Fate of current SRC leadership at stake in today's AGM

Former SRC strongman Johnny Goh (above), whose 22-year run as club president was derailed early this year, has endorsed the group led by Mr Steven Goh that is running against the team comprising members of the current management committee.
Former SRC strongman Johnny Goh (above), whose 22-year run as club president was derailed early this year, has endorsed the group led by Mr Steven Goh that is running against the team comprising members of the current management committee. ST FILE PHOTO

Club's management committee being challenged by team of mainly ex-leaders

The Singapore Recreation Club (SRC) - probably the only club in town where women members cannot vote - will decide today whether it wants to stick with its current leadership or re-elect the team which lost control two years ago.

The incumbent team, led by orthopaedic surgeon Sarbjit Singh, is seeking a fresh mandate at the club's annual general meeting to sustain the momentum in moving the club forward.

It is being challenged by a team made up mostly of members or supporters from the previous management committee, which lost control in April 2014. In that election, nine of 12 positions went to members of the new team .

Dr Singh told The Straits Times yesterday: "We want to continue with the positive changes to the club. There has been improved facilities and improved attendance. One term is not enough.

"We do not want to leave things done halfway. That is the main reason we are running."

Among improvements made, he cited the more inclusive approach adopted to ensure new blood at the management committee and sub-committee levels.

The team wants to strengthen sports and social participation and plan for negotiations with the Singapore Land Authority for land lease renewal in 2018.

Mr Steven Goh, meanwhile, said the past two years had been marked by "acrimony", which made him feel "obliged to run".

"Our aim is to bring harmony back to the club, strengthen the sports culture and promote a friendly club," he added.

He wants to ensure transparency and accountability and create a "partnership culture", according to its election manifesto.

His team has been endorsed by former SRC strongman Johnny Goh, whose 22-year run as club president was derailed early this year when he was suspended for eight months following a disciplinary probe for "soliciting signatures for a false and malicious resolution", among other things. His appeal failed last month, which led him to question the timing of his suspension.

He said yesterday: "This is a members' club. Why not allow me to stand for election and let the members decide if I'm fit to be president? I'd like to say thank you to all the members who have supported me for 22 years."

Dr Johnny Goh's long service has also become a bone of club contention as to how long a member should be allowed to stay in office.

Dr Singh's team argues that a president and finance member's term in the management committee should be limited to four years each. Its manifesto said this would "encourage new talent and effective checks and balances of the club leadership and finance responsibilities".

Dr Goh's suspension means the meeting will be presided by Dr Singh, the current vice-president.

The 133-year-old club has more than 7,500 members, of whom over 4,000 are voting members.

There are at least three lawsuits pending that involve the club and its members. One case filed by Mr Goh seeks a court declaration that a resolution at last year's AGM was wrongfully declared as "not passed" instead of "passed".

He dropped a second declaration taking the club to task for failing to call an extraordinary general meeting at a High Court hearing in the same ongoing suit.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 16, 2016, with the headline 'Fate of current SRC leadership at stake in today's AGM'. Print Edition | Subscribe