Brief scare as Singapore PM falls ill mid-speech at National Day Rally
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Brief scare as Singapore PM falls ill mid-speech at National Day Rally

SINGAPORE’s National Day Rally had to be momentarily suspended tonight after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong suddenly took ill and had to be escorted off stage in the middle of a speech.

The event at the ITE College Central auditorium was immediately stopped at 9.20pm, according to media reports, when Lee suddenly paused and appeared to look unwell.

From a live telecast of the rally on the Singapore Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) YouTube channel, Lee could be seen having difficulty standing and trembled as he held on to the rostrum for support.

The camera was then switched immediately away from Lee to the audience who looked on in concern as their leader trailed off mid-speech.

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The crowd at the ITE College Central watched in concern as PM Lee was led off the stage. Pic via YouTube

A photograph by Singapore’s Straits Times shows Lee being escorted off the stage by Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen.

The daily wrote in its report that after the leader was led away, the curtains were drawn at the ITE College Central auditorium where the rally was being held.

Shortly after the incident, two brief updates were posted on Lee’s official Twitter account, saying the leader had merely taken “ill” and was not in any serious condition.

“The medical team is attending to him right now. They assess that his condition is not serious. PMO will update in due course.

“UPDATE: DPM Teo Chee Hean has spoken to PM, and says that PM will resume his National Day Rally speech,” the statement said.

Another update later explained that the prime minister was feeling “unsteady” because of the heat and from standing too long.

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

At 10.40pm, a smiling Lee waved to the audience as he returned to the stage to rousing applause.

“Thank you for waiting for me, I gave everybody a scare. The last time I did this, I was on the parade square… and fainted. I think that’s what happened.

“I’ve never had so many doctors look at me at once,” he told the crowd. “They think I’m alright but anyway, I’m going to have a full check-up after this.”

“But before that, I’d like to finish my speech,” Lee said to more applause.