SINGAPORE - The queue for members of the public to pay their last respects to Mr Lee Kuan Yew has been temporarily suspended, the state funeral organising committee said in a statement today.
The committee noted that there has been a sharp increase in the number of visitors to Parliament House since Wednesday, and has, therefore, suspended the queue "to protect the safety and well-being" of those in the queue.
"We would like to accommodate as many as possible in this overwhelming outpouring of respect and love for Mr Lee Kuan Yew. However, to ensure safety of individuals due to the large crowds and to limit the physical discomfort of the long wait, especially for the elderly and young children, the queue line will be temporarily suspended," the committee said.
"We are appealing for patience and understanding as we work to ease the situation. We will inform the public when the queue is open again,"
As at 11pm today, more than 290,000 have paid their last respects to Mr Lee.
As at 10pm, the estimated waiting time for those queuing was 10 hours, and the public was strongly advised against joining the queue.
Visiting hours were extended to 24 hours till 8pm on Saturday due to overwhelming response on Wednesday, the first day of the lying-in-state, when the queue stretched to Liang Court by about 4pm. Parliament House had been scheduled to open for members of the public to pay their last respects to Mr Lee from 10am to 8pm daily from Wednesday to Saturday.
The state funeral for Mr Lee will take place on Sunday, beginning with the procession to the University Cultural Centre at 12.30pm. There, the funeral service will be held from 2pm to 5.15pm, before the body of Mr Lee makes its final journey to Mandai Crematorium for a private crematorium service.