Dr Vivian Balakrishnan

Minister for Foreign Affairs

Minister-in-Charge of the Smart Nation initiative 


Dr Vivian Balakrishnan is the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister-in-Charge of the Smart Nation initiative. He studied Medicine at the National University of Singapore (NUS) after being awarded the President’s Scholarship in 1980 and specialised in ophthalmology after graduation. He was appointed Associate Professor of the National University of Singapore and Deputy Director of the Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) in 1997. In 1999, he became the Medical Director of SNEC before being appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Singapore General Hospital in 2000.

He has been a Member of Parliament since 2001 and previously held appointments as the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, 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.

Dr Balakrishnan has a keen interest in technology and actively codes and builds gadgets during his spare time. During his leadership at the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, he has overseen various initiatives to use technology to improve public service delivery such as the installation of water-level sensors which tweet localised notifications to the public.

Dr Koh Poh Koon

Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry & Ministry of National Development 

Dr Koh Poh Koon was elected as a Member of Parliament for Ang Mo Kio GRC on 11 September 2015. He has served at the Ministry of Trade & Industry and Ministry of National Development since 1 Jan 2016, and was appointed Senior Minister of State on 1 May 2017.

As Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Dr Koh focuses on research and development and Entrepreneurship matters, and is the patron of the Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE). He is involved in the implementation of the Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (AME) domain strategy under the Research, Innovation and Enterprise 2020 (RIE2020) plan. In addition, under the ambit of the Future Economy Council, Dr Koh co-chairs two sub-committees overseeing the transformation of the manufacturing and the trade and connectivity clusters.  He also looks at consumer protection, which comprises consumer education, promotion of fair trading and legislation to address unfair business practices. In the area of trade and investment, Dr Koh oversees the development of Singapore's bilateral economic relations with Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and Russia & Central Asia.

At the Ministry of National Development, Dr Koh oversees food security issues, including food safety and the development of local agriculture. The local agriculture sector plays a key role in Singapore’s food security. Championing the local farming industry, Dr Koh looks at how Singapore can become a “living lab” for urban farming solutions and new technologies, through Government support in technology adoption, and research and development. Apart from agriculture issues, Dr Koh is also a member of the Fresh Start Advisory Committee, which helps public rental families towards homeownership. He also sits on the Ministerial Committee on Ageing (MCA), where he oversees MND’s efforts in the implementation of the Action Plan for Successful Ageing, in particular, our efforts to build an age-friendly city that enables seniors to live actively and age-in-place confidently.

Prior to joining politics, Dr Koh has held academic appointments as Clinical Lecturer in the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore, Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School and Adjunct Clinician Scientist with the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN), a key institution under the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star). Dr Koh has also served as a Consultant Colorectal Surgeon in Singapore General Hospital and was the Director of the Colorectal Cancer Molecular Genetics Research Laboratory as well as the founding Director of the Colorectal Cancer Genomic Health Service.

Dr Koh started his own private practice in 2011 at Capstone Colorectal Surgery Centre in Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre. In 2012, he partnered Fortis Healthcare Singapore to set up the first dedicated colorectal diseases hospital in Southeast Asia, the Fortis Colorectal hospital.

Dr Koh is a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Singapore Armed Forces, having served as the Commanding Officer of a Combat Service Support Battalion and subsequently as Deputy Brigade Commander. He graduated in 2009 from the Singapore Armed Forces Command and Staff College, where he emerged as the Top Graduate of the 10th National Service Command and Staff Course.

He graduated from the Faculty of Medicine, National University of Singapore in 1996 and obtained his Fellowship from the Royal College of Surgeons (Edinburgh) as well as the Academy of Medicine (Singapore) in 2005.