No National Day Rally this year, PM Lee to instead deliver speech in Parliament on Aug. 31

He announced that Parliament will open on Aug. 24.

Jane Zhang | July 25, 2020, 05:39 PM

There will be no National Day Rally this year due to Covid-19, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Saturday (Jul. 25).

This was announced by PM Lee in response to a question by the media in the Q&A portion of a press conference, in which he announced the new Cabinet.

No National Day Rally

In the Q&A session, a reporter from The Straits Times asked PM Lee whether there will be a National Day Rally this year, in light of the fact that there have already been a number of major changes to events due to Covid-19, and when Parliament will open.

PM Lee responded that there will not be a National Day Rally this year, and that he will instead give his major speech in Parliament once it convenes:

"I've decided this year I shall make my major speech to Singaporeans in Parliament instead of having a National Day Rally, 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 and explanations and recount stories.

So instead of that, I shall do it in Parliament, and we will have a serious debate there."

National Day Rally 2019. Photo via Prime Minister's Office website.

Parliament to open on Aug. 24

Parliament will open on Aug. 24, with the Members of Parliament (MPs) being sworn in, in the afternoon, and President Halimah Yacob giving an address to open the Parliament in the evening, PM Lee said.

"We will have to be safe distanced, but we know how to do that," he added.

The following week, on Aug. 31, will be the debate on the President's Address, during which PM Lee will make his major speech.

"I have decided to do this because there is urgency in getting Parliament convened; we have legislation to pass urgently and there's business to be done."

PM Lee usually delivers a politically significant speech at the debate of the President's Address.

In 2016, PM Lee proposed changes to the non-Constituency MPs (NCMP) scheme, the GRCs system and the Elected Presidency.

PM Lee increased the number of NCMPs from nine to 12, reduced the size of GRCs and increased the number of SMCs, and reviewed the qualifying criteria of EP candidates, and ensured that minorities have a chance to be elected president.

Top photo via Prime Minister's Office website.