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Heng suffers stroke during Cabinet meet

GET WELL SOON: Finance Minister Heng collapsed at 5.34pm yesterday. The 54-year-old is being attended to by doctors from Tan Tock Seng Hospital.
Heng suffers stroke during Cabinet meet

VALUABLE TEAM MEMBER: PM Lee hopes Mr Heng will be all right.


    May 13, 2016

    Heng suffers stroke during Cabinet meet

    FINANCE Minister Heng Swee Keat, 54, collapsed at a weekly Cabinet meeting yesterday after suffering a stroke.

    He is being attended to by doctors from Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

    A statement from the Prime Minister's Office said Mr Heng collapsed at 5.34pm during a Cabinet meeting. He was taken to the hospital immediately and a CT scan showed that he had a stroke.

    "Doctors are attending to him now," said the statement.

    Following the announcement, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a Facebook post: "Hope Swee Keat will be alright - he is a valuable member of my team."

    He added that Mr Heng had suddenly collapsed at the weekly meeting and three doctors in Cabinet attended to him immediately.

    An ambulance was called and he was taken to the hospital, said Mr Lee.

    Within minutes of the announcement, a stream of get-well wishes were posted online by ministers, MPs, members of the public and residents from Tampines GRC, where Mr Heng is an MP.

    President Tony Tan Keng Yam wrote on Facebook: "Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family during this difficult time."

    Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam wrote on Facebook to "hope and pray" for Mr Heng, adding: "He is one of Singapore's finest sons, and a leader with much promise."

    Mr Heng has held high-profile positions in the past few years, and has been identified as a core member of the fourth generation of political leaders.

    He was appointed a full minister upon being elected in 2011, holding the education portfolio. After last year's election, he was made Finance Minister and presented his maiden Budget on March 24.

    Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, a cancer surgeon by training, said: "Cabinet colleagues are expectedly shaken because Swee Keat collapsed suddenly during our meeting this afternoon.

    "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."

    Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam said he noticed that Mr Heng has been looking very tired and that he was carrying an "incredible load".

    He added: "I have been telling him that he was overworking so much that it will affect his health."

    Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo wrote on Facebook: "Most dismayed to hear about Heng Swee Keat's stroke and hope he will make a full recovery. Please pray for him, for Hwee Nee and all at home."

    She was referring to Mr Heng's wife, Chang Hwee Nee, a deputy secretary at the Ministry of National Development. The couple have two children.

    Tampines GRC MP Baey Yam Keng said he was "shocked" at the incident.

    "I just saw Minister Heng during lunch today and he was his usual self," he wrote on Facebook, adding that fellow Tampines GRC MPs will look after his residents in Tampines Central while he recovers.

    Besides Mr Baey, the other MPs are Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli, Desmond Choo and Cheng Li Hui.

    The opposition Workers' Party and its members also sent their regards to Mr Heng while the Singapore Democratic Party said it is saddened by the news.

    Members of the public also wished Mr Heng a speedy recovery, such as Facebook user Yen Chua who said he is "a gentleman and he has Singaporeans in his heart".