Organisers of next year's National Day Parade (NDP) can still look forward to staging Singapore's 51st birthday bash at the National Stadium, said Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen yesterday.
Brushing aside media reports as "speculative", he said: "I think we've had no hiccups in terms of NDP preparation and when we're ready, we'll announce where the venue is."
He added: "I've said we are very much looking forward to having the NDP at the stadium and if everything goes according to plan, I don't see why we won't hold it there."
He was commenting on reports about the ongoing talks between NDP organisers and the Singapore Sports Hub to secure the venue in time for the Aug 9 show.
The Straits Times reported on Friday that the venue is still not confirmed. Both sides are negotiating the cost of renting the 55,000-seater stadium after NDP organisers were told to pay $26 million for leasing the venue for an extra 35 days for rehearsals.
The current contract allows Mindef to use the space for free for only 45 days, which technicians and performers at previous NDPs said is not enough.
The ST understands that the figure has now been lowered to $10 million. Typically, the concept and budget for the annual parade would be finalised and approved by this month.