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Lee discharged; PAP faces more vocal electorate
February 18, 2013
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SINGAPORE: Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s first prime minister, has been discharged from a hospital following a brain-related blockage, but he remains under doctors’ observation.

The 89-year-old Lee was hospitalised on Friday after experiencing a transient ischaemic attack, which occurs when blood flow to the brain stops for a period of time.

The condition is associated with irregular heartbeats.

A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office says he was discharged on Sunday and was resting at home.

He will receive anti-coagulation treatments to discourage the formation of blood clots.

A founding member of the ruling People’s Action Party, which transformed the country from a slow port city to a bustling metropolis, Lee became prime minister in 1959 and held power for 31 years.

His son Lee Hsien Loong is the current prime minister.

Meanwhile, analysts say Singapore’s biggest protest on Saturday in decades shows that the ruling party for over half a century is facing a more vocal electorate and must change or watch its popularity slide further.

At least 2,000 Singaporeans chanted “we want change” and endured heavy downpours on Saturday to reject government immigration proposals, in a rare demonstration in the tightly controlled city-state of 5.3 million people.

Although low by global standards the turnout was the largest in some years in Singapore, where the People’s Action Party (PAP) has traditionally responded to any dissent with a firm hand, and provides the government with much to consider.

“I think that gradually the anti-PAP sentiment will build and spread unless there’s a very fundamental change in the way the PAP deals with the people, which I don’t see happening,” political analyst Seah Chiang Nee told AFP.

“I think there’s going to be a further decline in the popularity of the PAP between now and 2016,” added Seah, who runs the political website www.littlespeck.com, referring to the next general elections.

For most people at the rally, held at a designated free-speech corner after a Facebook campaign, it was their first time waving placards and chanting slogans against the PAP, which has ruled Singapore for almost 54 years.

Saturday’s protesters were rallying against government projections that the population could rise by a third to almost seven million in less than 20 years, with much of the increase resulting from immigration.

Agencies

 

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