Singapore PM takes break after fainting spell
SINGAPORE – Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong started a week's medical leave Monday, August 22, to rest after a fainting spell during a televised speech caused a health scare.
Lee, 64, underwent a series of medical checks late Sunday, August 21, and early Monday and "doctors have confirmed there were no cardiac abnormalities and no stroke," the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said in a statement.
However, his doctors advised that Lee should go on medical leave and resume his duties next Monday, the PMO said. Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean will be in charge in his absence.
"I'm glad to report that the doctors think I am ok, but they have advised me to rest, so I will be on (medical leave) for this week," Lee said in a Facebook post.
Lee, a cancer survivor and son of the city-state's late founding father Lee Kuan Yew, suddenly stopped speaking more than two hours into a speech on Sunday and slouched over the lectern during a live broadcast.
He had to be helped off the stage but a smiling Lee returned to finish his speech, part of Singapore's independence celebrations, telling the audience that he had fainted.
His office said Monday he had been taken ill because of "a temporary drop in blood pressure, due to prolonged standing, exhaustion, and dehydration."
President Tony Tan said in a Facebook post he spoke with Lee on Monday and the prime minister "was his usual jovial self."
Lee's wife, Ho Ching, who is also head of state investment company Temasek, thanked her husband's well-wishers.
"Thank you all for your good wishes and kind prayers. Wishing all of you good health too," she wrote.
Lee underwent surgery for prostate cancer last year and has received the all-clear from doctors. He survived a bout of lymphoma, a form of cancer, in 1992.
Sunday's incident was the second health scare to hit the government since Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat collapsed from a stroke during a Cabinet meeting in May.
After resuming his speech late Sunday, Lee underscored the importance of an orderly leadership succession.
Lee led the ruling People's Action Party, which has governed Singapore since it became independent from Malaysia in 1965, to a new 5-year term last year and has indicated he would hand over power by the time he reaches 70. – Rappler.com