Government seeks public feedback on proposed changes to Co-operative Societies Act

SINGAPORE- The Registry of Co-operative Societies has proposed a series of changes to the laws on co-operatives, and is seeking public feedback on the amendments from Friday (April 28) to May 26.

These proposed changes are aimed at raising the governance standards of credit co-ops to better protect members' deposits, facilitate co-ops' operations and increase regulatory powers to protect members' interests. Credit co-ops collect deposits and give loans to members at affordable interest rates.

This follows a cheating case in one of Singapore's oldest credit co-ops, the Singapore Statutory Boards Employees' Cooperative Thrift and Loan Society, which was reported in 2014.

A sum of $5.1 million went missing from the co-op and two employees were later charged for cheating.

In the same year, the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), which oversees the Registry, launched a public consultation on the revision to the laws governing co-ops.

Under the proposed changes, rules may be introduced for the appointment of key officers who will also have to meet qualification and training requirements.

Existing barriers to membership eligibility may also be removed, and the Registry may also have powers to change or add conditions to the registration of a co-op "where necessary", and to de-register a co-op if it fails to meet the conditions.

MCCY aims to implement the changes next year. A spokesman added that this policy review is part of a regular review process to ensure that credit co-ops "remain relevant and effective", and that the cheating case is separate from this review.

The Co-operative Societies Act was last changed in 2008.

The proposed changes to the Co-operative Societies Act may be viewed at www.mccy.gov.sg/csaa. The public may submit also feedback via e-mail to MCCY_Regcoop@mccy.gov.sg , or write in to the Registry of Co-operative Societies at the following address:

Registry of Co-operative Societies

Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth

140 Hill Street, #02-00

Old Hill Street Police Station

Singapore 179369