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    Apr 08, 2015

    Empty seat for Mr Lee at this year's NDP

    THERE will be a tribute segment dedicated to the life and accomplishments of Singapore's founding father Lee Kuan Yew at this year's National Day Parade (NDP), Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said yesterday.

    "In addition, as a mark of remembrance, his empty seat will be among us as we watch the show at the Padang," Dr Ng wrote in a Facebook post.

    Mr Lee died on March 23, aged 91. He had attended every single National Day Parade since the first in 1966.

    "All of us wished that Mr Lee Kuan Yew could be here to celebrate NDP2015 with all Singaporeans. It would have made it so special, the culmination of his life's work," Dr Ng wrote.

    "But it was not to be. We have to move on, as Mr Lee would want us to."

    This year's show, which celebrates Singapore's 50th year of independence, will still adopt a celebratory tone to reflect the Republic's progress and achievements, he added.

    The theme of the Aug 9 show is Majulah Singapura, the title of the National Anthem, which in Malay means "onward Singapore". The main show will be at the Padang, where the first NDP was held in 1966, and it will be coupled with a bayside show at The Float @ Marina Bay.

    Together, the venues will double the number of seats that will be up for grabs for Singaporeans and permanent residents. Besides the 26,000 seats at the Padang, people can choose to ballot for the 25,000 seats at the floating platform to catch the NDP action.

    Organisers also plan to recreate the parades of the 1960s and 70s, and will showcase participants, including the nation's pioneers, in the army's old Temasek green uniforms and now-defunct fire brigade's helmets.

    Meanwhile, a petition on campaigning site calling for Changi Airport to be renamed Lee Kuan Yew (LKY) International Airport has garnered more than 12,000 signatures in six days.

    The petition, which was started on March 25 and ended on March 30, was passed on to Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew yesterday morning, according to evening daily Lianhe Wanbao. The person behind the petition is a 44-year-old who wants to be known only as JH.

    One supporter, Samuel Tan, wrote on that "it is only right that LKY International Airport should be the name for everyone around the world to hear when they visit" as Mr Lee had "opened the doors to the world beyond...our tiny island".