Singapore’s 51st birthday party will cost almost as much as its 50th celebration, and almost twice the cost of previous parades. National Day Parade (NDP) held at the National Stadium this year will cost $39.4m, a mere $900,000 less than the one held last year.
The main reason for the exorbitant increase in cost for this year’s parade is because the venue for the parade, National Stadium in the Sports Hub, is far more expensive to rent compared with previous venues such as the Marina Bay floating platform and the Padang. The Sports Hub which initially requested for $26 million for the use of the venue, eventually settled for $10 million as rental for the parade.
The Sports Hub which was heralded as a shining example of Public-Private-Partnership when it was first conceptualised has taken a few hits for its expensive rental costs. International events like the The Asia Masters Athletics Championships had to be moved to other venues because of cost issues.
This NDP will also be the first time the the six-man SAF Parachute Team (dubbed Red Lions) will not be free-falling and parachuting down on the celebration. Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen speaking in Parliament in February this year said that the outfit, which is a perennial NDP crowd favourite with their free-fall displays, cannot perform at NDP 2016 because of safety reasons.
Also absent at this year’s parade will be the convoy of 177 war vehicles. The convoy made its appearance at last year’s parade after a five-years absence.
When Workers’ Party MP Ms Sylvia Lim questioned Dr Ng in Parliament, if future NDPs would continue to be held at the Sports Hub and how much of taxpayers monies will be used to fund such a venue hire, the Defence Minister replied to her saying, “that is a theoretical question and I do not have the answer.”