Newcomers win big in SRC election

SINGAPORE - A largely new management committee has been swept to power at the 131-year-old Singapore Recreation Club (SRC) in a keenly fought election.

While longstanding incumbent president Johnny Goh was re-elected in Saturday's election, nine out of the 12 positions went to members of a new team.

Several candidates on Dr Goh's team failed to win, including the next three in the pecking order.

The newcomers mounted an election campaign using glossy brochures with a drive for greater efficiency at the SRC and to improve the club's image.

They also pushed for greater involvement by members in club management and to boost the value of SRC memberships.

The club sits on prime land at the Raffles City end of the Padang, with the Singapore Cricket Club (SCC) at the other end.

SRC memberships are worth $6,500 while the SCC commands memberships of $19,000.

The election attracted the largest voter turnout since 2008 with over 1,200 members showing up for the annual general meeting at the Raffles City Convention Centre, including 898 eligible voters.

Dr Goh, 75, kept his 20-year hold on the top post by a 95-vote margin over rival Frederick Siow, 64, but new vice-president Sarbjit Singh, 55, scored the highest number for a single candidate, garnering some 553 votes compared with 277 for the incumbent, Captain Francis Koh, 73. Dr Singh is a renowned orthopaedic surgeon.

Singapore Management University accounting professor Sum Yee Loong and Singapore Softball head coach for the 2015 SEA Games John Tan from the new team were also voted in by big margins against the incumbent finance member and the games control board chairman, each picking up at least 500 votes. Other new faces include obstetrician and gynaecologist Christopher Chong, lawyer Nicholas Teo and retired auditor Derrick D'Souza.

A move to tweak the Constitution to enhance investment opportunities for club funds was approved by the requisite two- thirds majority, but a bid to allow limited membership failed.

The new committee takes office faced with the prospect of the lease on the club's land expiring in 10 years if not renewed by the Singapore Land Authority.

Dr Goh said lease renewal and "and our continuity on the historical Padang remains our key priority, so that SRC can continue to do good work for our members and our society at large".

The team's manifesto includes working closely with members to raise the value of the club's membership and to "further enhance your enjoyment and use of existing facilities at our club".

This article was published on April 30 in The Straits Times.

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