies would announce more details "in due course".


Tan ended by saying that efforts to mark the anniversary should serve to remind Singaporeans of the values and ideals Lee and his fellow founding leaders stood and fought for.

Through such efforts, he hoped that a new generation of Singaporeans would continue the previous generation's work of nation building.

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Top image via TENGKU BAHAR/Getty Images & MCI/YouTube