Monday 3 September 2012

PM Lee calls on Malay Heritage Centre to reach out to all ethnic groups

By Saifulbahri Ismail, Channel NewsAsia, 1 Sep 2012

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said programmes and activities at the Malay Heritage Centre should remain relevant and promote a sense of ownership within the community.

And besides Malay youth, the outreach efforts must extend to other ethic groups as well.

Mr Lee made the point at the re-opening of the centre on Saturday morning.

The Malay Heritage Centre, located at Singapore's historic Kampong Gelam area, re-opens its doors to the public after a year of redevelopment works.

The upgraded centre will better showcase Malay culture to the community, other ethnic groups and foreign visitors.

Mr Lee said the centre must reach out to the community, and one important group is the young.

This is done through incorporating interactive elements and multimedia technology in its galleries to provide a more engaging experience.

On the national level, the centre reaches out to students by contributing to develop the Education Ministry's Primary Four Social Studies syllabus, which covers how the different communities in Singapore came together to build a country.

Mr Lee said the outreach efforts should not just be for Malay children but other ethnic groups too.

He said the centre can do its part in teaching young Singaporeans to appreciate the country's multi-cultural heritage from an early age.

This is so they understand Singapore's shared cultures and the importance of ethnic cohesion.

Mr Lee stressed that heritage institutions are the best way to preserve the rich cultures of ethnic groups, and strengthen the sense of belonging to Singapore.

The government will also continue to support such heritage institutions throughout Singapore.

"At my rally last week, I talked about memories and how essential they are to make Singapore our best home, and to defining our identity and who we are, and it's especially true in Singapore as our world and we ourselves modernise and change. So, I encourage and support the Malay community's efforts to retain our unique Singaporean Malay identity," said Mr Lee.

The centre will focus more on developing its programmes on two aspects.

Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts and Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs, said: "One obviously is educational, I think that's very important. Secondly, we must not forget it must be entertaining also. So, there are many things being planned throughout the year. We're trying to come out with a calendar, so there is some form of certainty to the public that at this time of the year you can expect something happening at the Malay Heritage grounds at Kampong Gelam area."

The revamped centre also features new permanent galleries that highlight Kampong Gelam as a starting point to explore the Malay community's history, culture and heritage.

More than 80 per cent of the artefacts have never been seen before.

The centre is offering free admission for this month, which will also see the launch of its inaugural Malay CultureFest.

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