SINGAPORE: The Singapore Mint has suspended the launch of commemorative medallions dedicated to former Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew hours after it initially publicised the offerings.
The Singapore Mint website now says that the series of medallions and made-to-order copper busts, titled "Pride of Singapore, Remembering Lee Kuan Yew", has been suspended until further notice.
A press release on the launch was sent to the media at about 12.45pm on Monday (March 2). Around six hours later, news of the suspension was issued.
The items, comprising four commemorative gold, silver and base-metal medallions, and copper busts in two sizes, were priced between S$10 and S$1,888.
According to The Singapore Mint, the half-ounce 999.9 fine gold and one-ounce 999 fine silver oval-shaped medallions adopt a distinctive embossed design with the silhouette of Mr Lee. The copper busts, available in 110mm and 430mm heights, are “exclusively made to order”, it said.
The medallions and busts were part of the Singapore Mint’s Singapore Salute series, which “reminds all of Singapore’s humble history and reflects on the values which our nation is built on”, it said in its initial press release.
Singapore Mint did not respond to CNA queries on why the launch was suspended. The range was meant to be available for pre-order until Mar 15.
In the press release, Singapore Mint lauded Mr Lee’s contributions to Singapore and noted that 2020 marks the fifth anniversary of his passing.
“Meticulously engraved and sculpted by The Singapore Mint’s master engravers with their skilful craftsmanship, we salute our Pride of Singapore with dignified interpretation of Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s portrait on the medallions and bust,” read the press release.
The Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) issued guidelines on the use of the late Mr Lee’s likeness in March 2016.
Mr Lee's name or image or likeness may be used for the purposes of identifying with the nation, including on works of art or publications, or items for charitable purposes, in accordance with the law. His name or image or likeness should be accorded dignity and respect.
MCCY had also said that Mr Lee’s name or image or likeness should not be used for commercial exploitation or be assumed or taken to indicate any kind of official endorsement of products or services.
Commercial exploitation refers to the use of Mr Lee’s name or image in mass merchandise for sale, said MCCY on its website.
“Examples include medals or coins; clothing; household linen or similar articles; furnishing material; paper or any other material that may be used for wrapping or packaging purposes; and adhesive tape.”
In response to CNA queries, an MCCY spokesperson said the ministry is aware that Singapore Mint had launched orders for medallions engraved with the image of Mr Lee, as well as copper busts in his likeness.
"We note that Singapore Mint has suspended the orders of the medallions and busts.”