I'm healthy enough to be PAP's next leader, says Heng Swee Keat

I'm healthy enough to be PAP's next leader, says Heng Swee Keat

PHOTO: The Straits Times
SINGAPORE - Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat would not have assumed leadership of the ruling People's Action Party's (PAP's) fourth-generation team if he was not confident he was healthy.

The PAP's newly appointed first assistant secretary-general, who suffered a stroke in May 2016, said on Friday (Nov 23): "I have made very good recovery, my doctors have given me a clean bill of health."
"At my latest medical check, the results were even better than before. I have lost a bit of weight, but that's because I'm fitter now," he said to laughter at a press conference at the party's headquarters in New Upper Changi Road.
He added, more seriously, in response to media questions about his health: "I would not have taken up this appointment if I did not have the confidence that my health allowed me to do it.

"I consulted my doctors, looked at the medical reports as well as (knew) my own energy level."
Mr Heng Swee Keat on his health
Mr Heng had collapsed in the middle of a Cabinet meeting after suffering a brain aneurysm, and took several months to recover.

But since then, he has gone on to make many international trips, including two trips to Argentina, with a third one to the Group of 20 Summit coming up next week. Each trip is about 30 hours.

Ministers Chan Chun Sing and Heng Swee Keat at the PAP 35th CEC office bearer’s press conference on 23 November 2018.Photo: The Straits TimesSaid Mr Heng with a smile: "I am travelling more than when I was MAS (Monetary Authority of Singapore) managing director.

"This life-and-death episode has strengthened my commitment to serve Singaporeans."

Mr Heng, who has been described as soft-spoken, was also asked about his leadership style.

He said this question was best answered by the people he worked with in his three decades of public service.

But he added: "My own sense is I'm very open, I listen to all views, and I decide what needs to be done.

"When it's important enough, we'll be fast and decisive about it, just like what I did during the Global Financial Crisis (in 2008 and 2009), because every minute of delay means far greater risk."

Photo: The Straits Times
This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.