TOM PLATE WRITES – Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong suffered a scary spell during his deliverance of the annual National Day speech, but after fast work by an emergency team and a brief rest, returned to the microphone to soldier on.
And this is very good news indeed.
Lee, whose iconic father Lee Kuan Yew founded modern Singapore with his People’s Action Party, deserves considerable credit for keeping the tiny but robust city-state (more populous than Norway but not many other places) on an exceptional trajectory. Singapore remains one of the world’s most accomplished countries with a highly intelligent and corruption-free government. Asia Media International wishes the hard-working and astute PM continued good governance – not to mention good health.
Here is an excerpt from the account of the fainting incident in the Straits Times of Singapore, the country’s leading newspaper and, in some ways, one of the most complete newspapers published anywhere:
” … Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, who suffered a stroke in May, will resume his duties. National Development Minister Lawrence Wong will be appointed as second minister for Finance to help run the ministry, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Sunday (Aug 21) night…. Mr Lee announced this shortly after resuming his National Day Rally speech at 10.40pm. He was taken ill earlier midway through the English portion of his speech. The event was suspended for more than an hour after he was helped off the stage by ministers. The Prime Minister’s Office said he was feeling unsteady because of prolonged standing, heat and dehydration. His heart is fine and he did not have a stroke. Resuming his speech, Mr Lee, 64, stressed the importance of leadership succession. Building up leadership and preparing for succession is the top priority, he said.
“Nothing that has happened has changed my timetable, or my resolve to press on with succession.” Mr Lee noted that “minister or not, all of us are mortal …. Heng Swee Keat recently gave us a bad scare, worse than what I gave you just now,” he said.
Mr Heng, a key member of the fourth-generation leadership, had collapsed during a Cabinet meeting on May 12 from a stroke caused by an aneurysm, a localised weakening of the blood vessels. He was rushed to Tan Tock Seng Hospital, where he underwent surgery to seal off the aneurysm and was later placed in intensive care. He was discharged from hospital six weeks later, and a video showed him thanking the medical staff who cared for him .
“It is a miracle that he is alright,” Mr Lee said, as he lauded the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) team that responded to the emergency for “an excellent job”. The same team of paramedics helped treat Mr Lee on Sunday night.