Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat suffers stroke during Cabinet meeting

(File photo: Reuters)

Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat collapsed on Thursday (12 May) during a Cabinet meeting at 5.34pm, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.

According to the PMO, Heng, 54, was taken to hospital immediately where a CT scan showed he had suffered a stroke.

In a Facebook post at 9:49pm, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said that Heng had just undergone surgery.

Earlier, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, posting on Facebook, said the three doctors in the Cabinet had attended to Heng immediately and the ambulance took him to Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

Lee added that he hoped Heng “will be alright”, calling him a “valuable member of my team”.

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, also posting on Facebook, said, “He is one of Singapore’s finest sons, and a leader with much promise.”

President Tony Tan also wished Heng a speedy recovery.

Heng “carrying an incredible load”: Shanmugam

Minister for Home Affairs K. Shanmugam, who is also Law Minister, said on Facebook that Heng “was carrying an incredible load handling the Finance Ministry” and “various important projects”.

“I could see that he was very tired. I have been telling him that he was overworking so much that it will affect his health,” Shanmugam said.

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, a surgeon before he entered politics, said, “We managed to resuscitate him but he and his family will now need all our prayers and support as he undergoes critical procedures and treatment for the stroke.”

Well wishes for Heng also poured in from the opposition parties, including the Workers’ Party and the Singapore Democratic Party.

Heng, also a Member-of-Parliament for Tampines Group Representation Constituency, was named Finance Minister after the General Election in 2015.

He had previously served as Education Minister from 2011 to 2015. Prior to entering politics in 2011, he was Managing Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

Heng has also held other positions in the civil service, including serving as Principal Private Secretary to then-Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew and as a member of the Singapore Police Force, where he was a scholar and rose from constable to Assistant Commissioner of Police.