Singapore

Road in new Bidadari estate to be named after Malay school

Sang Nila Utama Secondary School played key role in Malay education: DPM

A road in the upcoming Bidadari estate, located next to the site of the former Malay-medium Sang Nila Utama Secondary School (SNU), will be named Sang Nila Utama Road, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced yesterday.

"This is something that the Malay community has been asking for because of the important role that Sang Nila Utama Secondary School played in developing Malay education in Singapore," said Mr Heng, speaking at a reunion for alumni and former teachers of the school and Tun Seri Lanang Secondary School (TSL), the first two Malay-medium secondary schools here.

Also, a part of the new Heritage Walk within the Bidadari estate will be named Sang Nila Utama Boulevard, Mr Heng said. This was previously Upper Aljunied Road, which has been pedestrianised. It will run through the new Bidadari Park, with a series of storyboards placed along the boulevard to recount Bidadari's past.

At the reunion event at Orchard Hotel, which was attended by around 850 people, Mr Heng noted that former MPs Wan Hussin Zoohri, 82, and Yatiman Yusof, 73, had helped to advocate for the naming of the road, writing to some in the Government about the significance of having such a marker.

Mr Wan Hussin was a vice-principal of SNU and a principal of TSL, while Mr Yatiman was an SNU student.

Mr Heng said: "The Ministry of National Development and the Street and Building Names Board considered the matter carefully, taking into account the contributions of Sang Nila Utama, and I am glad that they have agreed to the new road name."

He added that this bicentennial year is also about commemorating Palembang prince Sang Nila Utama, who is said to have founded Singapura in 1299.

SNU, which was in Upper Aljunied Road, was established in 1961, while TSL in Mountbatten Road was officially opened in 1963. The opening of the two schools was a significant milestone in the development of Malay education, which had made little progress under British colonial rule.

However, both schools closed by the late 1980s after enrolment declined. The SNU building was demolished to make way for the new Bidadari estate, while the TSL campus has been renamed Goodman Arts Centre.

Currently, Tun Seri Lanang, widely credited as the author of the Malay Annals, is remembered through the prestigious Tun Seri Lanang Award, one of the highest awards for Malay literature in Singapore.

Education