SINGAPORE - Singaporeans now have higher expectations of governance and productivity within charities and organisations, said Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran on Saturday (June 29).
He was speaking at the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Hindu Endowments Board (HEB) and the Commissioner of Charities at Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple.
Under the MOU, both sides said they will share best practices and resources and join efforts in uplifting the Hindu community.
Mr Iswaran said: "We are trying to do something that will help to set the new benchmark, in terms of the standard of the work and the kind of effort that we undertake, not only within the Hindu community but also within the larger community of charities in Singapore."
"We are coming together to reach out, work together and achieve those standards as a community, by sharing what we know, pooling our best practices and learning from one another," he added.
"This will only work if all of us agree that this is important, and commit ourselves to working together to make it happen."
Last year, the HEB assisted the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple in Serangoon Road to put in place proper governance and internal controls.
In April 2018, key board members of the temple were barred from their posts by the Charities Commissioner after an eight-month-long probe found severe mismanagement in how temple funds were managed.
The temple's chairman, Mr Sivakadacham, was first suspended and eventually removed from his post, while the temple's secretary, Mr Ratha Krishnan Selvakumar, was removed from his post.
The probe found that there was a severe lack of care and prudence by key board members as guardians of the temple's charitable assets between January 2011 and July 2014.
For example, key office-bearers had issued uncrossed cheques and allowed them to be exchanged for cash at the temple. Between January 2011 and July 2014, the temple issued at least 823 uncrossed cheques amounting to over $1.5 million. Of these, 45 cheques worth over $227,000 were given to people who were not the intended recipients.
Correction note: This article has been updated for accuracy.