News Release 

Beyond Singapore's bicentennial

We need to do more than reminiscence history

World Scientific


IMAGE: This book aims to move readers to reflect not only on the 200 years of history since the arrival of Raffles, but also the centuries that preceded the year 1819... view more 

Credit: World Scientific

"This is a timely publication, which commenced as Singapore was celebrating our bicentennial, and launched while Singapore is battling COVID-19, one of the biggest challenges of our generation. It is my hope that the stories of our forefathers will serve as an inspiration to Singaporeans today, and a reminder that by staying united as a people and cohesive as a society, Singapore will be able to overcome any challenges it may face."

~ Halimah Yacob President of the Republic of Singapore

How much do you know about Singapore's history? Just the abridged narrative retold to tourists or in old school introductory social studies lessons? The recently-concluded Singapore Bicentennial commemoration has affirmed Singapore was not a sleepy fishing village when Stamford Raffles first set foot on its shores. How can the past still be relevant to this and future generations? What can the past teach us?

Edited by Zainul Abidin Rasheed (Former Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Community Leader), Wan Hussin Zoohri (Former Member of Parliament and Community Leader), and Norshahril Saat (Fellow at ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, Singapore), Beyond Bicentennial: Perspectives on Malays hopes to heighten readers' sense of Singapore's real history and the role and place of the Malay/Muslim community in it.

This formidable collection of 45 essays from prominent individuals and academicians aim to move readers to reflect not only on the 200 years of history since the arrival of Raffles, but also the centuries that preceded the year 1819 -- all the way to 1299 when Sang Nila Utama first set foot on the island, Singapura (Lion City).

Beyond Bicentennial is not a history book and should not be read as such. Its objective is to document the different views on the Malays, and to call on readers to reflect and re-examine the position and contributions of the Malays to Singapore's history and its development.

Neither is it just for the Malay/Muslim community. Beyond Bicentennial is for all Singaporeans. It provides an opportunity to explore how the past of one community has also shaped all of us, and how each of us and our multi-racial and multi-religious communities are connected and intertwined with one another. It highlights some of the key values that have held well for our forefathers, values that will continue to be important to current and future generations of Singapore. These values are becoming more relevant now as Singapore battles Covid-19. This global pandemic has not only put the resilience of this generation to the test but just like generations before, they will show the courage and togetherness to overcome the challenges.

We live in complex times and the history we went through, was even more so. The more we understand each other's minds, fears, aspirations, challenges, and even more importantly, how we can and need to work together for our Singapore, the better our future.

The book retails for US$78 / £70 (paperback) and US$138 / £120 (hardcover) at major bookstores and online. To order or know more about the book visit

About the Editors

Zainul Abidin Rasheed is the former Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Community leader. He is currently Singapore's Ambassador to the State of Kuwait (non-resident). He is a member of Nanyang Technological University's (NTU) Board of Trustees. Prior to his retirement from politics, he served as a Member of Parliament (MP) from 1997 to 2011. Mr Zainul has also held various key positions in government service and the media industry. He was Editor of Berita Harian for 20 years and The Sunday Times for five years, served as President of the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) and was Chief Executive Officer of the Council for the Development of Singapore Malay/Muslim Community (Yayasan MENDAKI). Mr Zainul's extensive knowledge and vast experience have contributed significantly to Singapore's international relations with the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia. Mr Zainul was also the Mayor of the Northeast Community Development Council District (2001-2009) and Chairman of the Malay Heritage Foundation (2003-2010).

Wan Hussin Zoohri started his career as a teacher in 1957. He was appointed school Principal in 1974 and Senior Inspector of Schools in 1978. In 1980, he was elected as Member of Parliament. He retired from politics in 1991. He is active in community service since 1970. He was the Secretary-General of Singapore Malay Teachers' Union (1971-1975) and Deputy President (1976-1978). He served as President of Prophet Muhammad's Birthday Memorial Scholarship Fund (LBKM) Board for 17 years from 1995-2012. He served as Chairman of Tabung Amal Aidilfitri Trust Fund from 2003-2008. He is now the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Al-Zuhri Institute of Higher Learning. He was awarded the Public Administration Medal (Pingat Pentadbiran Awam -- PPA) in 1978.

Dr Norshahril Saat is a Senior Fellow at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, and is the Chairman of the Malay Heritage Foundation (MHF). In June 2015, he was awarded a PhD in International, Political and Strategic Studies by the Australian National University (ANU). In 2018, he published three books: The State, Ulama, and Islam in Malaysia and Indonesia (Amsterdam University Press); Tradition and Islamic Learning: Singapore Students in the Al-Azhar University (ISEAS Publishing); and edited Islam in Southeast Asia: Negotiating Modernity (ISEAS Publishing). His earlier books include Faith, Authority and the Malays: The Ulama in Contemporary Singapore; Majulah! 50 years of Malay/Muslim Community in Singapore (co-edited with Zainul Abidin Rasheed); and Yusof Ishak: Singapore's First President. His articles have recently been published in journals such as Asian Journal of Social Science, Contemporary Islam: Dynamics of Muslim Life, Review of Indonesian and Malaysian Affairs, and Studia Islamika. He has also published numerous opinion and think pieces, including those in local newspapers such as the Straits Times, Berita Harian and Today; and international newspapers such as the Canberra Times, Bangkok Post, and the Jakarta Post.

About World Scientific Publishing Co.

World Scientific Publishing is a leading international independent publisher of books and journals for the scholarly, research and professional communities. World Scientific collaborates with prestigious organisations like the Nobel Foundation and US National Academies Press to bring high quality academic and professional content to researchers and academics worldwide. The company publishes about 600 books and over 140 journals in various fields annually. To find out more about World Scientific, please visit

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