President hopes to share Is­tana grounds with more Sin­ga­pore­ans

Today - - HOT NEWS -

SIN­GA­PORE — President Hal­imah Ya­cob is think­ing of ways to share the Is­tana grounds with more Sin­ga­pore­ans, in ad­di­tion to the days where the grounds are open to the pub­lic.

Speak­ing to the me­dia be­fore her swear­ing-in cer­e­mony yes­ter­day, she said that en­gag­ing Sin­ga­pore­ans and mak­ing the Is­tana more ac­ces­si­ble were at the top of her agenda. “I re­ally am think­ing of the work that we have to do, and I re­ally want to start im­me­di­ately,” the coun­try’s first fe­male President told Chan­nel NewsA­sia.

As for shar­ing the Is­tana grounds, she said: “For in­stance, we have the herb garden. (I was think­ing) whether could we in­vite some se­nior vol­un­teers to come once in a while to tend to the garden and also to har­vest some of the garden’s fruit, the spices, the chill­ies.”

“I was think­ing also — could we have pic­nics for chil­dren, off from the nor­mal pe­ri­ods from when we open the grounds?” added Mdm Hal­imah, 63, who was given a tour of the Is­tana grounds, in­clud­ing the gar­dens and build­ings, ear­lier yes­ter­day.

“I un­der­stand that we must also pre­serve the dig­nity of the Is­tana, but

I un­der­stand that we must also pre­serve the dig­nity of the Is­tana, but ... (it would be nice) to see how we could share it more with Sin­ga­pore­ans. Mdm Hal­imah Ya­cob Sin­ga­pore preSident

tak­ing that into con­sid­er­a­tion, could we make the Is­tana a lit­tle bit more ac­ces­si­ble to peo­ple? It’s a beau­ti­ful place, (it would be nice) to see how we could share it more with Sin­ga­pore­ans.”

When asked about her re­sponse to doubts raised by some Sin­ga­pore­ans over the re­served pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, Mdm Hal­imah said: “We’ve got a tremen­dous amount of work to do. That’s why I am call­ing upon Sin­ga­pore­ans to fo­cus on our priorities. We’ve al­ways been a na­tion that’s very re­silient, very for­ward-look­ing, very pro­gres­sive, and that’s how we’ve over­come so many crises ... Our peo­ple have stood united and we’ve over­come so many ob­sta­cles. I am sure we can do a lot more.”

Photo: chan­nel newSa­Sia

President Hal­imah Ya­cob and Prime Min­is­ter Lee Hsien Loong in­spect­ing the guard of hon­our at the Pres­i­den­tial in­au­gu­ra­tion at the Is­tana yes­ter­day.

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