SICC sees five-way fight for post of president

The Singapore Island Country Club elections for its next president will see a five-cornered fight.
The Singapore Island Country Club elections for its next president will see a five-cornered fight. PHOTO: ST FILE

The Singapore Island Country Club (SICC) elections for its next president will see a five-cornered fight, the keen rivalry underlined by one candidate's bid to stay in the race after being cleared to run despite his suspension from the club.

Veteran member and candidate Goh Ho Wee, 77, was suspended for three months from Sept 18 following a disciplinary tribunal probe and the move would have prevented him from taking part in the elections due later this week.

But his appeal based on SICC rules was heard by the club's general committee last week, which ruled the suspension be stayed after taking into account "all prevailing circumstances", said Mr Goh.

It ruled there be a substantive hearing to resolve his appeal at a future date, though some members have questioned the general committee's controversial move in anonymous postings.

Mr Goh, a retired Shell senior management veteran who has served on various past and present club committees, is one of two candidates for the contest who are leading teams contesting the other posts.

In a post addressed to members, Mr Goh explained he was charged with breaching a code of conduct by telling a closed WhatsApp group of about 10 members in February of a general committee decision that had yet to be announced.

He had told the group the general committee would be offering only one option in relation to the Bukit Town Club development for members to vote on at a general meeting in April.

  • THE CANDIDATES

  • • Mr Goh Ho Wee, current committee member

    • Mr Andrew Low, former vice-president

    • Mr P. Suppiah, former vice-president

    • Mr Vincent Chua, veteran member

    • Mr Goh Kok Leong, long-time member

Mr Goh said information about the option had actually been in the membership domain for "many months already".

The April general meeting subsequently called for more options to be considered instead.

Like Mr Goh, all five candidates have pitched for the post in published manifestos and say they seek to promote better corporate governance, improved relationships and resolving the land and lease issues, among other things.

The rival candidate leading a team contesting various committee posts, Mr Andrew Low, said the club's major concern was the reserves at hand.

"We must exercise prudent financial management to ensure our long-term sustainability," he said in his manifesto.

Mr Low, 57, chairman of a listed company, has been with SICC for 36 years and has served as past vice-president and club captain among various posts.

Mounting a challenge is another past vice-president P. Suppiah, 87, a veteran lawyer and 46-year member.

He said "the club is facing daunting times" and argues the past decade has seen the " unhealthy practice" arising of officials standing on team-tickets resulting in "mishmash and damaging consequences for the club".

Two other veterans rounding off the challenge are Mr Vincent Chua and Mr Goh Kok Leong.

The SICC, with total assets valued at $550,803,000 including $420,441 in investments according to its 2017 annual report, has a membership strength of about 18,000 that includes registered spouses and children, and is one of the most prestigious country clubs here.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 26, 2017, with the headline 'SICC sees five-way fight for post of president'. Print Edition | Subscribe