In the wake of the President declaring 7th August a public holiday, Halimah Yacob has called on Singaporeans to not go overseas and join in the SG50 celebrations instead.

“My appeal to Singaporeans is to please stay in Singapore during the long weekend. I understand that Singaporeans take the opportunity during periods of 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. It will be really sad if a quarter of Singapore goes overseas to celebrate.”

National Day falls on a Sunday this year, which means that the following Monday will have a make-up holiday. Adding this to the 7th August holiday, which falls on a Friday, Singapore will have 4 days of a Golden Jubilee weekend from 7th to 10th August.

Singaporeans can also enjoy a 10-day holiday by taking the rest of the week off. Travel agencies are confident that their business will get a boost.

Madam Halimah hopes that the travel industry will support her appeal.

“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,” she said.

Singapore has 11 public holidays in a typical year – cut from 16 in 1968 to boost the country’s economic competitiveness. Since then, extra public holidays have rarely been declared, except for elections.

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