Shooting: National body expels SRA

Singapore Shooting Association president Michael Vaz has played down any fears that the expulsion of the Singapore Rifle Association will affect the sport at the elite level.
Singapore Shooting Association president Michael Vaz has played down any fears that the expulsion of the Singapore Rifle Association will affect the sport at the elite level.NP FILE PHOTO

S'pore Rifle Association ejected after vote but Vaz says elite shooters will not be affected

The Singapore Shooting Association (SSA) yesterday expelled the Singapore Rifle Association (SRA) but SSA president Michael Vaz played down any fears that this will affect the sport at the elite level.

A post on the national shooting body's website said that the SRA has been expelled because it "no longer has the best interest of the shooting fraternity at heart".

The same post said: "Over the past 18 months or so, SRA has consistently demonstrated that it does not agree with SSA on various key issues and has persistently undermined SSA's work as the national shooting authority."

This means the SRA, which claims to have some 330 members, will not enjoy rights accorded to SSA members, including the use of the national shooting centre (NSC).

But the SSA said affected individual members can choose to join its other constituent bodies to retain associated rights and privileges.

The SSA said it will consider re-admitting the SRA as an associate member with no voting rights, on the proviso that the SRA drops all legal action against the SSA and its officials and that it settles all its dues immediately.

The SRA was at the extraordinary general meeting where the SSA's three other member clubs, the Singapore Gun Club (SGC), Safra Shooting Club and Sporting Shooter's Federation, voted for the expulsion.

Vaz, who is also the SGC president, said: "There is no impact on the (high performance side) because SRA has zero national shooters and zero involvement in Olympic shooting. The other members have a mission - to bring back Olympic medals. We (the SSA) want to proceed with our plans for Tokyo 2020 and cannot waste time."

Vaz added that the decision to expel the SRA was due in part to its alleged refusal to comply with the Police Licensing and Regulatory Department (PLRD) security guidelines regarding its armoury, which has implications for the entire NSC.

The centre was closed in February after the PLRD found "serious licensing irregularities" there.

Only the national shooters can access the centre during the closure and they continue to train at the venue.

But Vaz said the investigation has caused the SSA to lose its Institute of Public Character status, which impedes his fund-raising efforts.

The SSA and the SRA have had a long-running feud. Besides the issue over the armoury, the SRA filed a High Court suit against the SSA in June over alleged breaches of the SSA constitution and for attempting to suspend its privileges.

Separately, the SRA is also suing Vaz for defamation.

An SRA spokesman said: "It is a rather unfortunate turn of events. We are disappointed with the manner (in which) the expulsion was conducted. We believe that it was unconstitutional and goes against the grain of natural justice.

"Nevertheless we are confident that the due process before the courts will vindicate us eventually."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 11, 2016, with the headline 'National body expels SRA'. Print Edition | Subscribe