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Speech by Minister Iswaran at the Topping Out Ceremony for Tekka Place

Speech by Minister Iswaran at the Topping Out Ceremony for Tekka Place

Mr Raymond Lum, Chairman, Lum Chang Holdings, 

Mr Mark Gabbay, Regional CEO Asia Pacific, LaSalle Investment Management

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

1. Good morning. I am delighted to join you this morning for the topping out ceremony of Tekka Place, a new integrated development at the gateway of Little India, jointly developed by Lum Chang Holdings and LaSalle Investment Management. Let me first congratulate Lum Chang and LaSalle Investment Management on reaching this significant milestone for this new landmark, which will be an exciting addition to the vibrancy of the Little India heritage district.

Lum Chang has come a long way since its humble beginnings

2. Lum Chang has come a long way since its modest beginnings as a sole proprietorship in the construction sector in the 1940s. Today, Lum Chang is a leading construction firm listed on the Singapore Exchange. It is one of our stalwart home-grown companies that has witnessed the development of Singapore over nearly eight decades, and has played a significant role in our infrastructural and urban landscape development. Building on its firm foundations in the construction sector, Lum Chang has also diversified into property investment and development, and ventured into overseas markets such as Malaysia and the United Kingdom. 

Important to preserve our local heritage as we modernise 

3. Even as Lum Chang has successfully developed the “hardware” of Singapore, I am also happy to note that it has also strived to promote our “software” – Singapore’s arts and heritage. With its location in Little India, it is appropriate that Tekka Place will showcase the unique culture and heritage of the Little India precinct by working with partners such as the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), National Heritage Board (NHB), LASALLE College of the Arts, Little India Shopkeepers and Heritage Association (LISHA), and the Indian Heritage Centre. I understand that Tekka Place will have a dedicated space for exhibitions and performances to promote the rich heritage of the area. And this is important, being located where you are to have the connections to stakeholders here will enrich your options in programming content.

4. At the same time, Tekka Place has been a main sponsor of Little India’s multi-disciplinary public art project, known as Artwalk Little India. Through artworks such as wall murals, film, music and performances, Artwalk Little India is a multi-sensory art experience through which artists bring to life the history and traditions of Little India. It is jointly organised by STB and the LASALLE College of the Arts, and has been a staple feature of the Singapore Art Week since its inception in 2015. I am happy to note that the soft opening for Tekka Place is targeted to coincide with next year’s Artwalk Little India, during which LISHA will also be organising its annual Pongal Celebrations to celebrate the harvest festival. This will bring much vibrancy and excitement for both Singaporeans and visitors to Little India.

Towards a mall of the future 

5. Tekka Place, with its focus on the arts and engagement with the community of Little India, will enhance the experience of consumers and visitors. As consumers’ needs and expectations evolve, and as the retail sector undergo profound transformation, the malls of tomorrow must be bold in piloting and adopting new concepts and retail technologies to enhance the shopping experience for their customers. For instance, many shops in Kampong Glam are making use of technology such as augmented reality and integrated point-of-sales systems to raise their business profile and better manage their customer relations. 

6. This is why the Government launched the Retail Industry Transformation Map (ITM) in 2016, outlining strategies for our retail industry to achieve the vision of a large and vibrant ecosystem of highly-productive multi-channel retailers, home-grown brands with global footprints, supported by a professional and skilled workforce. As part of this, the Government has been working with retailers to help them build digital capabilities and adopt multi-channel practices, to increase productivity and revenue through new sales channels. One example is the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA)’s Retail Industry Digital Plan (IDP) for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), introduced in November 2017. Developed in partnership with Enterprise Singapore, the Retail Industry Digital Plan (IDP) provides step-by-step advice for SME retailers as they embark on their digital transformation journeys.

7. I am confident that Tekka Place will add to the buzz of the Little India precinct, and contribute to the vision for Singapore as a leading destination for the arts, culture and heritage. I look forward to the opening of the mall and wish you every success! 

8. Thank you.

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