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Halim ill in Singapore

Calcutta, Feb. 6: Hashim Abdul Halim, the Bengal Assembly Speaker, was admitted to the ICCU of a Singapore hospital this morning after he complained of respiratory distress.

His family said the 76-year-old CPM leader’s condition was stable but he was on ventilator.

Halim had flown to Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysia capital, on February 1 to attend a session of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association of which he is the treasurer.

He travelled to Singapore from Kuala Lumpur yesterday. Halim was supposed to fly to London from Singapore this evening to participate in the finance committee meeting of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association there.

When he complained of breathing difficulties this morning at his hotel, the staff admitted him to Mount Elizabeth Hospital.

Halim’s son Fuad, who was to fly to Singapore tonight, said: “This morning, he complained of breathing problems and uneasiness. Immediately, hotel staff made arrangements for his admission to Mount Elizabeth Hospital. He is in the ICCU and has been put on ventilator. His condition is stable. I am leaving for Singapore tonight. I have been told that the Indian high commission in Singapore is providing all help to him.”

Fuad said the state government had asked health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra to help in every way possible.

“Surjyababu phoned me today and said he would enquire about my father’s condition and assured us of all assistance. The state government has shown its concern,” he said.

“My father is a sturdy person. He has been hospitalised only once, for a gall bladder operation in 2001. He has always been quite fit.”

Asked whether Halim, the Bengal Speaker for the past 28 years, would be brought back to Calcutta soon, Fuad said: “I shall be able to comment on this after talking to the doctors in Singapore. Let’s see what they advise. We will do whatever is necessary for his quick recovery.”

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