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Stay and mark SG50 here, says Halimah

A day after an extra public holiday was declared to celebrate Singapore's 50th birthday as an independent country, Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob made an appeal against using the long weekend to travel overseas.

"My appeal to Singaporeans is to please stay in Singapore during the long weekend. I understand that Singaporeans take the opportunity during long weekends to chill out with their families overseas, and on other occasions that's all right, but on this occasion, I hope that they will stay and really celebrate together as a nation," she said.

"It will be really sad if a quarter of Singapore goes overseas to celebrate."

President Tony Tan Keng Yam yesterday declared Aug 7 a public holiday, as part of the SG50 celebrations.

The extra holiday falls on a Friday.

Long weekend

With Monday already a holiday as National Day falls on a Sunday this year, Singapore will have a four-day Golden Jubilee weekend from Aug 7 to 10.

One can enjoy a 10-day holiday by taking the rest of the week off, some noted, and travel agencies are likely to be expecting an increase in sales.

But Madam Halimah said: "I know the travel business will be affected but I hope they will understand and see the reason why we are making this call.

"In Singapore, the Government does not declare public holidays willingly, it is really something that they thought about carefully."

Singapore has 11 public holidays in a typical year and extra public holidays have rarely been declared, except for elections.

"It is important that everybody come together and celebrate in their own way with family, friends and neighbours (to) have that real meaning of being part of a nation," Madam Halimah said.

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Related reports:

Here are 7 funny Internet posts on Aug 7 public holiday

Here are 7 things to do during the SG50 long weekend

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