SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will make a “major speech” in Parliament instead of a National Day Rally this year because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Speaking at a press conference on Saturday (Jul 25) to unveil a new Cabinet, Mr Lee was responding to a question about when Parliament would open and if a National Day Rally would be held this year.
The Prime Minister said he decided to do so because there is “urgency in getting Parliament convened” and that there was legislation “to pass urgently, and there’s business to be done”.
"And because we are going to have the President’s address on the 24th and then I'm speaking about 10 days after that, I've decided this year I shall make my major speech to Singaporeans in Parliament instead of having a National Day Rally,” Mr Lee added.
“Because it's not possible to convene a physical National Day rally and have a traditional event, with an audience in front of me and I can take them through slides and extend explanations and recount stories.
“So instead of that, I shall do it in Parliament. And we will have a serious debate there.”
According to the National Archives, there has been a National Day Rally every year since 1966.
COVID-19 safe distancing measures were implemented in the last Parliament, which saw MPs seated at spaced intervals within the chamber and in the galleries.
The measures included taking refreshments in different groups to reduce mingling and using separate restrooms.