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Vivian Balakrishnan

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Vivian Balakrishnan

விவியன் பாலகிருஷ்ணன்
Vivian Balakrishnan - 2010.jpg
Vivian Balakrishnan
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Assumed office
1 October 2015
Prime MinisterLee Hsien Loong
Preceded byK. Shanmugam
Acting Minister for Transport
Covering duties
25 February 2019 – 5 April 2019
Prime MinisterLee Hsien Loong
Member of the Singapore Parliament
for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC
Assumed office
27 April 2006
Minister for the Environment and Water Resources
In office
21 May 2011 – 30 September 2015
Prime MinisterLee Hsien Loong
Preceded byYaacob Ibrahim
Succeeded byMasagos Zulkifli
Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports
In office
12 August 2004 – 20 May 2011
Prime MinisterLee Hsien Loong
Preceded byYaacob Ibrahim
Succeeded byChan Chun Sing (acting minister)
Member of Parliament
for Holland-Bukit Panjang GRC
In office
25 October 2001 – 19 April 2006
Personal details
Born (1961-01-25) 25 January 1961 (age 58)
Singapore
NationalitySingaporean
Political partyPeople's Action Party
Spouse(s)Joy Balakrishnan
Children4

Vivian Balakrishnan (Tamil: விவியன் பாலகிருஷ்ணன்; born 25 January 1961), FRCS, is the Singapore Minister for Foreign Affairs and a member of the governing People's Action Party (PAP). He is also the Minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation Programme Office.[2] He has previously held appointments in the Singapore Cabinet as Minister for Environment and Water Resources and Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, as well as the Second Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts, and Trade and Industry. In 2002, Balakrishnan was appointed a Minister of State at the Ministry of National Development, and the Chairman of the Remaking Singapore Committee. He was also the Chairman of the Young PAP from 2004 to 2008. 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 2015 general election, Balakrishnan's team, including Liang Eng Hwa, Christopher de Souza and Sim Ann, defeated the opposing team from Singapore Democratic Party with 66.62% of the votes. He joined the cabinet on 12 August 2004 when Lee Hsien Loong was sworn in as Singapore's 3rd Prime Minister.

Early life

Balakrishnan was born in 1961 to a Indian Tamil father and a Chinese mother with ancestry from Fuqing, Fujian.[3][4] 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.

Medical career

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.[5]

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.[6]

Early political career

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.[7] 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.[8]

In office as full minister

Balakrishnan speaks as Foreign Minister at the 2018 East Asia Summit

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.[8]

At the 2006 general election, Balakrishnan was a PAP candidate in the Holland-Bukit Timah Group Representation Constituency, and was elected in a walkover.[9][10] 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.[11]

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.[12] This was the first time since the seats for the constituency were contested since it was formed in 2001.[13]

During the political campaign running up to the 2011 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.[14] He suggested that they were trying to suppress a certain Youtube video featuring a member of the opposition team[15] and that it raised questions about their agenda and motivation.[16][17] 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.[18][19] The People's Action Party team issued a statement asking the opposition whether they were pursuing a "gay agenda".[17][20] The opposition denied it, saying they were not pursuing the gay agenda[19] and the issue was put to rest.[20][21] The People's Action Party drew criticism from Internet users in Singapore for their election strategy.[22]

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.[23][24] 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.[23] 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.[25] He declared that his team had spent less than the finalized budget amount and did not waste money.[23][25]

On 21 May 2011, Balakrishnan was appointed Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, taking over from Yaacob Ibrahim.[26]. After the 2015 General Elections, Balakrishnan was appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs. [27]

