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National Stadium NDP to cost S$39.4m, more than at floating platform or Padang

SINGAPORE — Holding the National Day Parade (NDP) at the National Stadium is expected to set the Government back by about S$39.4 million — a shade lower than the S$40.5 million for last year’s Jubilee bash held at both the Padang and Marina Bay Floating Platform.

National Stadium NDP to cost S$39.4m, more than at floating platform or Padang

The Singapore Sports Hub glowing at night with activity. Photo: Sport Singapore

SINGAPORE — Holding the National Day Parade (NDP) at the National Stadium is expected to set the Government back by about S$39.4 million — a shade lower than the S$40.5 million for last year’s Jubilee bash held at both the Padang and Marina Bay Floating Platform.

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen revealed the cost of bringing the NDP back to the National Stadium at the Sports Hub after a 10-year hiatus yesterday in response to questions tabled in Parliament by Ms Sylvia Lim (Aljunied GRC).

He said venue costs for the parade this year make up about 15 per cent of the total cost, higher than that for the public spaces at the Marina Bay Floating Platform and Padang, which accounted for about 4 per cent. 

Paying for the venues for other national events held at private spaces also took around 15 per cent of the budget, he added.

Previous parades at the Marina Bay Floating Platform had cost between S$15.7 million and S$17.9 million, while the 2010 parade at the Padang cost S$20.6 million to put up.

Dr Ng said about half of the bill for a parade held in the National Stadium will be for the show segment, which is consistent with the editions held at the other two venues. The cost of building infrastructure at the National Stadium and the floating platform was “negligible”. In contrast, work on spectator stands for the parade at the Padang made up about 22 per cent of the total cost.

Several event organisers have pulled out of negotiations to hold their sports events at the stadium since it opened in 2014, with high costs cited in some instances.

Dr Ng also said the new setting will offer “a different type of show” because its big confined space and central pitch allows for a large stage.

He said the stadium’s seating capacity of 55,000 is also more than double that of the floating platform and the Padang, which can each accommodate 25,000 people. 

In addition, two preview shows will be put on this year — one more than usual — allowing for about 275,000 Singaporeans to watch the parade live, after including the crowds for the two National Education shows. Excluding last year’s NDP, which was staged at two venues, about 125,000 people get to watch each year’s parade live in recent years.

But Dr Ng said crowd favourites such as the Red Lions parachuters will not feature in the show for safety reasons; nor will mobile columns. He added that expectations for this year’s parade are high and comparisons inevitable, following the Republic’s 50th birthday celebrations last year.

Noting the higher venue cost, Mr Zaqy Mohamad (Chua Chu Kang GRC) asked whether the Ministry of Defence had considered holding rehearsals off-site.

Dr Ng replied that the NDP executive committee decides when rehearsals can be conducted away from the stadium, adding that many rehearsals already are.

A sharp exchange ensued after Ms Lim posed follow-up questions, including whether there was a dispute resolution mechanism for venue use under the public-private partnership with the Sports Hub and whether a detailed cost breakdown of this year’s NDP will be included in the Government’s Budget statement later this month.

Dr Ng said he expects any recourse to be similar to that for all public contracts for events held in private venues, though he stressed that there was “no dispute”. “(Ms Lim) has been in this House for many years. She knows that we don’t provide those details in the Budget — and if you ask a question, we’ll tell you,” he said.

Asked by Ms Lim whether it was justifiable for the Government to use the SG50 celebrations as a benchmark for future parades in “non-milestone years”, Dr Ng said: “I never said that last year’s NDP would be used as a benchmark. This is what (Ms Lim) has said.” 

He added: “I’ve provided many figures, including the fact that the number of spectators ... will be more than double, (but Ms Lim) has chosen not to talk on that figure but to move back to her points.”

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