New head at Hindu statutory board

New head at Hindu statutory board
New HEB chairman R. Jayachandran is the founder and chairman of investment management firm Aquarius.

A National Hindu body that runs Singapore's oldest Hindu temple has a new leader.

Accountant and businessman R. Jayachandran, 70, is the new chairman of the Hindu Endowments Board (HEB), after taking over from 76-year-old retired High Court judge S. Rajendran last week.

Said Mr Jayachandran: "Past chairmen included distinguished leaders like former president S R Nathan and retired High Court judge S. Rajendran. These are big shoes to fill."

His immediate priority is to ensure the board's operations run smoothly, he told The Straits Times.

The board was set up by Parliament in 1968 to run four Hindu temples and other properties, including the 187-year-old Sri Mariamman Temple in South Bridge Road, which is Singapore's oldest temple.

It is one of two top Hindu bodies in Singapore - the other being the Hindu Advisory Board, which advises the Government on Hindu customs and rites.

Mr Jayachandran is a well-known figure in the Indian community.

He is the founder and chairman of investment management firm Aquarius and non-executive chairman of Singapore Exchange-listed commodity firm Olam since 2004.

He is also Singapore's non-resident High Commissioner to Mauritius and a board member at the National Heritage Board.

Besides managing four temples, the board runs two kindergartens in Toa Payoh and Yishun, and a halfway house in Sembawang. It also organises major Hindu festivals like Thaipusam.

Mr Jayachandran said he will discuss with the 14-member board before making plans on things such as looking into the possibility of expanding the number of kindergartens and the halfway house.

The plans will be announced in a few months, he added.

Apart from Hindu matters, he said he is keen to work with other groups to run social and community programmes for the Hindu community.

"At the end of the day, it is about how we can use our resources to serve the community," he said.

This article was first published on June 9, 2014.
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