Singapore

Float@Marina Bay set to commemorate national service

The temporary floating platform at Marina Bay will be developed into a permanent space to commemorate national service (NS) as well as be the primary venue for future National Day Parades.

The platform will be expanded with more seats added, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said yesterday.

Its current name Float@Marina Bay will be changed to NS Square, with a gallery that will showcase the evolution of NS.

"Its permanence and prominence in Marina Bay will reflect the central role that national service plays in our lives," said PM Lee.

The new venue can be used for parades, as well as community events such as arts performances, weekend markets and the River Hongbao, the Prime Minister said at a dinner reception for national servicemen to mark 50 years of NS.

The Defence Ministry (Mindef) said in a statement the new NS Square will continue to be the venue for basic military training graduation parades.

Parades for military units that complete their operationally-ready national service will also be held there.

Details on its expansion are being finalised and will be announced later, Mindef added.

The floating platform - which has hosted seven NDPs since 2007, including this year's edition - is a crowd favourite, as it is set against the backdrop of the city skyline and offers the public multiple vantage points to enjoy the fireworks.

Built initially as a temporary venue for the NDP while the new National Stadium was under construction, it can seat 27,000 spectators.

Yesterday's dinner is the culmination of a year-long series of events held to celebrate NS50.

It was attended by 1,500 guests, including NSmen, NSFs, employers and Cabinet ministers such as Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen and Minister for Home Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam.

PM Lee, in his speech, paid tribute to NSmen and dwelt on the importance of NS in keeping Singapore safe.

"Your contributions and sacrifices have enabled Singaporeans to enjoy decades of peace, and a safe and secure home," he said, noting that more than a million Singaporeans have served NS since it began in 1967.

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