Year 2003

Biopolis Launched

Wednesday, 29th October 2003

The ‘Biopolis’ at Buona Vista was launched. This 185,000 square metre state-of-the-art biomedical research hub reflects Singapore's commitment and vision to be a focal point for scientific talent and research.

Singapore honours top talent with Honorary Citizen award

Monday, 27th October 2003

Dr Sydney Brenner (Nobel Laureate) and Mr Pasquale Pistorio (CEO of STMicroelectronics) were conferred Singapore's highest award for global talent as recognition of their outstanding contributions to developing the biomedical and semiconductor industries in Singapore. This first Honorary Citizen award ceremony was held at the Istana on 27 October 2003. It will mark the first time Singapore is conferring such high honours on global talent. According to the government spokesperson, "Singapore must stay connected and open to the world in order to be relevant and to flourish. We have to attract the best people, with the best ideas to Singapore so that we can continue to enlarge the economic pie."

The Esplanade Opened

Sunday, 12th October 2003

The Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay officially opened. The opening of this new and major venue for the arts is a reflection of Singapore’s aim and vision of becoming a global city for the arts.

New National Library Project Started

Friday, 15th August 2003

Dr. Lee Seng Gee repeated history when the Lee Foundation he chaired gave S$60 million to the National Library Board. On 15th Aug 2003, Dr. Lee, the son of Mr. Lee Kong Chian, the the foundation stone for the New National Library Project exactly 50 years after his father did the same.

Siamese twins undergo surgical separation

Sunday, 6th July 2003

Iranian twin sisters, Laleh and Ladan Bijani, 29, were the world's first adult Siamese twins to undergo surgical separation in Singapore. The twins, who were born conjoined at their heads, however did not survive the 52-hour marathon operation which started on 6 July, dying within hours of each other on 8 July 2003. News of the twins' deaths was received with shock, grief and sadness by Singaporeans and Iranians alike. On 10 July 2003 Ladan and Laleh's bodies were flown back to Iran. Thousands of mourners lined the 10 km streets leading to the twins' birthplace of Lohrasb, where they were finally laid to rest on 12 July 2003.

Change In CPF Minimum Sum Scheme

Tuesday, 1st July 2003

The CPF Minimum Sum (MS) of $80,000 is the amount you have to set aside, in your Retirement Account (RA), for retirement needs in the Minimum Sum Scheme (MSS). It need not be all in cash. Up to 50 per cent of this sum can be a property pledge ($40,000). Your RA is set up when you reach 55 and it comprises savings from your Ordinary and Special accounts. The Minimum Sum amount will adjusted annual at a rate of about 5% per year. According to government statistics, only 40% of workers were able to meet the requirement upon reaching 55 years old.

Singapore's OK, Our Town Sparkles Programme

Sunday, 29th June 2003

The Singapore's OK - Our Town Sparkles programme, launched on 29 June. The aim of the campaign is to create awareness and a sense of ownership among residents, and that a community effort is needed to keep the blocks clean. Under this campaign, blocks that pass the cleanliness test for public areas commonly plagued by litter are awarded the "sparkle" sticker that the residents can proudly stick at their lift lobbies.

MRT North East Line Opened For Commuters

Friday, 20th June 2003

The North East MRT Line (NEL) is the third Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) line in Singapore was opened for commuters in Singapore.

Two Students Flew In F-16s

Saturday, 24th May 2003

Two students from the Singapore Youth Flying Club (SYFC), 18-year old Gabriel Yam and 20-year old Matthew Foo, flew on the F-16 fighter jet. This was the first time that the RSAF provides a familiarisation flight on the F-16 fighters.

Singapore's OK Campaign

Thursday, 1st May 2003

The 'Singapore's OK' (SOK) campaign was launched by NEA  (National Environment Agency) to promote the widespread adoption of good hygiene and public health practices. The 'Singapore's OK' campaign is a voluntary scheme that allows all sectors of Singapore society to participate so as to show their commitment towards adopting good hygiene practices for good public health. This is in line with the emphasis of shared ownership for the environment. Within a month, the campaign was extended to cover eight categories of premises and one for the general community. One of the eight categories of premises was public toilets.

ST Aerospace To Conduct RSAF TWC

Wednesday, 23rd April 2003

ST Aerospace was awarded a five-year contract to provide the RSAF training for its trainee pilots until they became full-fledged transport pilots. The six months course teaches pilot trainee to fly in a Beechcraft King Air C90GTi aircraft.

Courage Fund Setup

Friday, 11th April 2003

The Courage Fund was set up as a fund-raising effort to provide relief to SARS victims and healthcare workers.

SARS Outbreak

Thursday, 13th March 2003

The SARS, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, outbreaks was traced to a 23 year-old female Singaporean traveler returning from Hong Kong on 25 February 2003. In all, SARS has killed 25 Singaporeans and infected 173 more over the next two months. From March to May 2003, SARS raged in Singapore. Schools were closed. The Pasir Panjang wholesale vegetable market was closed off. Visitors stopped coming to Singapore. Changi Airport was deserted. Shopping malls and restaurants emptied out. The economy took a terrible hit as many businesses folded. Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong told Singaporeans the SAR outbreak costed the country about $1 billion. Update: On 6 May 2003, CDC Lowers SARS Travel Warnings for Singapore. On 31 May, the World Health Organization declared Singapore SARS-free.

F-35 JSF For Singapore Air Force

Sunday, 23rd February 2003

The Singapore Ministry of Defence and the United States Department of Defense signed a Letter of Intent this morning to mark Singapore’s intention to participate in the System Design and Development Phase of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) programme. The arrangement provides an early opportunity to assess the JSF’s ability to meet the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s operational requirements. Singapore will have insights into the JSF’s development progress and be able to conduct studies for integration of Singapore’s requirements into the JSF. As an SCP, Singapore can also request early purchase of the JSF for delivery from 2015 onwards and will probably replaces the F-16 by 2020.

NEWater Launched

Friday, 21st February 2003

NEWater was launched by PM Goh. NEWater is a recycled water that has been treated and purified using advanced technologies. NEWater ensures that we in Singapore have enough clean drinking water in the future.

City Harvest Church Allegations Retracted

Saturday, 25th January 2003

53-year-old Businessman, Mr Roland Poon Swee Kay, withdraws allegations about City Harvest Church (CHC) and singer Ho Yeow Sun (Sun Ho AKA Geisha), after issued four half-page apologies in The Straits Times, Lianhe Zaobao, Lianhe Wanbao and Shin Min Daily News and a fifth apology appeared in The New Paper. In all, they cost $33,372.06. Two weeks ago, Mr Roland Poon Swee Kay contacted the press to complain about what he said were improper financial practices by Rev Kong Hee and his wife.

The Majestic reopened as a shopping centre

Friday, 17th January 2003

The Majestic which was originally built as a theatre fro Cantonese opera performance in 1928 was reopened as a shopping centre.

RSS Courageous Mid-Sea Accident

Friday, 3rd January 2003

Singapore Navy RSS Courageous and merchant M/V ANL Indonesia, South Korea, collided off Pedra Branca injuring 8 navy crew & killing 4 female crew sleeping in quarters at time of collision.

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