Mdm Halimah Yacob
Speaker of Parliament
Mr Mohd Saat Abdul Rahman
Editor, Berita Harian/Berita Minggu
Ladies and Gentlemen
A very good morning.
Thank you for joining us today on this special occasion for both AMP and BH in the launch of our book – 50 Defining Moments for the Malay/Muslim Community. I would like to extend my deepest appreciation to Mdm Halimah Yacob for taking time out of her busy schedule to be with us.
The idea for this book was borne out of a mutual desire for AMP and BH to put on record the successes and achievements of the Malay/Muslim community in Singapore since our nation’s independence 50 years ago. As we celebrate SG50, the book serves as a reminder of how far our community has come and how much we have contributed to the successes and achievements of our country.
Several years ago, AMP published a book on the chronological development of the Malay/Muslim community from 1819 to 1965. In commemoration of our Golden Jubilee, we thought it would be apt to publish this book as a continuation of our contribution to research into our community’s history.
This book pays tribute to the best in our community, be it individual, company or organisation – those who have made us proud as a community, and those who have left a mark in the community and country. In the course of evaluating which moments we wanted to include in the book, the Selection Committee had a tough time trying to shortlist just 50 moments. This speaks volumes of the community’s achievements in the past 50 years alone. If we had included our achievements before 1965, I think that would have been an insurmountable task for the Selection Committee.
The book showcases the community’s many firsts. In fact, many of the community’s firsts, were also Singapore’s first. For example, the community produced the first President of Singapore in 1965, Mr Yusof Ishak, and a year later, Singapore’s first Attorney-General, Professor Ahmad Ibrahim.
Of course, our achievements are not limited to the political arena. In 1983, Fandi Ahmad was the first Singaporean to play in a top Europe football league, and more recently, in 2006, Mardan Mamat became the first Singaporean golfer to win a European tour event.
The women in our community have also brought much pride to the community. Our Speaker of Parliament, Mdm Halimah Yacob, became the first female Speaker in the history of Singapore in 2013. In that same year, Mdm Zuraidah Abdullah became Singapore’s first female Senior Assistant Commander of the Singapore Police Force.
We have also made our mark in education, culture, military, and other areas. We have certainly much to be proud of.
Ladies and gentlemen
This is my last year as Chairman of AMP. In fact, I will be retiring in a matter of 5 days, at AMP’s Annual General Meeting this Saturday. In the 13 years that I have volunteered with AMP as Director and later as Chairman, I have seen how the community has evolved and developed. We had gone through some really tough times but our community is resilient and hardwired to face challenges head on. I am so proud of how much we have achieved and how far we have come as a community.
This book only highlights some of our achievements, not all. It certainly isn’t an exhaustive list. My only hope is that our community continue working hard towards a shared goal of creating a better future for ourselves and our children. And that this book will play a part in inspiring our children and future generations to continue giving to our community and country.
Before I end my speech, please let me put on record my appreciation to the team in AMP who worked under a very tight deadline to publish this book in time because they had wanted this book launched before I stepped down as Chairman. For that, I am thankful. My thanks also to the team in BH who made it possible. This book is our gift to the community. We hope you enjoy it.