Forum: Not right time to relax fund-raising rules with scams on the rise

I am surprised that the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth intends to relax the regulations surrounding charity fund-raising (Charities no longer need a permit to raise funds in public from next year, Sept 8).

Given Singapore's history with charitable organisations mismanaging funds, and at a time when scams are on the rise, it seems unwise to let our guard down for the sake of simplicity or a reduced administrative workload.

If anything, the ministry should be working in the opposite direction, imposing more stringent controls on fund-raising programmes, ranging from the activities themselves to the subsequent accounting practices.

The mere fact that a charity is registered and known to the authorities does not prevent unscrupulous individuals or groups within it from acting fraudulently in its name or through its organs. In these circumstances, the fund-raising permit stands as the final line of defence.

If charities are to offer meaningful support to the less privileged in our society, we should ensure that they are up to the task with rigorous checks.

Paul Chan Poh Hoi

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