News

Parliament House queue closed temporarily

SAFETY: A large crowd outside near the Padang after early this morning.- PHOTO: ST

The queue for the public to pay their last respects to the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew in Parliament House was suspended temporarily yesterday.

In a statement issued just after 11pm yesterday, the State Funeral Organising Committee said this was done for safety reasons because of the large crowd and to minimise physical discomfort from the long wait, especially for the elderly and young children.

It estimated that as of 11pm, the waiting time to enter Parliament House was more than 10 hours.

A total of more than 290,000 people have paid their respects by 11pm.

"We are appealing for patience and understanding as we work to ease the situation. We will inform the public when the queue is open again," the statement said.

Members of the public are advised to pay their respects at the 18 People's Association community tribute centres around the island.

At about 10.30pm yesterdau, social media was abuzz with reports that announcements were being made at City Hall MRT station that the Padang queue was closed and those intending to go there should go home.

When TNP arrived at the station at about 11.30pm, there were about 100 people in the station. They started to move out of the station and gathered around Raffles City Shopping Centre. Some were sitting on the ground and looked confused.

Announcements over the loudspeaker repeatedly said: "Padang is closed. Please go home."

TNP reader Faith Teo, who was at the Raffles City Shopping Centre entrance, said she saw the doors of the station being closed and barricades being set up near the entrance of Fairmont Singapore hotel.

CONFUSED

"A lot of people were coming out of the station but they weren't able to move. They were confused because they couldn't hear the police officers," she said.

"But everyone remained calm. There was no complaining and people just shrugged it off."

Earlier yesterday, a new line was set up just for families with prams or wheelchairs.

The New Paper understands that those who felt dizzy or uncomfortable in the priority queue were also allowed to join the new line.

Despite being told at 4pm that the estimated waiting time was nine hours, people continued joining the queue in the sweltering heat.