Former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew attended the Tanjong Pagar-Tiong Bahru 49th National Day Celebration dinner on Wednesday (Aug 13). About 900 grassroots leaders, clan association representatives and residents were reported to have cheered loudly when he arrived.
He then rose to sing the national anthem and recite the national pledge with the audience together. It was observed that 2 men had to “prop” him up from the back while he was standing and saying the national pledge.
He addressed the crowd for about two minutes and expressed confidence in Singapore’s future.
He said, “Every year we are gathered here. In the past 20 years, there has not been one year we have made negative progress and that is something special. It is due to the work of our people. I’m confident we will continue to make progress and make possible all the upgrading programmes that Indranee Rajah has mentioned.”
Mr Lee also conitnued to emphasize the need for higher GDP. He said, “Without progress, without higher GDP every year, we will not be able to do this. It is because we have the necessary resources that we can proceed with all these obligations to our people.”
Social and Family Development Minister Chan Chun Sing who was also at the event, spoke about the Pioneer Generation Package and MediShield Life scheme.
Mr Chan said that help will continue to be given to the middle- and middle-lower-income groups. This includes providing these groups with a good education foundation and continuous training. He also gave assurance that the Government will create an environment where there are sufficient opportunities for people to showcase their talents.
The minister said another aim of the Government is to ensure every Singaporean owns an asset – a HDB flat – so that everyone will have a stake in the country. He also advised against borrowing against the future, and stressed the importance of maintaining healthy reserves, so as to ensure that a financial burden is not passed on to future generations.
Last year, Mr Lee missed his annual Chinese New Year dinner at his Tanjong Pagar Constituency for the first time. He was hospitalized on 15 Feb 2013, after suffering a Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA). A TIA occurs when blood flow to a part of the brain stops for a brief period of time. A person will have stroke-like symptoms which clear in less than 24 hours. Mr Lee was subsequently discharged [Link].
This year, again he had to miss his constituency’s Chinese New Year dinner for the second consecutive time owing to an infection. He was said to have suffered from a fever and a bad cough and had to be hospitalized. He was advised by his doctors to avoid public appearances [Link].
He even missed his grand 90th birthday bash, organized by billionaire property tycoon and grassroots leader Chua Thian Poh at the Shangri-La Hotel last year [Link]. Several hundreds of people attended the party. However, Mr Lee could not attend due to his doctor’s advice. Instead, he was represented by his second son Mr Lee Hsien Yang. During the birthday bash, Mr Chua said, “I believe all guests present today are as grateful to Mr Lee as I am.” [Link]