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Redditors decry S$236 million spending on overpriced Founders’ Memorial

Construction of the S$236 million Founders’ Memorial has sparked debate among Redditors, with many criticizing the expense as excessive and unnecessary, noting late Lee Kuan Yew wouldn’t have wanted such a monument.

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On 5 June 2024, Senior Minister Lee Hsien Loong led the groundbreaking ceremony for the Founders’ Memorial at Bay East Garden.

Held on the anniversary of the swearing-in of Singapore’s first self-governing Cabinet in 1959, the event marked the commencement of a project dedicated to the nation’s founding leaders. Scheduled to open in 2028, the memorial will offer visitors integrated gallery and garden experiences.

SM Lee highlighted the memorial’s purpose: “Our nation-building journey deserves to be commemorated and remembered.”

He further described the future role of the memorial: “It will tell the story of how they overcame the odds to build a strong, united, and independent Singapore; how they led the people of Singapore through successive battles first against colonialism, then communism, and finally communalism; and how they then built a nation based on the values and ideals embodied in the pledge, launching us on the journey that has led to the Singapore we see today.”

The idea of a Founders’ Memorial was first floated publicly by SM Lee in April 2015, following the passing of his father, Lee Kuan Yew (LKY), in March of that year.

SM Lee noted that while LKY was opposed to a personality cult forming around him, the suggestion had been made to honour all founding fathers with a memorial, possibly coupled with an exhibition gallery to celebrate their legacy and educate future generations.

To this end, Mr Lee Tzu Yang was tasked with chairing a committee to gather public opinions and conceptualize a memorial for these pivotal figures.

On 7 August 2017, after extensive public consultation involving over 32,000 people, the 15-member committee—formed in June 2015—recommended that the Founders’ Memorial be sited at Bay East Garden.

The committee’s key findings emphasized that Bay East Garden’s park setting and proximity to water ideally reflected Singapore’s identity as a “Garden City”. Initially, the committee suggested that the memorial open to the public by 2025, aligning with Singapore’s 60th year of independence, although the timeline has since been adjusted to 2028.

However, a Reddit post following the announcement revealed that the cost of the memorial’s construction is S$235.6 million, a detail that has stirred public debate over the cost involved in building such a monument.

A permit record from the Building and Construction Authority (BCA), released in March 2024, listed the price of the memorial at S$235,660,000. A subsequent check on Gebiz’s past records confirmed that the tender for the construction was awarded to Kim Seng Heng Engineering Construction (Pte) Ltd on 15 February 2024 for S$235,660,000.

This substantial expenditure has ignited a flurry of criticism on Reddit, with many questioning the allocation of taxpayer money. Comments included concerns such as, “Really waste of taxpayers’ hard-earned money to build another park! Why can’t they just rename Gardens by the Bay as Founders Park? Each of those giant tree structures can represent the founders and also LHL since he loves it so much.”

Another comment highlighted, “No money to pay NSFs. Have $235 million to build something for LKY that he already said he doesn’t want.”

Another user added, “With all these expenses, it’s hard to believe we actually need a 9% GST,” while someone else noted, “We needed the GST for this.”

When Parliament decided to hike the GST to 9%, Finance Minister Lawrence Wong — who is now the Prime Minister — stated that the increase was intended to bridge the gap between revenue and expenditure until 2030, arguing against the suggestions from the opposition that deferring the upcoming GST hike would only ‘store up more problems’ for the future.

Another concern raised was, “Doesn’t even include the cost of maintenance or the cost of building an entire MRT station and MRT line out to such a remote place.”

The reference was to the Founders’ Memorial MRT station, which is planned to be built near the memorial, primarily serving it and possibly the Marina Bay Golf Course.

One lamented the allocation of funds for the monument, saying, “I wish they spent some of the money to make the MRT more resilient or pour it into finding ways to make HDB more affordable with reasonable quality. but nah, let’s make an overpriced monument”

Perhaps the comment that captures the broader perspective is this: “Well, Singaporeans gave the green light in the last election for the current government to carry out that failed 556M IU and SimplyGo plan, to name a few. Don’t complain.”

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Dear LHL,
do you also want a niche to put LKY ashes there for display?
He is not our founder in case you got your history mixed up. He was just a power hungry malicious dog that jailed his opponents or anyone who opposed him.
So why spend the citizens money venerating a dead man?

Hmm… and how many of these “redditors” who were eligible to vote last year, selected the Pineapple? You gave them the mandate, now didn’t you. The ruling government floated the idea a year or two ago, if I recall. No use complaining now. Instead I will provide some suggestions to make this “Founders’ Memorial” a better structure. First swap the boring grass “roof lawn” with a Pineapple farm. In the gardens surrounding the structure, some cotton trees and shrubs should be planted too. Lastly, have one or two sheep roaming around to graze on any tall grasses or weeds that… Read more »

Last edited 6 days ago by Blankslate

They endow themselves with God mode mah. Top elite plus Mega Star status backed by alliances. Then spawn clones in 2nd and 3rd realms to checkmate others. No?!?

Like the song” some of them want to use you … Some of them wanna be used by you ..”

With the usual “further add ons” which will probably run into additional millions, … I do hope they’ve made “provisions”, ie space and availability, .. to include images, articles and who knows, perhaps a statue of the DishonourableOne and the nations adored ElectricalEngineer at some later juncture in the not too distant future !!! Since the period of dedication and memorial has been agreed upon, by only the few of course, as they al~ways decide what’s right and best for the entire nation, … there’s obviously no room for the actual founder of this, … once upon a time sleepy… Read more »

How come it’s not PM Wong doing the ground breaking ceremony? Does it mean SM Lee still holding the steering wheel?

And who are the beneficiaries of such high budgeted project? Any connection with CCC or RC like quite a few others we have seen awarded juicy projects

Come all ye followers,
Come, worship at the temples of the Pharaohs.
Read the hieroglyphics that exalt the successes of the man-gods.
See, how great they have made this land!
May they and their descendants be glorified for eternity!

LHL wont let his papa rest in peace….its a curse.
Another memorial should be in place for all the pioneer generation , the early settlers etc, who slogged to build SG in those early years..
The Founding Leaders couldnt have done it without
them…

All citizens must surely know by now that the ruling party just spends our monies as they deem fit. LW himself refused to tell us what was the GST increase for. Now as 80% is struggling with food costs, they are ground breaking for a Founders Park. Vertical farming failure. Alternative meat manufacturing, failure. Simply Go failure. Just put a statue under the metallic trees of whoever they want at Gardens by the Bay and end it. They never give the returns on all this billion dollar projects. LHL is like a little kid using our monies to build all… Read more »

Hmmm, the redditors is expecting a u-turn in this construction?

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