In a Facebook post on 18 August, the Minister of Defence, Ng Eng Hen wrote that the government has decided to hold the next NDP 2017 at the Floating Platform at Marina Bay.
This year’s National Day celebration while filled with theatrical performances and dazzling light shows, was unable to showcase the all-time favorite parachute performance by the Red Lions and the national flag fly-by during the national anthem due to the covered shelter of the stadium.
This year is also the first year the NDP was held back at the National Stadium after it was rebuilt, having the former torn down in 2010.
He said the decision was made because it is a favourite site for some Singaporeans and that the temporary site should be used while it still exists.
In his Facebook posting of the appreciation dinner to thank participants, partner organisations, volunteers, organising committee members and sponsors of the NDP 2016. He stated that 275,000 people enjoyed the NDP show live together with the preview and National Education shows, which is the biggest number of spectators so far..
Dr Ng said, “For 2018, we would like to hold NDP again at the National Stadium.”, inferring that the NDP may or may not be held at the National Stadium.
The question of holding NDP at the new National Stadium
The cost of holding NDP at the National Stadium this year is expected to be about $39.4 million. In perspective, the total cost of holding NDP at the Padang in 2010 was $20.6 million and Marina Bay floating platform in 2015 for SG50, $40.5 million.
On 29 February this year, Ms Sylvia Lim asked Minister for Defence, Dr Ng Eng Hen in Parliament on the agreement between the Government and the Sports Hub allows MINDEF to use the Sports Hub for 45 days free of charge each year. She asked if the Government foresee that it would be holding the NDP at the Sports Hub and why were only 45 days provided for when we understand that the average number of days needed for the NDP is closer to about 80 days?
Dr Ng did not answer straight to the question and went on to say “15% of $39.4 million is the figure which I have provided. The Member asked for details relating to the contract. The contract was negotiated as is, in the usual way that we negotiate with private providers and it is 15% of the total cost of the show, which is equivalent to the cost of public events held at private venues. Whether there is recourse for dispute resolution, I expect that it will be similar to all public contracts held in private venues as well.”
Following that, Ms Lim asked if there is an expectation that future NDP will go back to the Sports Hub and what is expected to be paid?
Dr Ng reluctantly replied, “That is a theoretical question and I do not have the answer.”