May Day Rally: PM Lee Hsien Loong gets the all-clear for prostate cancer

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong addressing some 4,000 union leaders, key representatives from the Labour Movement and tripartite partners at the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) May Day Rally on May 1, 2015. -- PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong addressing some 4,000 union leaders, key representatives from the Labour Movement and tripartite partners at the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) May Day Rally on May 1, 2015. -- PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has been given the all-clear for prostate cancer after undergoing surgery in February to remove his cancerous prostate gland.

At a follow-up blood test two weeks ago, doctors had told him his survival rate for prostate cancer is 98 per cent after 15 years, Mr Lee revealed during his May Day Rally speech on Friday.

This means he is unlikely to die of prostate cancer, he said.

But he added that in 15 years' time, he will be 78, and even if prostate cancer does not cause him trouble, something else could happen to him.

The same risk applies to the other Cabinet ministers, which is why Singapore needs to form the next team of leaders to take the country forward, Mr Lee said.

"Just because you are a minister doesn't mean you are Superman, doesn't mean you won't get ill, doesn't mean you won't grow old," he said, adding that if his team is weakened by the loss of a minister, it would be more difficult for the Government to deliver the results that Singaporeans expect.

This year's Budget and last year's Pioneer Generation Package, for instance, relied heavily on the contributions of Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, Senior Minister of State for Finance and Transport Josephine Teo, Senior Minister of State for Health and Manpower Amy Khor and Minister of State for Education and Communications and Information Sim Ann, Mr Lee said.

Similarly, the Government's ability to build 27,000 Housing Board flats this year was largely due to the work of National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan, his Senior Minister of State Lee Yi Shyan and his Ministers of State Desmond Lee and Maliki Osman, added Mr Lee.

As such, "I need good men and women to form the next team to take Singapore forward, beyond me and my generation of leaders," Mr Lee said.