Home > Asia
Monday, August 22, 2016, 16:09

Check-up shows Singapore PM Lee normal

By Tham Yuen-C, The Straits Times/ANN
Check-up shows Singapore PM Lee normal
PM Lee Hsien Loong waves to the audience after returning to the stage to finish his speech after an intermission following a near-fainting spell, Aug 21, 2016 night. (Photo/The Straits Times)

SINGAPORE - A late night check-up for Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong after he was taken ill during Sunday night's National Day Rally has indicated that he is fine.

Lee will be be on medical leave until Aug 29 on the advice of his doctors, his office said on Monday. Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean will cover the duties of the prime minister in his absence.

Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, in a Facebook post on Monday morning, said that Lee had gone to the Singapore General Hospital for more tests following the rally at ITE College Central.

"We then went to SGH for more tests - which were all normal before calling it a night around 1.30am," Dr Balakrishnan wrote.

He described the incident - which saw the PM pause and falter during his English speech at around 9:20pm as the audience looked on anxiously – as a "vasovagal episode".

A vasovagal response results from an abnormal circulatory reflex resulting in abnormal relaxation of the body's blood vessels. A person usually faints during such a reaction.

"When we rushed up on stage, we found PM Lee fully conscious but having classic symptoms and signs – sweatiness, low heart rate and low blood pressure. The initial light headedness resolved within minutes, and I knew he just wanted to get back on stage to complete his speech," he said.

Dr Balakrishnan also offered a glimpse into Lee's determination to carry on with his speech, adding: "Whilst the initial tests were being done, he was busy re-editing his speech! And then he went back on and completed his speech. His words took on added significance."

"Let us all count our blessings, and continue to do our best. There is still so much more to be done. Hope PM got a good night's rest. He deserves it!"

Lee received a standing ovation from the audience after he returned to the stage at 10:40pm.

He wrapped up his speech by announcing that Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat – who suffered a stroke in May – would resume his duties soon, and also drove home the importance of leadership succession.

A new prime minister must be ready to take over after the next general election, he said.

"What happened makes it more important that I talk about it now."

Latest News