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     FrontPage Edition: Wed 22 Feb 2006

Old Ford Motor Factory gazetted as a national monument



The Preservation of Monuments Board (PMB) gazetted the historic Ford Motor Factory for preservation as a national monument on 15 February 2006.
The National Archives of Singapore (NAS) has converted the building to house a World War II gallery called ¡°Memories at Old Ford Factory¡± and repository.
Part of the national monument is the driveway which the PMB has earmarked for preservation. This was the original route which General Percival and his three officers took before the meeting with General Yamashita on the fateful day of 15 February 1942.
¡°The historical surrender of the British to the Japanese at the Ford Factory building was significant in the history of Singapore. It signalled the end of Britain as the strongest western power in Asia, and marked the beginning of the Japanese Occupation and Singapore¡¯s forced incorporation as part of the Japanese wartime empire, said Mr Wan Meng Hao, Executive Secretary of PMB.
¡°It is a reminder of how the political fate of Southeast Asia was changed forever by the war,¡± he added.
The surrender of Lieutenant General Percival of the British Army to Lieutenant General Yamashita of the Japanese Army took place at the factory¡¯s board room on 15 February 1942.
Built by the Ford Motor Works in October 1941, the Ford Motor Factory in Upper Bukit Timah Road was the first motor-car assembly plant in Southeast Asia.
General Yamashita's 25th Army began its invasion of Malaya and Singapore when the Japanese military forces landed in Kota Bahru (Kelantan), Singora and Patani (South-East Thailand) on the morning of 8 December 1941. On the same day, Singapore was attacked by the Japanese bombers.
The Japanese military offensive overran British defences on the Malay Peninsula and by 31 January 1942, the Japanese had conquered Johore Bahru. The battle of Singapore began as the Japanese moved in to invade Singapore.
On 15th February, General Percival received permission to surrender Singapore to the Japanese. He, together with two staff officers and an interpreter, left the bunkers at Fort Canning and arrived at the Ford Motor Works at 5.15 p.m to meet General Yamahita and his officers. The British signed the surrender document and that ended the Japanese invasion of Singapore.
About the Preservation of Monuments Board
The Preservation of Monuments Board was formed in 1971 following the enactment of the Preservation of Monuments Act on 29 January 1971. It was transferred from the Ministry of National Development to Ministry of Information and the Arts (MITA), (now the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts) on 1 April 1997 as a statutory board under MITA.
To date, 55 historical buildings have been gazetted as national monuments by the Preservation of Monuments Board. Of these, 26 of them are places of worship, 18 civic/institutional buildings, 6 commercial buildings, 3 hotels and 2 educational buildings.
All gazetted monuments are installed with plaques highlighting their historical significance. Preservation guidelines are also drawn up for each monument to ensure that the preservation and restoration works on a gazetted national monument are undertaken in a proper and systematic manner.

Source: 7 Feb 2006

See also: World War II, National Monuments, Old Ford Motor Factory reopens as World War II attraction

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