SINGAPORE - Business leaders who have worked closely with Mr Heng Swee Keat said they were shocked and saddened by news that he had suffered a sudden stroke, and have wished the finance minister a speedy recovery.
Mr Heng, 54, collapsed at a weekly Cabinet meeting on Thursday (May 12) at 5.34pm after suffering a stroke.
In an update at about 11.28pm, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said Mr Heng had a sudden stroke 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.
He will remain under close monitoring in the intensive care unit of Tan Tock Seng Hospital.
"We are all very shocked and saddened to hear about what happened to him," Mr S S Teo, chairman of the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) told The Straits Times. "All of us at SBF, all the 22,000 members, pray for his speedy recovery. "
SBF has been working closely with Mr Heng since he took over as Finance Minister in October 2015.
Mr Teo mentioned that on Wednesday night, the federation had its annual closed-
door post-Budget meeting with Mr Heng, for the first time since he took over as Finance Minister.
"We had a very frank exchange with him. As usual, he was very attentive, very open, and he answered all the questions from the council members," he said.
"Again, he encouraged us, even though there's headwinds, to work together. He's a great leader. We're very grateful to him and look forward to his continued leadership."
Mr Teo co-chairs the Committee of Future Economy's sub-committee on Corporate Capabilities and Innovation with Mr Heng.
"Since the CFE was formed, a lot of us had the good fortune to work with him, and we have a lot of respect for him.
This is a burdensome job, but I do find him very attentive, very engaging," he added.
Mr Piyush Gupta, CEO of DBS, said: “Swee Keat has had a close association with the banking industry, both through his role as MD of MAS and now as Minister of Finance. His ideas for transforming the future economy of Singapore are bold, and we wish him a speedy recovery.”
Mr Han Kwee Juan, CEO, Citibank Singapore Limited said he and his colleagues wished Mr Heng a speedy recovery.
"We are saddened by the news of the Minister's sudden illness. Since January, I have been working closely with him, as part of the Committee on the Future Economy," Mr Han said.
"He has been passionate on exploring all possible ideas and driving the agenda to develop strategies to position Singapore well for the future. My colleagues at Citi and I wish him a speedy recovery and strength to the family during this challenging period."