NDP to be held at floating platform again next year

It provides a 'stunning and even surreal' backdrop for the parade, says Ng Eng Hen

Singapore's annual birthday bash will be held at the floating platform - for the second consecutive year - because of the "stunning and even surreal" backdrop it provides, said Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen yesterday.

He revealed the venue in a speech at a Gardens by the Bay event to thank participating organisations, sponsors and key appointment holders of the organising committee for this year's National Day Parade (NDP), which was held at the Marina Bay floating platform last week.

As for future NDP locations, the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) said venue options will be reviewed and announced at an appropriate time.

An Urban Redevelopment Authority spokesman said "the longer term plans for (The Float @ Marina Bay) are being studied".

Dr Ng said there are few other locations in the world like the one at Marina Bay that allows a show with air, land and sea elements.

"Our NDP is a unique one and even more so this floating platform, which is meant to be temporary," he added.

TEMPORARY

We should use the floating platform while we have it.

DEFENCE MINISTER NG ENG HEN, noting that the platform was meant to be temporary.

"When you look at the pictures of NDP at the Floating Platform and the backdrop of Marina Bay now fully developed... it is stunning and even surreal. I have said that we should use the floating platform while we have it, so the organising committee has decided that next year's NDP, NDP 2018, will again be held at the floating platform."

Mindef said that each NDP venue - be it the Padang, National Stadium or the floating platform - offers its own distinct advantages.

It said: "Wherever the NDP is held, the goal remains the same - to celebrate together as one people, with one heart, on our nation's birthday."

Including 2007, when the old National Stadium closed, the Aug 9 celebration has been held eight times at the floating platform and twice at the Padang. Last year, it was held at the new National Stadium, while the SG50 bash was held at the Padang.

Touted as the largest of its kind in the world, the floating platform with a capacity of 25,000 was deemed to have staged its last NDP in 2014, following completion of the new National Stadium.

But the NDP last year drew controversy owing to to cost issues, while its safety restrictions also meant the Red Lions skydivers and a mobile column of military equipment could not be part of the parade.

Pricing specialist Soh Hui Ting, 25, who watched the last two parades, prefers the floating platform to the National Stadium.

She said: "There are crowd favourites such as the fireworks, the firing of the cannon and the parachute landings, which were missing at the stadium, so I'm looking forward to the next one being held at the platform too."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 19, 2017, with the headline 'NDP to be held at floating platform again next year'. Print Edition | Subscribe