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    Aug 19, 2016

    Float@Marina Bay will host next year's National Day Parade

    COME Aug 9 next year, The Float@Marina Bay will once again be awash in red and white.

    It has been chosen as the venue for the nation's largest party, the annual National Day Parade (NDP), Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen revealed yesterday evening.

    Speaking at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre in Marina Bay Sands, where an appreciation function to thank those who took part in NDP2016 was held, he said this year's event was a success.

    "What about next year's NDP? Many have asked where we intend to hold it - in the National Stadium, floating platform or Padang?

    "Each site has its unique charm and fans among Singaporeans... we have decided to hold NDP2017 at the floating platform."

    He also hinted that NDP2018 could be held at the National Stadium.

    But, he added that wherever the NDP is held, the goal remains the same - to celebrate together as one people and one heart the nation's birthday and progress year after year.

    Dr Ng's announcement comes just over a week after Singapore held its 51st birthday bash at the National Stadium - marking a return to the grand old dame after a decade-long refurbishment.

    Since 2007, the Aug 9 bash has been held seven times at the floating platform and twice at the Padang.

    While the 55,000-seater stadium allowed twice as many people - about 275,000 - to watch the parade, previews and rehearsals this year, many crowd favourites had to be forgone due to venue restrictions.

    The Red Lions parachutists, for example, did not jump right in front of spectators inside the stadium.

    The convoy of war machines did not rumble past them either, due to the design of the stadium.

    Hence, the return to The Float@Marina Bay is expected to sit well with Singaporeans, many of whom also favour the unobstructed bay view.

    Holding the NDP there could be cheaper too.

    This year's event was mired in controversy due to its hefty price tag.

    In March, Dr Ng said in Parliament that the staging of NDP 2016 at the National Stadium was expected to cost $39.4 million, about double what it cost at the Marina Bay floating platform.

    The reason for the steep rise was the rent of the dome-shaped venue at the Sports Hub. It made up 15 per cent of the budget, more than three times the cost of using the floating platform or the Padang.

    At $39.4 million, it was the second most costly NDP after last year's Golden Jubilee edition at the Padang, which cost $40.5 million.

    Previous NDPs at the floating platform cost between $15.7 million and $17.9 million.

    The 2010 edition at the Padang cost $20.6 million.