Personal life

He is married to Joy Balakrishnan,[28] and they have a daughter and three sons.[29]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Facebook – Vivian Balakrishnan". Retrieved 11 March 2012.
  2. ^ "Smart Nation an opportunity to 'shift tone of society': Vivian Balakrishnan". Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  3. ^ http://www.rediff.com/news/report/coming-to-india-is-like-coming-home/20100111.htm
  4. ^ http://www.allamericanspeakers.com/celebritytalentbios/Dr.-Vivian-Balakrishnan
  5. ^ "About Vivian Balakrishnan – Vivian Balakrishnan". Vivian.balakrishnan.sg. 22 June 2011. Retrieved 10 July 2011.
  6. ^ "Dr Vivian BALAKRISHNAN". Prime Minister‘s Office Singapore. 20 October 2014. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  7. ^ "Singapore Elections Department". Elections.gov.sg. 3 January 2011. Retrieved 10 July 2011.
  8. ^ a b Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan profile. cabinet.gov.sg, April 2018.
  9. ^ "2006 Parliamentary Election Results". Singapore Elections Department. 2006. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
  10. ^ "Walkovers 2006". General Elections. 2011. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
  11. ^ "More cash allowance for families on the Public Assistance scheme". XIN MSN News. 8 March 2011. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
  12. ^ "PAP wins Holland-Bukit Timah GRC". The Straits Times. 8 May 2011. Retrieved 9 July 2011.
  13. ^ Derrick A Paulo (7 May 2011). "Drama over video, YOG and economic policies" (PDF). Today. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
  14. ^ Judith Tan (23 April 2011). "'Strange bedfellows' in SDP team". The Straits Times. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
  15. ^ Julia NG (25 April 2011). "GE: Reform Party former vice-chairman Alec Tok joins SDP". Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
  16. ^ Faris Mokhtar (24 April 2011). "SDP, PAP clash over mystery video". Yahoo! News. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
  17. ^ a b Hoe Yeen Nie (25 April 2011). "GE: PAP questions Wijeysingha's political agenda in light of video". Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
  18. ^ Rachel Chan (26 April 2011). "PAP seeks SDP's position on video". AsiaOne News. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
  19. ^ a b Hoe Yeen Nie (26 April 2011). "GE: SDP says it is not pursuing gay agenda". Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
  20. ^ a b "GE: SDP team raises objection against PAP's Sim Ann". Channel NewsAsia. 27 April 2011. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
  21. ^ Julia Ng (27 April 2011). "GE: "Gay video" saga put to rest". Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
  22. ^ "Low expectations". Banyan. The Economist. 12 May 2011. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
  23. ^ a b c Chitra Rajaram (4 May 2011). "GE: Balakrishnan on YOG, teammates counter SDP's proposals". Channel News Asia. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
  24. ^ Ong Hwee Hwee (5 May 2011). "MCYS minister defends YOG budget". The Straits Times. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
  25. ^ a b Ewen Boey (5 May 2011). "MCYS minister: We miscalculated on YOG budget". Yahoo! News. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
  26. ^ "The Singapore Cabinet Office: Cabinet Appointments". Cabinet.gov.sg. Retrieved 10 July 2011.
  27. ^ superadmin (20 October 2014). "Dr Vivian BALAKRISHNAN". Prime Minister‘s Office Singapore. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  28. ^ "Two former First Ladies attend Girl Guides event". AsiaOne. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  29. ^ Chew, Hui Min (1 January 2016). "Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan is now a grandpa, possibly the youngest in Cabinet". The Straits Times. Retrieved 9 August 2017.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Yaacob Ibrahim
Minister for Community Development Youth and Sports
2005 – 2011
Acting: 2004 – 2005
Succeeded by
Chan Chun Sing
as Acting Minister
Preceded by
Yaacob Ibrahim
Minister for the Environment and Water Resources
2011 – 2015
Succeeded by
Masagos Zulkifli
New office Minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation Programme Office
2014 – present
Incumbent
Preceded by
K. Shanmugam
Minister for Foreign Affairs
2015 – present
Incumbent
Parliament of Singapore
Preceded by
Lim Boon Heng
as MP for Bukit Timah GRC (Ulu Pandan)
Member of Parliament for
Holland-Bukit Panjang GRC (Ulu Pandan)

2001 – 2006
Succeeded by
Christopher de Souza
as MP for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC (Ulu Pandan)
New constituency Member of Parliament for
Holland-Bukit Timah GRC (Cashew)

2006 – present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
Lim Swee Say
Chairman of Young PAP
2004 – 2008
Succeeded by
Teo Ser Luck