The ruling People’s Action Party (PAP)’s decision to introduce a new rendition of Majulah Singapura, Singapore’s National Anthem, is “another sign of the PAP’s total disdain and disregard for the common Singaporean”, charged lawyer and People’s Voice Party chief Lim Tean.
“There was no advance notice, no consultation whatsoever by this government … on a matter that is as important as our National Anthem, which is the embodiment of our national identity as a nation and as a people,” Lim said, as seen in a Facebook video posted on Mon (2 Dec).
“Countries very rarely ever change their flag and national anthem. New Zealand did it quite recently, but that was after a national referendum.
“And yes, you can have a change of national anthem after a major political upheaval, like what happened in South Africa after the end of apartheid,” he added.
Lim stressed, however, that it is not right for the Government to “impose” its own version of “a revered anthem” without consulting the people of Singapore beforehand.
He added that People’s Voice Party will neither change Singapore’s National Anthem nor “impose a Reserved Presidency like what the PAP did without a national referendum”.
The new rendition of Majulah Singapura, which means Onward Singapore, will be a part of celebrations marking the 60th anniversary of the Republic’s national symbols — namely the National Anthem, the state crest and flag.
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu told reporters on the sidelines of the One Community Fiesta carnival at Jurong Lake Gardens on Sun (1 Dec) that the new version by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra will be revealed on Tue (3 Dec) as part of the ceremony to commemorate the aforementioned state symbols.
A spokesperson for the Ministry for Culture, Community and Youth told The Straits Times that the new rendition will be based upon the 2001 musical arrangement by composer and Cultural Medallion winner Phoon Yew Tien.
Composed by the late Zubir Said in 1958, Majulah Singapura was adapted slightly in 1959 after Singapore had attained self-governance, before it was introduced as Singapore’s National Anthem on 3 Dec 1959.
Stating that the introduction of Singapore’s national symbols was a significant moment for the Republic as a young nation, Ms Fu said: “I think 60 years on, Singaporeans are wearing the flag proudly. They are singing the Anthem proudly.”
“Right now, our Team Singapore athletes are wearing the flag on their sleeves, proudly representing Singapore, and if they win, they will be on the podium and the National Anthem will be played,” she added, referring to the SEA Games in Manila.
“Listening to the Anthem, whether you’re in Singapore or when you’re overseas, brings along the emotions of being one with one another and with the country,” said Ms Fu.