Singapore

PM did not have stroke: PMO

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong took an unscheduled hour-long break in the middle of his National Day Rally speech tonight after taking ill. 

The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said in a statement that Mr Lee was "feeling unsteady because of prolonged standing, heat and dehydration". 

"His heart is fine and he did not have a stroke," PMO said. 

Some netizens had speculated about Mr Lee's condition when, two hours into his speech, he paused abruptly and was helped off the stage. He resumed the speech an hour later. 

During the break, Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam told media that doctors had assessed Mr Lee and said it was "not a serious situation". 

 "He's been having a very tough schedule, he's been standing for some time so he's just feeling a little faint," said Mr Tharman. 

"I wouldn't worry too much. These things happen in life but he's strong enough to carry on."

When Mr Lee returned to the stage at ITE College Central, he was met with cheers and a standing ovation. 

"Thank you for waiting for me, I gave everybody a scare," said Mr Lee, smiling.

"The last time I did this I was on the parade square in SAFTI and fainted," he joked. 

He said he had "never had so many doctors look at me all at once" and said he would get a full check-up after the speech. 

The rest of his speech focused on leadership succession, which Mr Lee said was all the more relevant given "what happened" and the future of Singapore. 

"Ministers or not, all of us are mortal," he said, bringing up Mr Heng Swee Keat, who suffered a stroke in May. 

He highlighted the work of the Singapore Civil Defence Force team that treated Mr Heng, whom he said had been invited as guests but then also helped to treat Mr Lee when he took ill. 

Mr Lee announced that Mr Heng would resume his duties as Minister of Finance - though he will keep to office work for now - and appointed Mr Lawrence Wong to assist as second minister. 

It was reported that Mr Lee made his way to Singapore General Hospital after the speech. 

 

Lee Hsien LoongSingaporenational day