Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, 52, studied Medicine at the National University of Singapore after being awarded the President’s Scholarship in 1980. He was elected President of the NUS Students’ Union from 1981 to 1983 and Chairman from 1984 to 1985.
After graduation, he specialised in Ophthalmology. He was appointed Associate Professor of the National University of Singapore and Deputy Director of Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) in 1997. He led several clinical research trials to control the progression of myopia in children. In 1999, he became the Medical Director of SNEC. He was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Singapore General Hospital in 2000.
Dr Balakrishnan was also the Commanding Officer of the 2nd Combat Support Hospital of the Singapore Armed Forces from November 1999 to January 2002.
Dr Balakrishnan has served as the Honorary Treasurer of the Singapore Medical Association, member of the National Library Board, the Singapore Broadcasting Authority Programmes Advisory Committee and National Volunteer Centre. He was also a well-known debater from the 80s, and host of the television series “Health Matters” in the 90s.
Dr Balakrishnan has been a Member of Parliament since 2001. He is currently the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources. He previously held appointments as the Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, Second Minister for Trade and Industry, Minister responsible for Entrepreneurship, Second Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts and Minister of State for National Development.
During the early years of his political career, he served as Chairman of the “Remaking Singapore” committee and Chairman of the National Youth Council. He also served two terms as Chairman of the Young PAP.
In Parliament, he has moved several pieces of new legislation. These include the Competition Act, Community Care Endowment Fund Act, Mental Capacity Act, the International Child Abduction Act and the Energy Conservation Act. He has also moved amendments to the Children Development Co-Savings Act, Children and Young Persons Act, Women’s Charter, Charities Act, Hindu Endowment Board, Postal Services Act, Animals and Birds Act, Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority Act, Sale of Food Act, the Public Utilities Act and the Sewerage and Drainage Act.
Dr Balakrishnan has overseen the establishment of the Comcare Endowment Fund; refinement of the Comcare Social Assistance framework; the Enabling Masterplan for persons with disability; the establishment of the Central Youth Guidance Office; the expansion of Family Service Centres and the Accreditation of Social Workers.
He has also led the upgrading of the Childcare sector; establishment of National Family Council, Charities Council, Community Foundation of Singapore, National Steering Committee on Racial & Religious Harmony, the National Integration Council, the Council for Third Age, and the National Council against Problem Gambling. He supervised the successful hosting of the inaugural Youth Olympic Games; and the ongoing redevelopment of the National Stadium.
Whilst at MTI, he oversaw tourism and coordinated the Project team that facilitated the development of the two Integrated Resorts. At MICA, he was deeply involved with the design and rollout of the Next Generation National Broadband Network.
Dr Balakrishnan has been married for 26 years to his wife, Joy. He enjoys spending precious time with his daughter and three sons. To keep fit, he runs and cycles. He is also a computer enthusiast and an avid reader.