SINGAPORE - The Marina Bay Floating Platform will continue to feature at the National Day Parade in the years ahead, and more details will be released at a later date, said Second Minister for Defence Ong Ye Kung.
Speaking to reporters during a visit to the NDP Preview show on Saturday (Jul 22), Mr Ong noted that the floating platform, with its unobstructed bayside view, has been popular with audiences. The NDP has been held at the floating platform seven times since 2007.
Touted as the largest of its kind in the world, the platform can seat up to 27,000 in its grandstand, but was deemed to have staged its last NDP in 2014.
"It was something that we started thinking that (it will be) a temporary place, but it has turned out to be one of the best places for us to celebrate National Day," Mr Ong told reporters.
He added that the venue, which will host the NDP on Aug 9 this year after a two-year hiatus, has allowed Singapore to showcase its naval, land and air military equipment.
"Depending on the occasion and circumstances, we will decide how and which venue we should use, and definitely the floating platform will continue to feature in future NDPs."
Asked if the platform will be spruced up or made into a permanent feature at the Marina Bay, Mr Ong said more details will be released at a later date. But he added that the platform "is still in very good shape".
"Of course there are ways for us to improve it, (but) if we improve it, it must be with the objective of making it even better for Singaporeans," he added.
Plans to build the floating platform were announced in 2005 as a temporary venue for the NDP until the new National Stadium was ready.
The NDP was held for the first time at the new National Stadium last year but the event attracted some controversy because of its hefty price tag of an estimated $39.4 million - about double the price of past parades at the Marina Bay floating platform.
The new National Stadium, though providing a bigger seating capacity of 55,000, also posed safety and other venue restrictions that meant the Red Lions skydivers and a mobile column of military equipment could not be part of the 2016 NDP.
On the preparations for this year's NDP to mark Singapore's 52th birthday, Mr Ong said he was impressed by the spirit shown by the 14,000 or so performers, volunteers andworking personnel involved.
"It's the first time that they're performing to the public, everyone is looking forward to it...It's going to be a phenomenal show," he added.
With terrorism becoming a rising threat in the region, he also said this year's NDP theme, #OneNationTogether, emphasises the importance of psychological defence, citing performances that re-enact cyber attacks among others.
"What the enemies out there are aiming for is to split our society. And therefore the best way to show that we are resilient is to show that we can celebrate National Day and live life day-to-day as one nation, as one people," said Mr Ong, who is also Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills).
About 25,000 people will attend the first NDP preview on Saturday, following three consecutive weekends of National Education shows. Another preview show will be held next Saturday.