Parliament: National Day committee exploring how more people can watch parade next year

Spectators at the National Day Parade held at The Float @ Marina Bay on Aug 9, 2014. The organising committee for next year's National Day Parade is seriously exploring ways to let more Singaporeans watch the show, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen sa
Spectators at the National Day Parade held at The Float @ Marina Bay on Aug 9, 2014. The organising committee for next year's National Day Parade is seriously exploring ways to let more Singaporeans watch the show, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said in Parliament on Tuesday. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The organising committee for next year's National Day Parade is seriously exploring ways to let more Singaporeans watch the show, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said in Parliament on Tuesday.

MP Liang Eng Hwa (Holland-Bukit Timah GRC) had asked if the Government would consider having two NDP preview shows - instead of the usual one - so that more Singaporeans could attend the parade at the Padang on this very significant National Day.

"Increasingly, we are seeing more Singaporeans taking part in the celebration with great pride. And NDP being the pinnacle of celebration, I think obviously most Singaporeans want to be part of it," said Mr Liang.

Dr Ng agreed that it would be "indeed ideal" if more Singaporeans could be allowed to watch next year's parade, but an extra show may tax participants - who require some rest before the actual show - too heavily.

Currently, there are four shows open prior to the actual Parade: three National Education shows for school students, and the NDP preview.

And the committee would prefer to keep three shows for school students, said Dr Ng.

"Many of us would agree (they) are useful, and we don't want to rob from them to give to others, so we'll keep it as three shows," he explained.

The organising committee is, however, exploring other ideas to allow more Singaporeans to watch the show live, he said. These include increasing the seating capacity at the Padang itself, or creating satellite viewing areas throughout the Marina Bay area during the preview and the actual show.

The committee has been looking around the Marina Bay area, said Dr Ng. He did not provide concrete details, but noted that there were "possibilities", such as Marina Promenade.

He, however, brought up the logistical problems: "It's right in the middle of town and if we expand the show, we have to see whether it's feasible. But there are potential sites ... and the advent of large LED screens with very good resolutions actually makes it possible."

The committee will also work with the People's Association on activities celebrating National Day in the heartlands, bringing the celebrations closer to home.

"They are quite cognizant that this is NDP 2015, our Golden Jubilee, and they want to put up a good show and include as many Singaporeans as possible, either at Padang or the fringe areas," said Dr Ng.