|Minister of the Environment and Water Resources|
21 May 2011
|Preceded by||Yaacob Ibrahim|
|Constituency||Holland-Bukit Timah GRC|
|Minister of Community Development, Youth and Sports|
12 August 2004 – 20 May 2011
|Preceded by||Yaacob Ibrahim|
|Succeeded by||Chan Chun Sing (acting minister)|
25 January 1961 |
|Political party||People's Action Party|
Vivian Balakrishnan (born 25 January 1961), FRCS, is the Singapore Minister for Environment and Water Resources and a member of the governing People's Action Party (PAP). He has previously held appointments in the Singapore Cabinet as the Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, and as the Second Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts, and Trade and Industry. He is a Member of Parliament (MP) representing the Holland-Bukit Timah Group Representation Constituency.
Balakrishnan studied medicine at the National University of Singapore on a President's Scholarship. He later pursued postgraduate education in ophthalmology and was admitted as a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. He was appointed as an associate professor at the National University of Singapore and became the medical director of Singapore National Eye Centre. He was also the chief executive of Singapore General Hospital. Prior to the commencement of his political career, he served as the commanding officer of second Combat Support Hospital of the Singapore Armed Forces.
His team was elected uncontested during his first and second candidacy for the Parliament at Holland-Bukit Panjang GRC and Holland-Bukit Timah GRC respectively. In the 2011 general election held on 7 May, his team won against the Singapore Democratic Party candidates.
He is married to Joy Balakrishnan, and they have a daughter and three sons.
Balakrishnan was born in 1961 to a Telugu father and a Chinese mother with ancestry from Fuqing, Fujian. He had his primary and secondary education at Anglo-Chinese School, before going on to National Junior College. After graduating from junior college in 1980, he was awarded a President's Scholarship to study medicine at the National University of Singapore (NUS). He served two terms as the president of the NUS Student Union, and later served as chairman of the union council. He chose a postgraduate specialisation in ophthalmology and became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in 1991.
From 1993 to 1995, Balakrishnan worked at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London as a specialist senior registrar, where he subspecialised in paediatric ophthalmology. He later returned to Singapore, where he was appointed as a consultant ophthalmologist at the Singapore National Eye Centre and National University Hospital, and an associate professor of ophthalmology at the National University of Singapore in 1998. In 1999, he was appointed the Medical Director of the Singapore National Eye Centre, and later became chief executive officer of the Singapore General Hospital in 2000.
Balakrishnan was also the Commanding Officer of the 2nd Combat Support Hospital of the Singapore Armed Forces from 1999 to 2002.
In the 1990s, he hosted the series Health Matters on Singapore television.
Career as MP and Minister
Balakrishnan's political career began at the 2001 general election, when he was part of the PAP's five-member team in the Holland-Bukit Panjang Group Representation Constituency (GRC), which was elected uncontested. In 2002, Balakrishnan was appointed a Minister of State at the Ministry of National Development, and the Chairman of the Remaking Singapore Committee. Two years later, he became the Senior Minister of State at the Ministry of Trade and Industry. In 2004, Balakrishnan was made the Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports. He was made a full member of the Cabinet in 2005.
At the 2006 general election, Balakrishnan was a PAP candidate in the Holland-Bukit Timah Group Representation Constituency, and was elected in a walkover. During the time he was Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, Balakrishnan raised the public assistance scheme from $260 for a single-person household in 2007, to $400 for a single-person household in 2011.
In the 2011 general election, Balakrishnan's team, including Liang Eng Hwa, Christopher de Souza and Sim Ann, defeated the opposing team from Singapore Democratic Party with 60.1% of the votes. This was the first time since the seats for the constituency were contested since it was formed in 2001.
During the political campaign running up to the elections, Balakrishnan said that the opposition candidates from the Singapore Democratic Party did not have any plans for the constituency, and their selection of Holland-Bukit Timah GRC was an opportunistic act. He suggested that they were trying to suppress a certain Youtube video featuring a member of the opposition team and that it raised questions about their agenda and motivation. It was later discovered that the video included opposition member Vincent Wijeysingha at a forum discussing issues surrounding gay rights and section 377A of the Penal Code in Singapore. The People's Action Party team issued a statement asking the opposition whether they were pursuing a "gay agenda". The opposition denied it, saying they were not pursuing the gay agenda and the issue was put to rest. The People's Action Party drew criticism from Internet users in Singapore for their election strategy.
The opposition candidates raised the issue of government spending for the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics, which Balakrishnan had overseen as the Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, saying that the budget exceeded the initial estimates of SGD 104 million by over three times. Balakrishnan acknowledged that they had got the initial estimates wrong as it was the first time that an event of that scale was organized in Singapore. He asserted that the increased budget did not affect other programs of the ministry, and that seventy percent of the spending for the event went into paying local firms for their services. He declared that his team had spent less than the finalized budget amount and did not waste money.
