SICC picks veteran member as new head

The Singapore Island Country Club has a membership strength of about 18,000 including registered spouses and children.
The Singapore Island Country Club has a membership strength of about 18,000 including registered spouses and children.PHOTO: ST FILE

Andrew Low fends off closest rival for post by over 260 votes in election

Veteran member Andrew Low romped home as the new Singapore Island Country Club (SICC) president last night, fending off closest rival Goh Ho Wee by over 260 votes.

Mr Low, 57, garnered 716 votes, compared with 452 for Mr Goh, while the other three candidates all failed to secure more than 100 votes in the election, in which a record five candidates had vied for the top post.

The election to the top post caps 36 years of club activity for Mr Low, who has served in various positions since 1986, including in the general committee (GC), and as club captain and vice-president.

The SICC, with total assets valued at $555,803,000, according to its 2017 annual report, has a membership of about 18,000.

Mr Low had listed the club's reserves as a major concern in his manifesto, urging prudent financial management to ensure the club's long-term sustainability.

He also cited finalising terms and conditions with the National Trades Union Congress and finding favourable conclusions to both land leases with the authorities among his objectives. "I am passionate to serve the club. Having relevant experience with club and corporate issues, I wish to lead SICC as a premium club for the benefit of members," he said.

Defeated candidate and former vice-president P. Suppiah said the race was well and cleanly fought and there was no rancour. "I congratulate Mr Low and wish him well and if he does well for the club, it is the members who will benefit."

Mr Low's election comes on the back of an unusual twist in the run-up. A disciplinary tribunal's order for the suspension of Mr Goh was issued after he had filed nomination papers, prompting the GC to intervene and order the suspension be stayed until the appeal could be substantively heard.

In a notice to members on Tuesday, the SICC management explained that the three-month suspension on Mr Goh had been stayed to ensure he did not suffer prejudice in the event that his appeal against the tribunal's decision to suspend him is allowed.

The GC took into account the "exceptional circumstances" in the case, including the timing of the disciplinary tribunal's decision, released after Mr Goh's nomination had been filed and accepted.

The tribunal had suspended Mr Goh on Sept 19 over communications he made to some members.

Mr Goh, 77, appealed via e-mail to the GC the next day, requesting that his appeal be heard at its meeting the following day.

The GC considered his request but did not proceed to hear or determine the appeal substantively.

"However, having duly considered legal advice obtained in respect of the GC's powers in an appeal and taking into account all prevailing circumstances, the GC ordered that Mr Goh's suspension be stayed pending resolution of the appeal," said the SICC notice.

In ordering it, the GC noted that it was "unlikely" the substantive appeal could be heard before the GC election was due to take place.

The GC, which also considered the club rules, noted that Mr Goh had requested his appeal be heard on an urgent basis, given the timing of the appeal, which was part of the exceptional circumstances.

"The GC decided that the status quo be best maintained so as to prevent Mr Goh suffering from prejudice in the event that his appeal is subsequently allowed."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 30, 2017, with the headline 'SICC picks veteran member as new head'. Print Edition | Subscribe