Public to get more opportunities to visit the Istana

President Halimah Yacob's office is also studying how to invite more families as well as groups from social services organisations to visit the Istana.
President Halimah Yacob's office is also studying how to invite more families as well as groups from social services organisations to visit the Istana.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The public can look forward to more opportunities to visit the Istana in future.

"I want to see the Istana becoming more accessible to ordinary Singaporeans," said President Halimah Yacob, who plans to open up the sprawling Istana grounds off Orchard Road to the public more frequently.

This includes coming up with programmes beyond the current five open houses during the Chinese New Year, Hari Raya Puasa, Deepavali, Labour Day and National Day.

Her office is also studying how to invite more families as well as groups from social services organisations to visit the Istana.

"We have ideas that we are exploring," Madam Halimah told reporters on Sunday (Oct 22) during her first Istana open house after she was elected unopposed as Singapore's 8th President in September.

She did not say when the study to make the President's official residence more accessible to the public will be completed.

An Istana spokesman said more details will be released "in due course".

More than 9,300 people visited the Istana on Sunday.

Madam Halimah and her husband Mr Mohamed Abdullah Alhabshee mingled with the visitors for about two hours, taking photographs with walk-in visitors as well as organised groups such as pupils from Marsiling Primary.

The President also met about 80 residents from Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC, where she was the MP before she resigned to run for the highest office in the land.

Sunday's open house was the last one for this year. The next Istana open house will be held during Chinese New Year next February.