Lawmaking and policymaking activity
Acts of Parliament initiated
- Competition Act
- Community Care Endowment Fund Act
- Mental Capacity Act
- International Child Abduction Act
- Energy Conservation Act
Acts of Parliament amended
- Children Development Co-Savings Act
- Children and Young Persons Act
- Women’s Charter
- Charities Act
- Hindu Endowments Board (HEB)
- Postal Services
- Animals and Birds Act
- Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority
- Sale of Food Act
- Public Utilities Act
- Sewerage and Drainage Act
Under Balakrishnan, MCYS :
- established the Comcare Endowment Fund. During the National Day Rally 2011 held on 14 August 2011 at the National University of Singapore University Cultural Centre, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong noted that 200,000 Singaporeans have been helped since the inception of Comcare. National Day Rally 2011
- implemented the Comcare Social Assistance framework
- implemented the Enabling Masterplan for persons with disabilities
- established the Central Youth Guidance Office
- created a formal accreditation process for social workers
- upgraded the Childcare sector by doubling subsidies for parents, elevating teaching standards and increasing the number of childcare centres
Under Balakrishnan, MCYS also created the following government organisations:
- National Family Council,
- Charities Council
- Community Foundation
- National Steering Committee on Racial & Religious Harmony
- National Integration Council
- Centre for 3rd Age
- National Council against Problem Gambling.
Under Balakrishnan, the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR):
- Appointed an expert panel on 11 June 2011 to conduct an in-depth review of all flood protection measures that will be implemented in Singapore over the next decade.
- Witnessed the handing over of four waterworks (Tebrau, Gunong Pulai, Skudai and Pontian) to the state of Johor on 31 August 2011, upon the expiry of the 1961 Water Agreement with Malaysia. Water Agreement 1961
- Announced the building of 10 new hawker centres from 2011 to 2020, 26 years after the last hawker centre was built in Singapore was in 1985. 10 New Hawker Centres to be Built over next decade
- "Facebook - Vivian Balakrishnan". Retrieved 11 March 2012.
- "About Vivian Balakrishnan - Vivian Balakrishnan". Vivian.balakrishnan.sg. 22 June 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-10.
- Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan profile. cabinet.gov.sg, April 2008.
- "Singapore Elections Department". Elections.gov.sg. 3 January 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-10.
- "2006 Parliamentary Election Results". Singapore Elections Department. 2006. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
- "Walkovers 2006". General Elections. 2011. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
- "More cash allowance for families on the Public Assistance scheme". XIN MSN News. 8 March 2011. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
- "PAP wins Holland-Bukit Timah GRC". The Straits Times. 8 May 2011. Retrieved 9 July 2011.
- Derrick A Paulo (7 May 2011). "Drama over video, YOG and economic policies". Today. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
- Judith Tan (23 April 2011). "'Strange bedfellows' in SDP team". The Straits Times. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
- Julia NG (25 April 2011). "GE: Reform Party former vice-chairman Alec Tok joins SDP". Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
- Faris Mokhtar (24 April 2011). "SDP, PAP clash over mystery video". Yahoo! News. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
- Hoe Yeen Nie (25 April 2011). "GE: PAP questions Wijeysingha's political agenda in light of video". Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
- Rachel Chan (26 April 2011). "PAP seeks SDP's position on video". AsiaOne News. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
- Hoe Yeen Nie (26 April 2011). "GE: SDP says it is not pursuing gay agenda". Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
- "GE: SDP team raises objection against PAP's Sim Ann". Channel NewsAsia. 27 April 2011. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
- Julia Ng (27 April 2011). "GE: "Gay video" saga put to rest". Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
- "Low expectations". Banyan. The Economist. 12 May 2011. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
- Chitra Rajaram (4 May 2011). "GE: Balakrishnan on YOG, teammates counter SDP's proposals". Channel News Asia. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
- Ong Hwee Hwee (5 May 2011). "MCYS minister defends YOG budget". The Straits Times. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
- Ewen Boey (5 May 2011). "MCYS minister: We miscalculated on YOG budget". Yahoo! News. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
- "The Singapore Cabinet Office: Cabinet Appointments". Cabinet.gov.sg. Retrieved 2011-07-10.
- "Energy Conservation Bill second reading". MEWR.
- Second Reading speech on amendments to Public Utilities Act and Sewerage and Drainage Act. "Amendments to Public Utilities Act and Sewerage and Drainage Act". MEWR.
- InfoComm Development Authority of Singapore. "Singapore: A Vibrant Buzzing Business Hub, Powered By Infocomm".
- Balakrishnan, Vivian. "Speech by Minister for Community Development Youth & Sports Dr Vivian Balakrishnan in Parliament on 18 April 2005".
- Chan, Wayne. "Panel of experts on flooding will take a long-term view".
- Singapore Cabinet profile
- Parliament of Singapore profile
- Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (Singapore)
- Minister, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan
- Facebook Page
- Vivian Balakrishnan's Blog
|Minister of State, Ministry of National Development
Grace Fu Hai Yien (Senior Minister of State)
|Minister for Community Development Youth and Sports
2004-2005 (acting) 2005-2011
Chan Chun Sing (acting)
|Minister for the Environment and Water Resources
2011 – present
|Party political offices|
Lim Swee Say
|Chairman, Young PAP
Teo Ser Luck