The Teochew Poit Ip Huay Kuan has elected new leadership, with its incoming president revealing that the group has raised $1.4 million from members to fund its court dispute with Ngee Ann Kongsi.
Entrepreneur Chan Kian Kuan, 68, who is chief executive of chemicals manufacturing company Premier Structure, will take over from the current president, Mr Chua Kee Teang, on April 20.
Mr Chan, one of the eight current vice-presidents, was among 35 elected members on the Huay Kuan's 45th board of directors, which has also co-opted another 14 members.
Mr Chua, 70, will remain on the board in an advisory role.
He has also been appointed as a lifetime honorary president in recognition of his contributions to the association, a title shared by former president George Quek, who co-founded BreadTalk.
Speaking at a media briefing yesterday about the election results that were finalised on Saturday, Mr Chan also revealed that some $1.4 million has been raised from members since the Huay Kuan began fund-raising efforts on Jan 24 for its court dispute with the Kongsi.
The figure is expected to continue to rise, he added.
The dispute between the two prominent Teochew community associations revolves around the redevelopment of the Teochew Building in Tank Road, which has housed both since 1963.
The Kongsi served an originating summons on the Huay Kuan in December last year to move out so the property can be redeveloped. The Huay Kuan refused, citing its historical rights to the building.
The case will be heard in court on Thursday, with Senior Counsel Davinder Singh representing the Kongsi and Senior Counsel Tan Chee Meng acting on behalf of the Huay Kuan.
Mr Chan said he could not comment in detail on the case as it is before the courts, but added that the dispute will not affect the Huay Kuan's ongoing activities and outreach efforts.
"The 45th board of directors will continue the Huay Kuan's efforts to engage with younger Teochew Singaporeans and promote the Teochew language, culture and spirit. This agenda has not changed," said Mr Chan.
The Huay Kuan plans to collaborate with Teochew associations in the region, such as those in Malaysia and Hong Kong, to organise such activities, he said.
One of the seven incoming vice-presidents is Mr Teo Hark Piang, executive director of gas company Union Energy. At 41, he is the youngest to be elected to the post in 20 years.He is currently serving as assistant treasurer of the Huay Kuan. The board serves a two-year term.
As part of his duties, Mr Teo will chair the organising committees for the Teochew Festival and the gala dinner for the Huay Kuan's 90th anniversary celebrations, both to be held in December.
The festival will feature activities aimed at encouraging the appreciation of the Teochew language and culture among Singaporeans. These include Teochew opera performances, Teochew cuisine and traditional handicraft.
"Our target for the festival is to attract more participants than we did previously," said Mr Teo, citing how the festival attracted 150,000 people in 2016 and 100,000 in 2014 when it was first held.
The gala dinner will host about 2,000 guests from the Teochew community to commemorate Singapore's bicentennial.
A spokesman for the Huay Kuan said members of Ngee Ann Kongsi will be invited to both the installation of the new board next month and the gala dinner in December.