Minister Shanmugam Explains Why He’s Absent from National Day Rally


If you watched the National Day Rally (NDR) over the weekend, you would have realised someone was missing from the crowd.

Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam was missing.

And no, it’s not because he was sick or ponned the event. In fact, the minister was instructed not to be there—it’s his job not to be there.

Huh? Gong simi?

Here’s why Mr Shanmugam’s absence from the NDR was, strangely, part of his job.

Law & Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam Explains Why He Was Absent from NDR

On Tuesday (22 August), Mr Shanmugam shared posts on Facebook and Instagram detailing why he was absent from this year’s NDR.

And why he was absent from last year’s NDR, the year before’s NDR, and why he’ll probably be absent for next year’s NDR as well.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by K Shanmugam (@kshanmugam_)

As it turns out, the minister has a unique role: serving as the government’s “contingency plan” if unforeseen incidents occur during such major national events.

In Mr Shanmugam’s words, he is often “the Minister designated to stay outside” of these events so that “[i]f any incident takes place, [he] will have to deal with the situation”.

Essentially, glorified “clean up crew” lor. Put another way, he’s kind of like that “mom friend” everyone has.

Minister K Shanmugam Has Been Absent from Major Events for Multiple Years

The minister also made a tongue-in-cheek comment about how this is far from the first time he’s been questioned about his absence.

In fact, Mr Shanmugam claims he gets asked the same question every year and gives the same answer.

At this point, he might as well pin the response on his social media accounts.

As the designated “mom friend” of the Cabinet, the minister has stayed out of major national events for several years now.


If you see the full Cabinet attending the event, it’s likely you won’t see Mr Shanmugam amongst the crowd.

Minister K Shanmugam Also Absent from NDP 2023 

The 64-year-old also couldn’t attend the National Day Parade (NDP) 2023.

And no, it’s not because of the whole Ridout Road saga. It’s again thanks to his “mom friend” duties, which also cover NDP.

We’re surprised that ushers at NDP aren’t briefed to ensure the minister cannot enter the event.

“If you see anyone resembling our Law and Home Affairs Minister, please let us know.” 


Sian lah. Cannot watch fireworks.

Well, at least he could still celebrate National Day with Chong Pang residents lah.