Singapore

Istana may be open to public more in future

The public can look forward to more opportunities to visit the Istana in future.

"I want to see the Istana becoming more accessible to ordinary Singaporeans," said President Halimah Yacob, who plans to open up the grounds off Orchard Road more frequently.

This means coming up with programmes beyond the current five open houses during Chinese New Year, Hari Raya Puasa, Deepavali, Labour Day and National Day.

Her office is studying how to invite more families as well as groups from social services organisations to visit the Istana.

IDEAS

"We have ideas that we are exploring," Madam Halimah told reporters yesterday during her first Istana open house since becoming president last month.

She did not say when the study will be completed.

An Istana spokesman said more details will be released "in due course".

More than 9,300 people visited the Istana yesterday.

Madam Halimah and her husband Mohamed Abdullah Alhabshee mingled with visitors for about two hours, taking photographs with walk-in visitors and organised groups.

She also met about 80 residents from Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC, where she was an MP before she resigned to run for office.

Yesterday's open house was the last one for the year.

The next Istana open house will be held during Chinese New Year in February.- THE STRAITS TIMES

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