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Heng Swee Keat collapsed during Cabinet meeting, suffered a stroke: PMO

SINGAPORE — Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat suffered a stroke on Thursday (May 12) and has been hospitalised at the intensive care unit at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH).

Heng Swee Keat collapsed during Cabinet meeting, suffered a stroke: PMO

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat. TODAY file photo

SINGAPORE — Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat suffered a stroke on Thursday (May 12) and has been hospitalised at the intensive care unit at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH).

Mr Heng, 54, collapsed during a Cabinet meeting at 5.34pm. Three doctors who were present attended to him immediately and an ambulance was called, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. “Hope Swee Keat will be alright - he is a valuable member of my team," said Mr Lee.

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen wrote on Facebook that Mr Heng was resuscitated after he collapsed. “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," said Dr Ng. “Let us together hope earnestly for his recovery."

At the hospital, a CT scan showed that Mr Heng had suffered a stroke. “Doctors are attending to him now," said a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office, issued close to 7pm.

In a second statement at 11.30pm, the PMO said Mr Heng's sudden stroke was due to an aneurysm, which is a localised weakening of a blood vessel. "He underwent initial neurosurgery to relieve pressure in his brain due to the bleeding. The aneurysm was successfully closed." Mr Heng will remain under close monitoring in the intensive care unit of TTSH, said the PMO.

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam will be covering the duties of the Minister for Finance with immediate effect.

Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam, who has been working closely with Mr Heng, noted that Mr Heng "was carrying an incredible load". "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," said Mr Shanmugam on Facebook.

Member of Parliament (Tampines) Baey Yam Keng tweeted that he had seen Mr Heng, who is also MP for Tampines GRC, during lunch. “He was his usual self," said Mr Baey. Wishing Mr Heng a speedy recovery, Mr Baey said the Tampines GRC team “will look after residents of Tampines Central".

Many politicians from the People’s Action Party and the Opposition, as well as members of the public, have taken to social media to  wish Mr Heng a speedy recovery.

“Let’s hope and pray for Heng Swee Keat, who is being treated in hospital after suffering a stroke during Cabinet meeting late this afternoon. He is one of Singapore’s finest sons, and a leader with much promise," wrote Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

Mr Heng entered politics in 2011 and has overseen several important national initiatives, including the Our Singapore Conversation (OSC) project and the Golden Jubilee celebrations.

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