Singapore PM's prostate cancer surgery 'successful'

Lee Hsien Loong expected to recover fully, but questions raised about ruling party's public succession plan.

    Singapore PM's prostate cancer surgery 'successful'
    Lee was previously diagnosed with lymphoma in 1992 but the cancer went into remission after chemotherapy [Reuters]

    Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has successfully undergone surgery for prostate cancer and is expected to make a full recovery, his office said.

    On Sunday, Lee's office announced he would have an operation on Monday to remove his prostate gland and would take a week of medical leave, with Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean heading the government.

    "The surgery went very smoothly, and he is expected to recover fully," Professor Christopher Cheng, the lead urologist at the Singapore General Hospital, said in a statement on Monday.

    Lee, 63, was previously diagnosed with lymphoma in 1992 but the cancer went into remission after successful chemotherapy.

    Cheng said there was no relationship between the previous lymphoma and the current prostate cancer.

    Lee's illness raises questions about the need for a public succession plan should he step down in the future, as his ruling People's Action Party has not named a successor.

    "Given that prostate cancer is not uncommon among people of a certain age and is, indeed, easily treated, the issue is not urgent," said Manu Bhaskaran, Singapore-based partner at Centennial Asia Advisors, a policy advisory group based in Washington, DC.

    "However, more people could well focus on the issue now."

    But the strength of political institutions and the durability of the national consensus was more important to
    political stability, he said.

    "On both these scores, Singapore does well," Bhaskaran said.

    Singapore's two previous changes of prime minister since independence in 1965 involved well-flagged transitions to previously anointed successors.

    Lee hinted in an interview with domestic media last month that his successor could be a member of his cabinet.

    The next election must be held by January 2017, but media and internet blogs have speculated it could come as early as this year, after celebrations in August of Singapore's 50th anniversary of independence from Britain.

    SOURCE: Reuters


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    What draws Kenyan women to join al-Shabab and what challenges are they facing when they return to their communities?