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    Mar 01, 2016

    NDP 2016 at National Stadium may cost $39.4m

    THE staging of this year's National Day Parade at the new National Stadium is expected to cost $39.4 million, about double what it had cost at the Marina Bay floating platform.

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

    Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, in disclosing the figures in Parliament yesterday, said the higher cost of the venue is "similar to other national events held at private venues".

    Half of the budget will be spent on the show segment, a proportion similar to those at the two previous venues, he said, in replying to Workers' Party chairman Sylvia Lim (Aljunied GRC) and Sembawang GRC MP Vikram Nair.

    NDP organisers were locked in protracted talks with the Sports Hub, before reaching an agreement on the rent and for 45 days of free use of the place last December.

    The Straits Times understands that the Sports Hub wanted $26 million for another 35 days of rehearsals.

    The figure has been lowered to $10 million, sources said, but the final sum has yet to be announced.

    The new venue puts this year's NDP among the costliest Aug 9 shows in a decade, second only to last year's Golden Jubilee NDP, 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.

    But the 55,000-seat stadium will let about 275,000 Singaporeans watch the show, said Dr Ng.

    Apart from the parade on National Day itself, there will be two preview shows for people to watch and two National Education rehearsal shows for primary-school pupils.

    In all, the number of spectators will be more than twice that of previous years.

    Dr Ng said the new venue will let organisers stage a "different type of show", using the bigger confined space and central pitch as a large stage.

    It "calls for a different format" as well, he added, as he announced that several crowd favourites will not be part of this year's show.

    The Red Lions will not be free-falling and parachuting into the stadium for safety reasons. Also absent will be the aerial displays and the mobile column of a convoy of military vehicles.