2 board members of SICCI quit, adding to list of resignations

PHOTO: 2 board members of SICCI quit, adding to list of resignations

SINGAPORE - As if several staff resignations in recent months were not bad enough, the Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) now has to deal with the resignation of two board members from their duties as chairmen of sub-committees. The organisation is preparing for its annual general meeting (AGM) later this month.

At a SICCI board meeting on April 6, board members Deepak Singapuri and A Dinakaran resigned from their respective positions as chairmen of the sub-committees of events and finance & administration, as documents show that they were unhappy with matters within the chamber.

According to a sub-committee report circulated at the meeting, Mr Singapuri took issue with the manner in which the team he chaired were not consulted adequately in organising key events for the chamber, namely the AGM to be held on April 24 and the Singapore Indian Entrepreneur Awards (SIEA) scheduled for later this year.

The event sub-committee chairman also expressed concern that the venues for these events were selected without his team's involvement.

In his report to the board, Mr Singapuri mentioned that his team and him had expressed these concerns to the board at a meeting on March 18 and were then given two weeks by SICCI chairman R Narayanamohan to look into both events.

The following day he wrote to the general manager (GM) of SICCI, who was recently reinstated after being part of a slew of staff resignations in March, to furbish him with detailed information for both the events.

"Within five minutes of this e-mail having gone out, SICCI's chairman called the events chairman . . . asking him how he could demand such details from the GM without giving her time to settle down as she had just rejoined the chamber," the report said.

The report, which BT has seen, includes more details on how the events team's eventually managed to negotiate waivers and reductions from the venue provider for SIEA.

Had the process of procuring the venue been done in a different manner, with the events sub-committee in the fray from the beginning and negotiating the terms, Mr Singapuri asserts that his team could have saved the chamber more money, based on the terms they had successfully negotiated with an alternate vendor subsequently.

With the resignations of both Mr Singapuri and Mr Dinakaran accepted, the chamber now has to look forward to the AGM, which will be held in less than 10 days as the board prepares to answer questions from its members on a number of issues including the recent spate of resignations, particularly that of its CEO.

Besides this, the issue of proxy voting could likely surface again as it did at last year's AGM.

According to the minutes of the 71st AGM held last year, some members raised a query on the relevance of proxy voting and proposed that the constitution of SICCI be amended to abolish its members' rights to appoint proxies.

After legal consultations, SICCI was informed that since it is registered as a company and therefore comes under the Companies Act, Section 181(1) of that legislation enshrines as a statutory right its members' right to vote by proxy, and any alteration of the constitution to remove this right would be illegal.

Hence, proxy voting shall still remain as a legal right of SICCI's members even though BT learns that some members are less than happy with this provision.

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