There will not be a National Day Rally (NDR) this year due to the Covid-19 outbreak, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday.
It will be the first time the NDR - generally considered the most important political speech of the year - has not been given since 1966.
Mr Lee will instead deliver a major speech to Singaporeans in the House, "about 10 days" after Parliament opens on Aug 24.
He said he decided to make his speech in Parliament because "it's not possible to convene a physical National Day Rally and have a traditional event with an audience in front of me, and I can take them through slides and explanations and recount stories".
"So instead of that, I shall do it in Parliament and we will have a serious debate there," he said, during a virtual press conference to announce his new Cabinet.
The annual rally has been held every year since founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew delivered the first NDR in 1966, a year after independence.
The sitting prime minister sets out the key issues facing the Government of the day during the speech.
Last year's NDR was held at the Institute of Technical Education College Central.
The new MPs will be sworn in on Aug 24 in the afternoon, and President Halimah Yacob will give a speech to open Parliament in the evening, Mr Lee said yesterday.
He added: "We will have to be safe-distanced, but we know how to do that, and the debate will be one week later, starting on Aug 31.
"I shall speak in the debate and make a major speech.
"I have decided to do this because there is urgency in getting Parliament convened.
"We have legislation to pass urgently and there's business to be done."
A new session of Parliament is traditionally opened with the President's Address.
In January 2016, following the general election in September the year before, then President Tony Tan opened the 13th Parliament with a speech on the challenges facing the Government in the road ahead.