Charities, registered societies can delay AGMs until Dec 31

This will allow them time to overcome practical issues, says MinLaw; no delay for other entities

Charities, management corporations and registered societies are among the entities that will be able to delay their annual general meetings until Dec 31.

This will give them more time to address issues in holding these sessions, whether virtually or physically, the Ministry of Law (MinLaw) said on Monday.

Currently, existing provisions under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act allow for such meetings to be deferred to a date no later than Sept 30.

To give some entities more time to overcome practical difficulties in holding virtual or physical meetings amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the deferral provisions will now be extended to a date no later than Dec 31.

These entities include charities, cooperative societies, management corporations, registered societies, mutual benefit organisations, as well as trade unions and their executives and branches.

However, the deferral provision for the meetings of town councils and their committees, school management committees and governing boards, as well as those involving bankruptcy and insolvency will not be extended.

In addition, there will continue to be no delays allowed for the general meetings of companies, variable capital companies, business trusts, unit trusts, debenture holders, as well as the meetings of collective sale committees.

"For the avoidance of doubt, entities can choose to rely on meeting arrangements permitted by their governing instruments, as long as they can do so in compliance with prevailing safe distancing regulations," the ministry said.

Last Friday, Parliament passed the amendments to the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act, allowing alternative arrangements for virtual meetings, such as annual general meetings, to continue until June 30 next year.

This extension will give entities the option to hold virtual meetings, even when they are permitted to hold physical meetings under the prevailing Covid-19 regulations.

Currently, organisations and entities are allowed to do so until Sept 30. Before the amendments, alternative meeting arrangements under the Act were tied to the duration of a Covid-19 control order.

"This will help keep physical interactions and Covid-19 transmission risks to a minimum. The need to keep Covid-19 transmission risks to a minimum will remain in the long term, even as safe distancing regulations are gradually and cautiously relaxed," said MinLaw.

The ministry added that the amendments will allow entities to conduct virtual meetings, even if this is not allowed under the written law or legal instrument which provides for it.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 09, 2020, with the headline Charities, registered societies can delay AGMs until Dec 31. Subscribe