PM Lee finishes National Day Rally speech after health scare

[UPDATE: PM Lee resumed his speech at 10:40pm]

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong bounced back from a health scare Sunday night (21 August) to complete delivery of his National Day Rally speech.

His multi-hour speech was temporarily suspended midway after Lee, 64, took ill.

At around 9:15pm, he was escorted off the stage. From the live video feed, PM Lee was seen slurring his words and appeared to have stumbled, moments before the feed was cut off. 

According to the Prime Minister’s Office, the medical team who assessed his condition said that it was not serious. 

“PM Lee was feeling unsteady because of prolonged standing, heat and dehydration. His heart is fine and he did not have a stroke,” PMO later said. 

After returning to the stage, PM Lee was greeted with applause from the audience, and he resumed his speech to touch on leadership succession. 

“I think what happened makes it even more important that I talk about it now,” he said. He then thanked the Singapore Civil Defence Force officers whom he invited for responding to the “emergency call”. 

“The SCDF team who responded to the emergency call did an excellent job and I’m glad that they are here today. I should say thank you to them because I invited them as guests and they came to treat me just now,” he said.

Finance Secretary Heng Swee Keat, who has recently recovered from a stroke suffered in May, said in a Facebook post that he hoped Lee would “take some rest”. 

Before Lee resumed his speech, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said in an interview with Channel NewsAsia that the doctors have assessed that Lee is fine.

Tharman said that the prime minister was resting and would like to finish his speech.

“I’m happy to say he is in good shape and I wouldn’t worry too much. This is a little blip,” said the DPM.

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