REMARKS BY PRESIDENT TONY TAN KENG YAM AT THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE LEE KONG CHIAN NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM ON 18 APRIL 2015

Mr Teo Chee Hean
Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security and Minister for Home Affairs

Professor Tommy Koh
Ambassador-at-large

Mr Po’ad Mattar and Mr Ngiam Tong Dow
Pro-chancellors of National University of Singapore

Mr Wong Ngit Liong
Chairman, NUS Board of Trustees

Professor Tan Chorh Chuan
President of National University of Singapore

Distinguished Guests
Ladies & Gentlemen

I am happy to be here this morning to officiate the launch of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum.

The museum can trace its origins back to 1878 when the colonial government passed legislature to establish the Raffles Museum and Library.
The museum continued to add to its collections over the years.

I remember officiating the opening of the Zoological Reference Collection (ZRC) in 1988 when I was then Minister for Education, to bring all the collections under one institution and ensure that they were well managed.  NUS subsequently expanded the ZRC into a research facility and established the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research.

This facility had one of the most comprehensive collections of Singapore and Malayan animals in the region. I am pleased that the team in NUS has now set their sights on the next major step to make available to members of the public, the rich treasure trove of specimens from the natural environment of Singapore and around the region.

Driven by an unwavering belief in this cause, the NUS team, led by Professor Leo Tan and Professor Peter Ng, conceptualised and built this museum with the support of the community – adding a Family of Three dinosaurs’ fossils along the way!

Today, I am pleased to officiate the opening of the first natural history museum in South East Asia. The Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum is an excellent example of a ground-up initiative that brings together Singaporeans from all walks of life, to contribute to a worthwhile cause. This museum will serve to educate many generations of Singaporeans the importance of protecting our heritage and contribute to regional and global biodiversity research.

The development of the museum is an example of how with commitment, hard work, and the support of the community, Singaporeans can pursue their passions and make a difference to society. I would like to express my deep appreciation to all the donors for the gifts that enabled the University to build a new home for its natural history collection.

In particular, I would like to thank the Lee Foundation, ToteBoard, FarEast Organisation, Dr Lee Seng Gee, Dr Della Lee, a special group of donors who prefer to be anonymous and many of you who are here with us today. Through the Museum, you will make a huge impact on education and research in biodiversity and environmental studies for many years to come. With the continued support and generosity of sponsors like all of you, I have no doubt that the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum will grow to become a national icon that contributes to the preservation of our natural heritage for many more years to come.

Thank you.