Mr Lee misses CNY dinner due to ill health

SINGAPORE - For the second year in a row, ill health kept Mr Lee Kuan Yew away from the annual Chinese New Year dinner in his Tanjong Pagar GRC on Tuesday.

Mr Lee, 90, is hospitalised at Singapore General Hospital with a fever and a bad cough caused by an infection.

He went in on Sunday and is now on antibiotics and is recovering, said his press secretary Yeong Yoon Ying in a statement.

Ms Yeong added: "He has been advised by his doctors to avoid public appearances. He would like to wish all Tanjong Pagar residents, as well as Singaporeans, a Happy Chinese New Year."

Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing, who is a Tanjong Pagar GRC MP, said at the dinner that Mr Lee had told him on Monday that he had really wanted to be there.

Mr Lee had also asked him to wish the residents a happy Chinese New Year and good health.

Over the years, Mr Lee, Singapore's first prime minister, made it a point to attend the annual dinner where he would make keynote speeches.

Last year was the first time he missed the event.

He had been hospitalised for a few days prior to the dinner for having an irregular heartbeat. It had led to a brief stoppage of blood flow to the brain.

Tanjong Pagar Community Club Management Committee secretary Rita Chow said on Tuesday: "I know he likes to join us at these events. Everybody wishes he could attend, people are always happy to shake his hand.

"But we understand, for his age, he cannot be as (he was) last time. We wish him good health and a long life."

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