Singaporeans have been urged to stay in the country to take part in its 50th birthday celebrations over the Golden Jubilee weekend that now spans four days after Aug 7 was declared a public holiday yesterday.
Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob said it will be "really sad if a quarter of Singapore goes overseas to celebrate", The Straits Times reported on its website.
"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," Madam Halimah was quoted as saying.
She hopes that the travel industry will support her call, The Straits Times added. With National Day falling on Sunday this year, making Monday a public holiday, one can get a 10-day break by taking just four days off from the rest of the week.
"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," Madam Halimah said in The Straits Times report.
"It is important that everybody come together and celebrate in their own way together with family, friends and neighbours and then really we have that real meaning of being part of a nation."